The emotional journey of motherhood in migration. The case of Southern European mothers in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMigration Studies. 2020 10.1093/migration/mnaa006
Based on focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with Greek, Italian, and Spanish mothers living in Norway, this article contributes to an emerging body of literature on the role of emotions in migration by exploring migrant motherhood as an emotional journey. Drawing on the work of Arlie Hochschild on emotions and her theoretical concepts of framing rules, feeling rules, and emotion work, the article explores how migrant mothers reflect on their emotions when raising their children in the context of migration. Migrant mothers’ accounts illustrate the ambivalent and contradictory emotional experiences they have when they manage rules about how they should make sense of, and feel about their mothering in both host and origin countries. Emotions of guilt, blame, remorse, pride, satisfaction, confidence, and happiness shaped mothers’ experiences of motherhood and social interactions across countries. Through emotion work, migrant mothers managed interdependent emotions and related to different feeling rules establishing and maintaining relationships across places, and negotiating, in this way, their belonging to multiple contexts. Using an emotions-based sociological perspective, we look at motherhood as a field for studying the functions of emotions and their interactions in the context of migration.