Freedom with Constraints: A Journey of Five Mothers from South Asia to the UK

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:44 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Achala GUPTA , Sociology, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
South Asian comprises of one of the major immigrant groups in the UK since many decades, especially post 1950s. Though the rate of immigration has drastically reduced because of much restrictive immigration policies, the proportion of South Asian population has increased in the UK from 2001 to 2011. In this article, I shall be discussing about the experiences of five South Asian mothers, who have recently (less than five years) migrated from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to the multicultural society of UK. These mothers were living with their husband and children in a town situated in the north of England. These narratives are based on an empirical case study of five south Asian mothers who had at least one child at the time of migration.

Although each one of the participants had different experiences in each stage of migration and assimilation in the ‘British culture’, some of the their experiences are shared, perhaps due to relatively similar culture in the home country and rather different one, and mostly perceived as shocking  by each one of them. Hence their individual life stories makes a case for the processes of cultural shock, assimilation, elements of hesitation and yet their experience of freedom in the UK. Nonetheless, however constraining the home culture might seem to them, there appeared to be a self – contentious argument of returning and somehow pretending to make spaces for exercising their ‘own culture’ in the foreign spaces.