Belonging in the Margins: Mothering as Citizenship Among Resettled Refugees in Chicago, Illinois
Peregrine Antalis, Erin J.
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This dissertation examines how refugee mothers negotiate the complex terrain of mothering in the United States as they struggle to define themselves and citizens and subjects. I begin my research with a simple but broad question: do refugee mothers breastfeed after resettling in the United States? The answers is equally broad, yes, no and sometimes. I attempt to contextualize breastfeeding within broader structures of power. I argue that breastfeeding is a microcosm of mothering practices employed to differentiate good worthy mothers and practices to maintain normative ideals of motherhood within existing notions of race, ethnicity and class. The the stories mothers tell about their breastfeeding experiences will demonstrate how each woman understands and positions her subjective self. In this dissertation I argue that questions about mothering, infant feeding in particular, are about citizenship, national and global politics and as such should be at the center of scholarship.