The makings of migrant subjectivities

time and intersectionality in the transnational everyday lives of Latin American women in Barcelona

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

Latin American women represent an emblematic group in contemporary South to North labour migration. The Spanish immigration boom from the 1990s up to the time of the economic crisis has also shown a high propensity of women migrants from this region. While it is important to recognise women migrants as economically active workers and breadwinners, paying attention only to the work that migrants do, excludes a vast diversity of desires and trajectories. Migrants are often granted positions not connected with full subjectivity. This study creates knowledge collaboratively with Latin American migrant women on their everyday lives in Barcelona and studies their subjectivities as transnational migrants. Subjectivity is understood as formed and exercised in relation to individual life course, generational attachments and the larger fabric of intersecting structural hierarchies in a certain time-space context. The empirical phase was conducted in Barcelona between March and May 2012 in a collaborative process with fifteen participants from nine different Latin American and Caribbean countries. The empirical method consisted of two loosely-structured thematic interviews with each participant, complemented by the participative use of creative research methods which offered the participants the possibility to explore the research topics through different creative means. The ontological and epistemological framework draws from critical realism and postcolonial feminism. The main theoretical tools are found in: 1) migration theorising, specifically transnational migration research, 2) the notion of time in migration, 3) an intersectional approach on migration. The experiences and consequences of migration and migration status are analysed inside intersecting social hierarchies, namely the ones referring to country or region of origin, ethnic origin, social class, age and life course and gender. The results shed light to the ways in which time-space autonomy , migrancy and belonging are conditioned and yet negotiable. Irregular migration status often represented restricted movement in the city, insecurity and lack of information. Migration regulations were linked with time experiences of suspension, uncontrollability and liminality . Yet migration may also stand for an increase in time-space autonomy, even in a situation of migration status irregularity, as the consequences of migration status are relational, contextual and intersectional. The (in)visibility of certain intersectional locations is turned into (in)visibility of migrancy. The idea of detached, planned and informed migration does not hold, but risk-taking, surprises and uncertainty prevail. Liminality and unpredictability may also be desired consequences of migration. This addresses the complex intersectional contexts of privilege and disadvantage in which people move. Belonging was also connected with (in)visibility. The results point to a nexus between origin, language and belonging and emphasise the intersectional and contextual nature of belonging. The results also challenge interpretations in which economic downturn is automatically considered to lead to return migration, and question the persistent image of the economic migrant reflected in them. Often neglected in previous research, women s transnational daughterhood became salient, highlighting the multiple intergenerational caring roles of migrant women. The quantity as well as the quality of transnational contacts varied, due, for instance, to economic resources. This shaped the ways transnational affective ties and support were lived. Migrancy became synonymous with not belonging here yet nor there anymore. Yet the accounts were not only of loss and yearning, but importantly also of adaptation, reformulation and creation of new rhythms, routines and ways to be .
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Helsinki
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Rauhala, Pirkko-Liisa, Supervisor
  • Karvinen-Niinikoski, Synnöve, Supervisor
  • Williams, Charlotte, Supervisor, External person
Award date14 Jun 2017
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-951-51-1089-3
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-1090-9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2016
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Fields of Science

  • 5145 Social work
  • Migration
  • Latin America
  • Barcelona
  • Spain
  • Transnationality
  • Subjectivity
  • Intersectionality
  • Time and temporality

