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The Involvement of Domestic Work Mothers in Their Children’s Education: Cultural Capital and Migration

Sinenhlanhla Sithulisiwe Chisale, Angela Gubba


The intention of this article is to contribute to the understanding of how migration, with its effect of repositioning social class, shapes the care given to and the education of the children of migrant mothers employed for domestic work in South Africa. This article utilises a qualitative methodology and employs an evocative autoethnography to provide accounts of the lived experiences of migrant domestic work mothers in their involvement with their children’s education. The authors write about themselves and give a deeper insight into migrant domestic work mothers and how migration affected their children’s education. Bourdieu’s cultural capital approach is used to explore the multifaceted mechanisms and circumstances surrounding the authors’ experiences of balancing work as migrant mothers employed as domestic workers and involvement in their children’s education. The findings of the paper indicate that the nature of the work, i.e. domestic employment, affects the participation of mothers in caregiving and involvement in their children’s education. Further findings indicate that a mother’s active involvement in her children’s education contributes to successful achievements. It also emerged that children whose mothers are active participants in their lives and education do not struggle with their education. 


education; migration; mothers; domestic work; cultural capital

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