The birth of the african-irish diaspora: Pregnancy and post-natal experiences of African immigrant women in Ireland

Dianna J. Shandy, David V. Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article presents findings from a study of African immigration to Ireland. Set against a background description of who these recent immigrants are and why they come, this research, based primarily in a Dublin maternity hospital, looks at the experiences of pregnant and post-partal African women to explore questions surrounding use of maternity services and their relationship to larger issues of integration into Irish society. This gendered segment of the population is of particular interest, as the phenomenon of Irish-born children to non-national parents has been a lightning rod issue in immigration debates in Ireland, leading to a June 2004 referendum limiting access to citizenship by birth in unprecedented ways. Ireland, long a country characterized by emigration, only recently transitioned to a nation of net immigration, and, as such, is grappling with the implications of its rapidly changing ethnic make-up in questions of race and racism, allocation of social welfare entitlements, and effective health and human services delivery. Through this exploration of the phenomenon of inscribing immigration debates on African women's bodies, this article highlights racism, family reunification, the right to work, and the lengthy process of adjudicating immigration claims as significant obstacles to integration into Irish society. Through this analysis, this article also provides empirical data that feed into ongoing debates about the meaning of "African diaspora."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-142
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Migration
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 18 2008

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