Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Motherhood, Migration and Methodology: Giving Voice to the "Other"

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Motherhood, Migration and Methodology: Giving Voice to the "Other"

Article excerpt

This paper discusses the need for multi-cultural methodologies that develop knowledge about the maternity experience of migrant women and that are attuned to women's maternity-related requirements under multi-cultural conditions. Little is known about the transition to parenthood for mothers in a new country, particularly when the country is New Zealand. This paper will challenge the positivist hegemony of previously completed research on migrant women by reflecting on my own experience as a researcher grounded in a broadly-based, pluralistic set of critical epistemologies that allowed me to uncover the issues and contexts that impacted on the experience of migrant women. It concludes by proposing that, where research occurs with minority groups, multiple research strategies are incorporated in order to prevent the reproduction of deficiency discourses. Key words: Migration, Motherhood, Methodology, Reflexivity, Methodological Pluralism, Goa (India) and New Zealand

Introduction

In the following paper, I foreground and problematise my epistemological concerns as an insider studying my own culture in New Zealand but as an outsider situated within the academy. I was born in what was then Tanganyika and is now Tanzania into a Catholic family originating from Goa. Goa is located on the south west Coast of India and has an area of 3,701 square kilometres and a primarily agrarian economy with, more recently, a tourism and service industry (Mascarenhas-Keyes, 1979). Goa was renowned as a port as far back as the third century BC, when Buddhism was spreading through India. It was a Portuguese colony from 1510 until 1961, at which time Goa was liberated/invaded by the Indian army. There remains a tension between what has been called "Goa Indica" or Indian Goa and "Goa Dourada", which is the Westernised and colonial Goa used to sell tourism (Routledge, 2000). On May 31, 1987 Goa became the 25th state in the Republic of India (Newman, 1999). The Portuguese colonisation of Goa was a catalyst that led many Goans to become a mobile population. My family's migration history began with my great-grandfather leaving Goa to work in Burma. Subsequently, both sets of grandparents migrated to Tanganyika with their families

When I was two my family moved from Tanzania to Kenya and as a result of these experiences I became exposed to multiple heritages and languages, including Maragoli, Swahili, Konkani, and English. Then in 1975, as a result of the unease resulting from the expulsion of "Asians" (meaning people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India) from Uganda in 1972 and the process of "Kenyanisation", where Kenyan's were privileged over others my parents decided to migrate to New Zealand (Gracias, 2000).Settling in New Zealand was difficult financially, socially, and emotionally. In East Africa there had been a very strong Goan and Indian symbiotic community that provided cultural links. Despite being "foreign" there was a sub-culture in East Africa that was supportive and understood by Africans. In New Zealand we were different again, but less well understood.

I have named these migration sites to locate my research, this paper and myself geographically and historically to show how my identity has been shaped by colonialism. As Hall (1996) observes, all writers speak from a particular place and so it is important that they locate their own experiences and culture in their writing. I do not claim that there is anything essentially "Goan" about my own identity or experiences. Indeed they are a melange of African and New Zealand cultures underpinned by a reminiscence of the multiple influences of Goan culture, itself a rich blend of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, and Portuguese (Gracias, 2000). This discussion has also raised the issue of language. English is the language of my intellectual make-up but not my emotional make up (Rao, 1995). English is not my first language, it is not even my second but my third language, yet in this paper I must, to paraphrase Rao, attempt to convey in a language that is not my own, the spirit that is my own. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.