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Three Women in a City. Crossing Borders and Negotiating National Belonging

Elise Pape, Ayumi Takeda, Anna Guhlich

Abstract


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Abstract

The major theoretical literature has considered the concept of nation primarily from a macro level. This article explores the question of national belonging departing from an individual’s point of view, more precisely from the life story of three migrant women. Migration and transnational practices have challenged the perception of the homogeneity of nations, questioning the idea of fixed boundaries, and showing how different national and social forms of belonging may develop simultaneously through migration experience. Drawing on biographical interviews conducted with three migrant women, Amina El Asri, Gule Yildiz and Zuzana Svitá, the present analysis focusses on the construction of national belonging of the women in an intersectional perspective. Mrs. El Asri, Mrs. Yildiz and Mrs. Svitá originate from different countries (respectively Morocco, Turkey and Czechia). They have different social origins and ages, but share the same sex, their residence in the same city in West Germany and the fact that they all have children. The analysis reveals the profound impact of the socio-historical contexts the women come from on their construction of national belonging, but also of age and of transmission processes to their children. It is mainly through passing on their mother tongue and reshaping their conception of national belonging over time that the women manage to establish strong ties to their children, and contribute, by articulating different lines of belonging, to the redefinition of (trans)nation building processes.

Keywords: Nation, national belonging, transmission, intersectionality, gender

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Bibliographie: Pape, Elise/Takeda, Ayumi/Guhlich, Anna: Three Women in a City. Crossing Borders and Negotiating National Belonging, ZQF, 1+2-2014, S. 39-56. https://doi.org/10.3224/zqf.v14i1-2.21326


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