Bordering processes as instruments of reproductive stratification

‘Stratified reproduction’ (Colen, 1995: 78) describes the dynamic by which some individuals and groups may be supported in their reproductive activities, while others are disempowered and discouraged (see also Ginsbury & Rapp, 1995). In this seminar, I apply the lens of stratified reproduction to an analysis of bordering processes in the UK, drawing on a Wellcome-funded project exploring migrant women’s experiences of pregnancy in the north of England. Policies around immigration, and those dealing with reproduction – which may include e.g. welfare state support for (some) families, or legislation governing access to reproductive healthcare – are both informed by anxieties around the reproductive futures of the nation-state (Ross, 2006). There is an important body of scholarship exploring the relationship between discourses around reproduction and immigration controls (c.f. Luibhéid, 2013, Marchesi 2012; Tyler, 2010), and how immigration policies can serve to stratify experiences of reproduction (c.f Colen, 1995; Bonizzoni, 2011). However, at present, bordering processes are multiplying and proliferating interally. Bordering processes are increasingly ubiquitous; as well as situated and intersectional (Yuval-Davis et al., 2018; 2019), shaped by the specificities of particular bordering sites, and experienced differently according to individuals’ social locations. This necessitates a reconceptualisation of the role of these processes in stratifying reproduction, reflecting their influence in multiple, overlapping areas of migrant women’s lives, and the increasingly granular and refined reproductive stratification produced by these processes.