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"Cultural values, moral sentiments and the fashioning of gendered migrant identities"

Linda Morrice

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43 (3), 2017

The promotion of British cultural values to which all citizens can and should sign up to has taken on unprecedented urgency and momentum in political and public discourses. This paper explores the meanings and values attached to contemporary forms of Britishness from the perspective of migrant refugee women, and outlines the conflicting interpretations and expectations of different projects of feminine citizenship. Drawing on empirical research it suggests that gendered migrant identities and values are formed and performed in relation to real and imagined understanding of British (white) heterosexual women and can be seen, at least in part, as asserting moral value and distinctiveness. The women invoked migrant cultural pride in the form of caring, community, close family ties and heterosexuality to claim recognition and resist the lack of moral value ascribed to migrant identities. However, this is achieved through a re-inscription of gender identities in which heterosexuality and sexual restraint become technologies of regulation and control.

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