‘I had a sister in England’: family-led migration, social networks and nurses

Ryan, Louise (2008) ‘I had a sister in England’: family-led migration, social networks and nurses. Journal of Ethnic and migration studies, 34 (3). pp. 453-470. ISSN 1369-183X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691830701880293

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Abstract

Despite the apparent gender-neutrality of many migration theories, there has been a tendency to configure economic migrants as male, especially within a European context. This has been exacerbated by an historical amnesia about women's patterns of migration. Until recently migrant women have been either ignored or subsumed into accounts of household migration or family reunification. Thus, men have been constructed as active, economic migrants, while women have been contained within domestic and familial roles. This paper seeks to complicate such a dichotomous construction by drawing upon the narratives of 26 Irish nurses who migrated to Britain in the postwar period. The women in this study present themselves as economic actors who made the pragmatic decision to migrate to Britain. Nonetheless, it is clear that they also were implicated in complex webs of family migration and kinship. However, far from the stereotypical image of household or nuclear family migration, these women's narratives reveal the range and diversity of transnational kinship ties. Most of the women were encouraged to migrate by female relatives, especially sisters, aunts and cousins. The paper concludes by considering the implications for an understanding of family-led migration.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
Citations on ISI Web of Science:5
ID Code:3573
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Deposited On:05 Jan 2010 17:28
Last Modified:24 Nov 2014 17:00

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