RETHINKING GENDER, RETHINKING MIGRATION: ‘They assume dirty kids means happy kids’. Polish female migrants on being a mother in Norway

Gunhild Odden 1
1 - VID Specialized University, Centre for Intercultural Communication, Stavanger (Norway);
2016; 17 (3):
ICID: 1231680
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
This article deals with how the Polish in Norway perceive and talk about motherhood in
a migratory context. The changes such a context might imply in terms of a parenting style,
defined as a set of attitudes that express the parents’ behavior towards the child, are the article’s
main focus. The results presented are based on qualitative interviews conducted with
twelve Polish mothers in Norway. The empirical data shows that the mothers interviewed
consider the Polish parenting style as rather demanding and intrusive while the Norwegian
parenting style is considered as rather responsive and neglecting. The article shows, however,
that there is no absolute connection between rather stereotyped perceptions of the Norwegian
and the Polish parenting styles, and the actual attitudes identified in the analysis of the
mothers’ narratives. Better economic opportunities are among the most important changes
for the mothers, which in turn influences their perceptions and practices of motherhood.
Furthermore, the diversity in perceiving, talking about and performing motherhood across
borders are stressed, highlighting that the changes in terms of parenting styles are to be
seen, above all, in terms of structural opportunities and personal experiences.

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