Serial migrant mothers and permanent temporariness in Dubai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on a five-year urban ethnography, this article explores the subjectivities of permanent temporariness that characterize the experience of serial migrant mothers in Dubai. By going beyond approaches that select middle class participants based on fixed category classifications such as ethnicity or citizenship, this article uses a processual lens and sheds light on a sociologically unmarked category of migrants in the city whose experiences of mothering and work have been shaped by shifting intersectionality in the context of multinational migration. Through detailed biographies of four serial migrants, this article offers an illustration of the subjectivities of permanent temporariness and shows how they are reproduced through three mothering practices: propagating roots, reflexive selving, and normalizing movement. Examining serial migrant motherhood practices challenges methodological nationalism and illustrates how the flow and friction of multinational migration gets reconstituted into family and work lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-273
Number of pages21
JournalMigration Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • motherhood
  • permanent temporariness
  • propagating roots
  • reflexive selving
  • serial migration
  • shifting intersectionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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