Brexit has exacerbated the importance of understanding the affective dimension of citizenship for EU citizens residing in the southeast of England after the UK’s 2016 referendum on membership of the EU. The state’s emotional governance, manifested in citizenship policies and the naturalisation process, reveals a complex understanding of belonging and exclusion in the context of intra-EU mobility. In this essay I focus on how naturalisation requirements establish the emotions that new citizens should feel and the impact this has on their representation of citizenship. This analysis focuses on three out of thirty-four semi-structured interviews conducted in 2017 with EU citizens at different stages of the naturalisation process. Findings show that the political context emphasises the emotional elements of naturalisation in a context of political instability. I conclude that participants’ accounts reveal their resistance to the way the state attempts to govern through emotions. This resistance serves as an indicator of emotional governance in Brexit Britain.
This essay explores the working experiences of twenty-four women cleaners in two public hospitals in Athens, Greece. The participants are Albanian and ethnic Greek Albanian. It focuses on the intersectionalities of gender, ethnicity and class, drawing from ethnographic research during the period 2017–2018 in two hospital sites, which included interviews and observations with women migrant workers. The essay is structured around two key research questions: how both groups of migrant women cleaners experienced material, emotional and symbolic aspects of cleaning at the hospital, mobilising their gendered and ethnicised bodies at work; and how both groups narrated their experiences of their embodied gendered, ethnicised and classed selves, on individual as well as collective levels, to give meaning, to create a process of valuation and to construct formations of respectability. I reveal how the process of cleaning is caught between material, symbolic, emotional and embodied aspects, with migrant women cleaners forming ways of feeling respectable.
This essay examines the emotions that make and unmake transnational families, drawing on interviews with migrant parents living in Scotland and separated from their children abroad. First, it explores the meaning of distance and its role in stimulating emotional connections and disconnections between family members. It emphasises the significance of separation for emotional well-being and the necessity of absences in stimulating different intensities of transnational emotional labour. Second, the essay broadens the conceptualisation of the ‘emotional’ to include emotional work and emotional worklessness. It highlights emotions of ‘longing’ and ‘hope’ that unwork the structures of intentionality and reveal passivity at the heart of familial relations. Emotional lives of transnational families are permeated by the imaginaries of co-presence and potential future. Exploring the simultaneous production and fragmentation of emotional connections, the essay suggests the reworking of the contestable family idea(l)s and attending to intimate practices beyond utility and familial normativities.