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Constructions of Undeservingness around the Figure of the Undocumented Pregnant Woman in the French Department of Mayotte

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Document pages: 12 pages

Abstract: This article examines how Comorian pregnant women in Mayotte, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean, came to embody an unwanted presence as irregular migrants due to their children’s and their own potential claims to belonging, while they are entitled by law to access perinatal and maternal care. This article argues that framing undocumented pregnant women as a threat led to significant shortcomings in perinatal care delivery and that those shortages in turn worsened access to healthcare services for the Mahoran-French population as well, exacerbating feelings of resentment towards Comorians. Drawing on this case-study, the article foregrounds the malleability of the CARIN criteria (Control, Attitude, Reciprocity, Identity and Need), a theoretical tool to analyse ideas related to deservingness, by demonstrating how actors re-think the meanings of ‘identity’, ‘control’, ‘attitude’ and ‘need’ and assign different weights to them in the context of a dominant frame of undeservingness.

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