Transnationalizing lifelong learning : taking the standpoint of Chinese immigrant mothers

Yidan ZHU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the dynamic intersection of lifelong learning, transnational migration and migrant motherhood by locating Chinese immigrant mothers’ transnational learning and mothering experience. It aims to understand how Chinese immigrant mothers learn mothering skills, reconstruct identities, and practise mothering in transnational spaces. Based on 30 in-depth interviews with Chinese immigrant mothers in Canada, this paper finds three major dimensions of immigrant mothers’ transnational lifelong learning practice: (1) the good mother/bad mother binary and motherhood learning; (2) lifelong learning within transnational families; and (3) learning mothering as transnational cultural capital. This paper argues that taking Chinese immigrant mothers’ learning and mothering experience as a standpoint is critical to view transnational lifelong learning as non-linear, fluid, and dynamic. This perspective could assist scholars to acknowledge the experience, identity, work, and knowledge of immigrant mothers, to highlight the intersectionality of race, gender, and class, critically analyse the public/private binary and the learning space of lifelong learners, to reflect on the relationship between learning, mothering and transnational cultural capital, and to examine the race, gender and class relations underlying the changing meanings of lifelong learning in the context of transnational migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-419
Number of pages14
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number4
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adult education
  • Chinese immigrant mothers
  • Lifelong learning
  • mothering
  • transnationality


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