This book examines the effects of international migration on the shaping of national and gender identities of Spanish women who migrated to the UK between the 1940s and the 1990s from different socio-economic, educational backgrounds and generations. It explores the dynamics between the power of social institutions and women’s agency in shaping their identities in two different countries: Spain and the UK. In looking at individuals’ formation of identities, the complexity of the social sites of different social classes, educational attainments and generations, is illuminated.
This study looks at how gender and nation are appropriated in women’s accounts and how representations of gender and nation relate to other significant social phenomena. Differences in empirical realities are mirrored in respondents’ accounts. In examining their lives, this study shows the tension between the power of institutions, which were created under particular historical, economic and social conditions, and women’s appropriation of institutional discourses in their identities. This book argues throughout that while it is important not to ignore the power of political and economic forces and history as contributors to women’s formation of identities, it is at least as important to think of identity as an individual appropriation and creation of individual meanings.