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Material Belonging: Immigrant Mothers' Experiences of Welcome and Support in Schools

Thu, April 8, 1:00 to 2:00pm EDT (1:00 to 2:00pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Sociology of Education Roundtable Sessions


During a profoundly anti-immigrant moment in the United States, schools are critical institutions for families who are unable to access other social supports due to language or immigration status. To understand schools’ roles in processes of integration and belonging for immigrants, I investigate how mothers from Latin America respond to basic resources provided by schools within a Sanctuary City. Based on 18 months of participant-observation and 70 interviews, my research reveals that immigrant mothers feel welcomed when schools provide them with the necessary resources to care for their children. I argue that this sense of material belonging is constructed through street-level caregivers, educators and staff members who build relationships with immigrant mothers to facilitate integration through meeting families’ essential needs.