Lives apart? Experiences of transnational motherhood by Georgian labour migrants to Italy and their children

Zurabishvili, Tinatin (2022) Lives apart? Experiences of transnational motherhood by Georgian labour migrants to Italy and their children, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Sociologia e ricerca sociale, 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10489.
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International labour migration processes of the last decades saw increasing numbers of solo female migrants employed in the developed countries. Many of these women were mothers who left their children in the sending countries and thus gave rise to a controversial phenomenon of transnational motherhood. The present thesis is based on the first empirical study of intergenerational narratives of mothers, Georgian labour migrants to Italy, and their children, left behind in Georgia. Mothers’ international labour migration is a challenge to the traditional ideology of motherhood. Although unconsciously migrant mothers often adhere to “alternative”, “rational”, future-oriented model(s) of parenting, they continue to live their experiences in the framework of traditional understandings of motherhood, which appears to be unequipped to “frame” transnational motherhood as, from its point of view, mothers’ choice to leave their children is reprehensible, yet transnational mothers’ physical absence is not an equivalent of “leaving” their children. Informants’ narratives strongly suggest that long periods of physical separation did not jeopardize bonds between mothers and children in transnational families. While informants’ selection bias is probable, the mother-child bond was not “broken” and the very essence of motherhood remained intact. Many forms of mothers’ and children’s online co-presence were documented during the interviews. Interviews also prove that the Internet cannot be considered a solution to the problem of family separation, experienced painfully by both mothers and children: it may reduce the pain caused by separation, but cannot be a substitute for mothers’ physical absence from their families. Despite the pain caused by separation, mothers’ emigration appeared to be the right decision made for the good of the family. Interviewed mothers almost univocally reported readiness to “keep going on”, and continue working in emigration to help their children until physically able to do so, because, as they put it, “motherhood never ends”.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Zurabishvili, Tinatin
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
International migration; Gender bias; Family change; Transnational family; Motherhood; Intergenerational interviews; Immigrants in Italy; Emigrants from Georgia
Data di discussione
21 Ottobre 2022

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