Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Born Out of PlaceMigrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nicole Constable

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282018

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282018.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 12 June 2021

The Migratory Cycle of Atonement

The Migratory Cycle of Atonement

Chapter:
(p.216) 8 The Migratory Cycle of Atonement
Source:
Born Out of Place
Author(s):

Nicole Constable

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520282018.003.0008

What happens when mothers and children leave Hong Kong, as most ultimately must? This concluding chapter presents stories of returnees and the challenges they face. Many such stories point to what I call a migratory cycle of atonement, in which mothers migrate again—or make plans to. As I argue, this pattern is not propelled by greed or material desire or by a lack of maternal commitment, as critics might assume. Instead, it is largely propelled by the complex mix of stigma and social pressure that many single mothers face at home. Migration shields their children and their families from the shame of their single motherhood and the failure of their earlier migratory experiences. It offers the women a temporary escape and the possibility of compensating her family with remittances, one of the few available routes to a better future. Money is a lure that initially draws women into global migration and exposes them to its potentially immoral transgressions. Migration is also a means through which they believe transgressions can be forgiven and absolved, mediated by a self-perpetuating global-capitalist cycle of precarious labor.

Keywords:   migratory cycle, atonement, single motherhood, shame, stigma, return migration, uncertainty, family

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.