Examining ‘good’ mothering and value transmission: How British-born South Asian mothers seek generational change

Katy Kerrane, Sally Dibb, Andrew Lindridge, Ben Kerrane

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Sociological literature has begun to examine how mothers occupying non-normative positions negotiate the transmission of cultural capital and habitus, and how the norms of good mothering shape this process. However, less is known about second-generation mothers’ experiences, despite evidence of changing gender relations within ethnic minority communities. Drawing on interviews with British-born South-Asian mothers who held upwardly mobile aspirations, we highlight several forms of departure from intensive, middle-class mothering. Informants face additional responsibilities for transmitting cultural and religious capital, pursuing the ideal of the child as ‘skilled cultural navigator’, enabling their children to negotiate hybridised identities. They reinterpret the norms of intensive mothering, pushing against key tropes including expert-dependence, self-sacrifice, and overprotection. These findings extend knowledge of the mother’s role in creating a reflexive habitus, by showing how second-generation mothers socialise their children with reflexively chosen cultural and religious practices, based on egalitarian gender norms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages19
Early online date28 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


  • cultural capital
  • gender
  • habitus
  • intensive mothering
  • religion
  • second generation
  • South Asian
  • value transmission


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