Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship develops essential insights concerning the notion of transnational citizenship by means of the life stories of skilled and educated migrant women from Turkey in Germany and Britain. It interweaves and develops theories of citizenship, identity and culture with the lived experiences of an immigrant group that has so far received insufficient attention. By focusing on the British and German contexts, it introduces a much needed European and comparative perspective, whilst exploring the ways in which diverging concepts and policies of citizenship allow for a differentiated examination of ethnicity, gender, multiculturalism and citizenship in Europe. Presenting a significant and welcome contribution to our understanding of the complexities of multiculturalism it challenges Orientalist images of women as backward and oppressed. Through engagement with the changing realities of education, work, intimacy, family and social activism, this volume provides a situated account of how the concepts of citizenship, transnationality and culture play out in actual social relations. With its rich empirical material the book explores how migrant women create new practices and meanings of belonging across boundaries. Critiquing dominant multiculturalist and anti-multiculturalist accounts, this book suggests how citizenship debates can be reframed to be inclusive of migrant women as actors. As such it will appeal to those working across a range of social sciences, including sociology and the sociology of work, race and ethnicity; citizenship, cultural and gender studies, as well as anthropology and social and public policy.
Umut Erel is Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University, UK
'This is an insightful study of citizenship as a practice. The use of life-stories provides an effective tool for exploring lived citizenship; in particular, the life-stories throw light on how Turkish migrant women exercise agency in often difficult circumstances and, in doing so, forge new citizenship practices. It represents a valuable contribution to the gendered citizenship literature.' Ruth Lister, Loughborough University, UK 'Umut Erel significantly contributes to our understanding of issues relating to citizenship, racism, nationalism and their intersecting gender and class dimensions. Her analysis decentres hegemonic Western norms in understanding the agency and citizenship of migrant women. Erel develops a normative perspective in which migrant women are not constructed as potential danger to 'social cohesion' of the citizen body but rather as helping to transform citizenship to become more inclusive as well as more vital.' Nira Yuval-Davis, University of East London, UK '...a thought-provoking book that urges the reader to reflect on national, ethnic and gender-based boundaries of hegemonic discourses.' Immigration, Asylum and National Law 'On the whole this is a very interesting, clearly structured and well-written book. ... Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship is a timely and very important contribution to debates on citizenship, multiculturalism and diversity. The book's strength lies in the consequential entanglement of individual insights with her analysis of the politics of multiculturalism. Erel manages carefully to balance her empirical data and extrapolations by giving the women's voices an appropriate space and avoiding overgeneralizations...' European Journal of Women's Studies 'Umut Erel's Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship offers important correctives to mainstream popular and social science thinking on gender, migration, and citizenship. ... Erel presents a thorough and thought-provoking discussion of the utility of life histor