Connecting family and migration

Authored by: Linda Gjokaj , Maxine Baca Zinn , Stephanie J. Nawyn

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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Migration has produced tremendous changes in the structures and functioning of families, and the dynamic experiences of family life. Families are central to decisions about when, how, and which people migrate, playing an important role in migrants' ability to navigate the receiving society, and are vital to continuing relationships across borders. In making the decision about who migrates, early theorists conceptualized households as homogeneous units wherein the interests of the collective “family” were prioritized. However, feminist migration scholars have critiqued such conceptions of households for ignoring conflicts and power differences between household members (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994). Additionally, migration creates a compression of time and place that brings into high relief the dynamics of globalization that affect all families, making migrant families an important site for both family scholars and those studying migration. In this chapter, we describe the importance of the family as a set of social relationships that shape (and are shaped by) the experiences and conditions of migration.

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