Childbearing against the state? Asylum seeker women in the Irish republic

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56 Scopus citations


Challenging standard accounts of globalization that ignore sexuality, race and gender as structuring variables, this article examines how childbearing discourses and practices have provided a means to redraw racial and national boundaries that have become destabilized in the contemporary era. Focusing on the Irish Republic, I show that, historically, women were annexed to postcolonial nationalism through their role as child bearers, understood in racial and national terms, and institutionalized in social policy and law. Today, in the context of accelerated globalization, the Irish government has required new strategies to construct the nation as a sovereign space. Discourses and practices targeting childbearing asylum seeker women have provided the government with a means to reconstitute the Republic as a sovereign space with a legitimate national government-while also generating new modes of racialization and racial hierarchies within Ireland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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