Cite this

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title = "The makings of migrant subjectivities: time and intersectionality in the transnational everyday lives of Latin American women in Barcelona",
abstract = "Latin American women represent an emblematic group in contemporary South to North labour migration. The Spanish immigration boom from the 1990s up to the time of the economic crisis has also shown a high propensity of women migrants from this region. While it is important to recognise women migrants as economically active workers and breadwinners, paying attention only to the work that migrants do, excludes a vast diversity of desires and trajectories. Migrants are often granted positions not connected with full subjectivity. This study creates knowledge collaboratively with Latin American migrant women on their everyday lives in Barcelona and studies their subjectivities as transnational migrants. Subjectivity is understood as formed and exercised in relation to individual life course, generational attachments and the larger fabric of intersecting structural hierarchies in a certain time-space context. The empirical phase was conducted in Barcelona between March and May 2012 in a collaborative process with fifteen participants from nine different Latin American and Caribbean countries. The empirical method consisted of two loosely-structured thematic interviews with each participant, complemented by the participative use of creative research methods which offered the participants the possibility to explore the research topics through different creative means. The ontological and epistemological framework draws from critical realism and postcolonial feminism. The main theoretical tools are found in: 1) migration theorising, specifically transnational migration research, 2) the notion of time in migration, 3) an intersectional approach on migration. The experiences and consequences of migration and migration status are analysed inside intersecting social hierarchies, namely the ones referring to country or region of origin, ethnic origin, social class, age and life course and gender. The results shed light to the ways in which time-space autonomy , migrancy and belonging are conditioned and yet negotiable. Irregular migration status often represented restricted movement in the city, insecurity and lack of information. Migration regulations were linked with time experiences of suspension, uncontrollability and liminality . Yet migration may also stand for an increase in time-space autonomy, even in a situation of migration status irregularity, as the consequences of migration status are relational, contextual and intersectional. The (in)visibility of certain intersectional locations is turned into (in)visibility of migrancy. The idea of detached, planned and informed migration does not hold, but risk-taking, surprises and uncertainty prevail. Liminality and unpredictability may also be desired consequences of migration. This addresses the complex intersectional contexts of privilege and disadvantage in which people move. Belonging was also connected with (in)visibility. The results point to a nexus between origin, language and belonging and emphasise the intersectional and contextual nature of belonging. The results also challenge interpretations in which economic downturn is automatically considered to lead to return migration, and question the persistent image of the economic migrant reflected in them. Often neglected in previous research, women s transnational daughterhood became salient, highlighting the multiple intergenerational caring roles of migrant women. The quantity as well as the quality of transnational contacts varied, due, for instance, to economic resources. This shaped the ways transnational affective ties and support were lived. Migrancy became synonymous with not belonging here yet nor there anymore. Yet the accounts were not only of loss and yearning, but importantly also of adaptation, reformulation and creation of new rhythms, routines and ways to be .",
keywords = "5145 Social work, Migration, Latin America, Barcelona, Spain, Transnationality, Subjectivity, Intersectionality, Time and temporality",
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language = "English",
isbn = "978-951-51-1089-3",
series = "Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences",
publisher = "University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research",
number = "2016:22",
address = "Finland",
school = "University of Helsinki",

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The makings of migrant subjectivities : time and intersectionality in the transnational everyday lives of Latin American women in Barcelona. / Kara, Hanna .

Helsinki : University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research, 2016. 302 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

TY - THES

T1 - The makings of migrant subjectivities

T2 - time and intersectionality in the transnational everyday lives of Latin American women in Barcelona

AU - Kara, Hanna

PY - 2016/6/14

Y1 - 2016/6/14

N2 - Latin American women represent an emblematic group in contemporary South to North labour migration. The Spanish immigration boom from the 1990s up to the time of the economic crisis has also shown a high propensity of women migrants from this region. While it is important to recognise women migrants as economically active workers and breadwinners, paying attention only to the work that migrants do, excludes a vast diversity of desires and trajectories. Migrants are often granted positions not connected with full subjectivity. This study creates knowledge collaboratively with Latin American migrant women on their everyday lives in Barcelona and studies their subjectivities as transnational migrants. Subjectivity is understood as formed and exercised in relation to individual life course, generational attachments and the larger fabric of intersecting structural hierarchies in a certain time-space context. The empirical phase was conducted in Barcelona between March and May 2012 in a collaborative process with fifteen participants from nine different Latin American and Caribbean countries. The empirical method consisted of two loosely-structured thematic interviews with each participant, complemented by the participative use of creative research methods which offered the participants the possibility to explore the research topics through different creative means. The ontological and epistemological framework draws from critical realism and postcolonial feminism. The main theoretical tools are found in: 1) migration theorising, specifically transnational migration research, 2) the notion of time in migration, 3) an intersectional approach on migration. The experiences and consequences of migration and migration status are analysed inside intersecting social hierarchies, namely the ones referring to country or region of origin, ethnic origin, social class, age and life course and gender. The results shed light to the ways in which time-space autonomy , migrancy and belonging are conditioned and yet negotiable. Irregular migration status often represented restricted movement in the city, insecurity and lack of information. Migration regulations were linked with time experiences of suspension, uncontrollability and liminality . Yet migration may also stand for an increase in time-space autonomy, even in a situation of migration status irregularity, as the consequences of migration status are relational, contextual and intersectional. The (in)visibility of certain intersectional locations is turned into (in)visibility of migrancy. The idea of detached, planned and informed migration does not hold, but risk-taking, surprises and uncertainty prevail. Liminality and unpredictability may also be desired consequences of migration. This addresses the complex intersectional contexts of privilege and disadvantage in which people move. Belonging was also connected with (in)visibility. The results point to a nexus between origin, language and belonging and emphasise the intersectional and contextual nature of belonging. The results also challenge interpretations in which economic downturn is automatically considered to lead to return migration, and question the persistent image of the economic migrant reflected in them. Often neglected in previous research, women s transnational daughterhood became salient, highlighting the multiple intergenerational caring roles of migrant women. The quantity as well as the quality of transnational contacts varied, due, for instance, to economic resources. This shaped the ways transnational affective ties and support were lived. Migrancy became synonymous with not belonging here yet nor there anymore. Yet the accounts were not only of loss and yearning, but importantly also of adaptation, reformulation and creation of new rhythms, routines and ways to be .

