Chapter 4: The transnational matrifocal home among Cape Verdean migrant women: The case of Santo Antão island
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This chapter shows how independent female emigration has profoundly altered the meaning of home on Santo Antão island (Cape Verde) since the 1970s. Many women migrate, leaving children with other women such as grandmothers, aunts or female family friends in the place of origin. Domestic space in the place of origin is managed by both the women who stay, becoming ‘surrogate mothers’ and heads of the family at the local level, and migrant women, who in turn become family heads ‘from afar’, managing their homes from a distance with the help of the surrogate mothers. This revolutionizes the traditional sense of home and gives rise to a new model of transnational matrifocal home. The Cape Verdean case allows us to reconceptualize the classical definition of home in relation to contemporary mobility processes and shows that migrant women’s homes constitute multidimensional rather than fixed spaces, concrete physical spaces (the houses themselves, but also by extension the places of origin), discursive and conceptual spaces of identification and the central axis of social relations. Keywords: female migration, transnational home, matrifocal home, Cape Verde, gender, Terra Longe/Terra Mamaizinha

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