Weapons of the weak twisted in jars of love. The transnational maternal foodways of Polish migrants in Brussels

Keywords: transnational motherhood, foodways, gender, working class migrants, agency, (un) becoming mothers, Poland

Abstract

The aim of the article is to analyse social change in the area of the gendered care practices and identities of migrant mothers, who were forced by the social and economic situation in Poland to (illegally) work abroad without their children and families. It asks what kind of experiences of social change we can find if we look at the foodways practised by transnational mothers from the working classes. The concepts of "transnational maternal foodways" and "maternal bustling around foodways" will be used as tropes to discuss and explore the gendered changes in motherhood experienced by Polish migrants. The analysis presented here is based on the results of extensive fieldwork conducted both in the villages and small towns of Eastern Poland and in Belgium (particularly in its capital, Brussels), and on 54 autobiographical narrative interviews with Polish women who, during the two decades after the fall of socialism in Poland (1989–2010), worked permanently or cyclically abroad. The analysis combines critical food studies with gender and migration studies. 

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Published
2020-12-18
How to Cite
Urbańska, S. (2020). Weapons of the weak twisted in jars of love. The transnational maternal foodways of Polish migrants in Brussels. Ethnologia Polona, 41. https://doi.org/10.23858/ethp.2020.41.2135