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.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2006. 300 pp.
Contents: Approaches to international migration, immigrant women and identity – The shaping of gender and national identities
before migration – Views on femininity in different social classes – Approaches of governments, church and families on Spanish
migration to the UK: British and Spanish economic and foreign policies – Women’s subversion of official channels of migration
– Narratives of Spanishness, Englishness and foreignness in different social classes – Generational contrasts: effects of
education and marriage on the shaping of national and gender identities in England – National gendered identity and the household
– Migration as an uprooting experience – Common themes in gender and national identifications – The engendering process of
women’s national identities – Tendencies against commonalities in respondents’ identifications –Historical continuity
of identifications – Tendencies disrupting historical continuity in respondents’ identifications – Migration as a learning