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Abstract

This article explores the practice of giving birth in the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for the newborn children, among upper and upper-middle class mothers who otherwise are permanently located in Turkey. Focusing on their motivations, anxieties and practices, we situate our analysis with respect to discussions of intensive mothering, transnational motherhood and multi-layered meanings of citizenship. We suggest that the motivations women have for traveling to and staying in the U.S. in the later stages of their pregnancy reveal a new terrain of intensive mothering, tied to locally specific perceptions of future unpredictability and restrictions on individual choice. This particular discourse of intensive mothering involves the promotion of individualisticdecision- making and individualized efforts to control macro-processes, and reveals how citizenship acquisition for the children reproduces and disguises inequalities at the transnational level. Yet, this is also an intensely emotional process, not only indicative of the pressures on mothers, but also women’s multilayered conflicts of belonging and identity across spaces and scales of citizenship.

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