Transnational parenthood

Authored by: Olena Fedyuk

Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138794313
eBook ISBN: 9781315759302
Adobe ISBN: 9781317638773


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With the emergence of the transnationalism framework (Glick-Schiller et al. 1992; Basch et al. 1994), families separated by borders gained a new prominent position in migration research. Where before the focus was on men pioneering migration, working and living away from home (among the most vocal examples is Berger and Mohr 1975), the transnational paradigm allowed researchers to look simultaneously at several locations along migrants’ mobility trajectories and to include migrants’ families’ and employers’ stories. Significantly, the framework gave a toolkit to probe such questions linked to migration as the role of families in triggering, enabling and sustaining migration of certain family members, the diverse practices of maintaining relationships across borders, the dynamics of changing roles and strategies in such families and the complex moral economies surrounding migration of various family members. Thus, non-migrating family members entered the spotlight as full-functioning actors differentiated by gender and life cycle obligations and claims, and equally important for understanding migratory flows and practices. In other words, the transnational approach also allowed for a better integration of the gendered perspective on labour migration as it shifted its focus from migration as an act of working and remitting to a complex project in which reproductive labour of all family members plays an active part in shaping migrants’ trajectories.

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