AB - Latin American women represent an emblematic group in contemporary South to North labour migration. The Spanish immigration boom from the 1990s up to the time of the economic crisis has also shown a high propensity of women migrants from this region. While it is important to recognise women migrants as economically active workers and breadwinners, paying attention only to the work that migrants do, excludes a vast diversity of desires and trajectories. Migrants are often granted positions not connected with full subjectivity. This study creates knowledge collaboratively with Latin American migrant women on their everyday lives in Barcelona and studies their subjectivities as transnational migrants. Subjectivity is understood as formed and exercised in relation to individual life course, generational attachments and the larger fabric of intersecting structural hierarchies in a certain time-space context. The empirical phase was conducted in Barcelona between March and May 2012 in a collaborative process with fifteen participants from nine different Latin American and Caribbean countries. The empirical method consisted of two loosely-structured thematic interviews with each participant, complemented by the participative use of creative research methods which offered the participants the possibility to explore the research topics through different creative means. The ontological and epistemological framework draws from critical realism and postcolonial feminism. The main theoretical tools are found in: 1) migration theorising, specifically transnational migration research, 2) the notion of time in migration, 3) an intersectional approach on migration. The experiences and consequences of migration and migration status are analysed inside intersecting social hierarchies, namely the ones referring to country or region of origin, ethnic origin, social class, age and life course and gender. The results shed light to the ways in which time-space autonomy , migrancy and belonging are conditioned and yet negotiable. Irregular migration status often represented restricted movement in the city, insecurity and lack of information. Migration regulations were linked with time experiences of suspension, uncontrollability and liminality . Yet migration may also stand for an increase in time-space autonomy, even in a situation of migration status irregularity, as the consequences of migration status are relational, contextual and intersectional. The (in)visibility of certain intersectional locations is turned into (in)visibility of migrancy. The idea of detached, planned and informed migration does not hold, but risk-taking, surprises and uncertainty prevail. Liminality and unpredictability may also be desired consequences of migration. This addresses the complex intersectional contexts of privilege and disadvantage in which people move. Belonging was also connected with (in)visibility. The results point to a nexus between origin, language and belonging and emphasise the intersectional and contextual nature of belonging. The results also challenge interpretations in which economic downturn is automatically considered to lead to return migration, and question the persistent image of the economic migrant reflected in them. Often neglected in previous research, women s transnational daughterhood became salient, highlighting the multiple intergenerational caring roles of migrant women. The quantity as well as the quality of transnational contacts varied, due, for instance, to economic resources. This shaped the ways transnational affective ties and support were lived. Migrancy became synonymous with not belonging here yet nor there anymore. Yet the accounts were not only of loss and yearning, but importantly also of adaptation, reformulation and creation of new rhythms, routines and ways to be .

KW - 5145 Social work

KW - Migration

KW - Latin America

KW - Barcelona

KW - Spain

KW - Transnationality

KW - Subjectivity

KW - Intersectionality

KW - Time and temporality

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-951-51-1089-3

T3 - Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences

PB - University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research

CY - Helsinki

ER -

Kara H. The makings of migrant subjectivities: time and intersectionality in the transnational everyday lives of Latin American women in Barcelona. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research, 2016. 302 p. (Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences; 2016:22).