Publication details

Delegation of childcare in immigrant families and its consequences



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Family Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Sociology, demography
Keywords Motherhood; caregiving; delegation of childcare; second generation
Attached files
Description This article focuses on the role of social reproduction tasks (motherhood and childcare) in the reproduction of cultures and the social incorporation of first-generation and second-generation immigrants. It draws upon a very particular case study of Vietnamese immigrant families that hire Czech nannies for their second-generation children. The article presents an analysis of 15 interviews with Vietnamese mothers who delegate(d) childcare and 20 interviews with second-generation Vietnamese children who have had a Czech nanny. It is based on the assumption that the social reproductive sphere includes not only the embodied work of childcare but also the work of reproducing cultures and social incorporation. Many scholars argue that the activities connected with childcare (usually called ‘bridging’ activities, including communication with public authorities and schools and participation in the local neighbourhood) that are traditionally performed by women take on a new dimension after migration. They become the means by which immigrant mothers are integrated and develop the social capital and skills that help them adapt to the new country. What happens in an immigrant family when caregiving (including the bridging activities) is delegated to another person? How does the role of the mother—with its limited content—shape the women’s position in the new country? The aim of this study is to examine how both mothers and children make sense of the delegation of care and its consequences for the social incorporation of first-generation mothers who delegate care and for second-generation children who are cared for by nannies. Addressing this particular case of migrant mothers who perform a limited form of mothering, the paper illuminates the key role of motherhood in women’s post-migratory integration and contributes to the scholarly discussion on the meanings of (migrant) motherhood.
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