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transnational Migration and the changes of families

transnational Migration and the changes of families

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Published by Javed Kaiser
contemporary debates on family
contemporary debates on family

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Published by: Javed Kaiser on Jan 15, 2012
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01/15/2012

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Javed Kaisar 8507197757
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Transnational Families and their changes in the western world.
Introduction
In the contemporary world, labor migration is very fluent and people are moving todifferent geographic locations by crossing national borders. This is engaged with family relationsand has various types of impacts on the translocal relations. In this paper, I will discuss howtransnational migration effects on the family structure who have moved to a µwestern nation-state¶. I will focus on the concept of µfamily¶ and how the µnon-western¶ families are keepingµoriginality¶ of their family concept in their everyday practice or it is becoming blurred indifferent cultural locations?While the term µtransnationalism¶ is fairly new and currently
en vogue
, sociologists of migration have long recognized that migrants maintain some form of contact with family andothers in their homelands, especially through correspondence and the sending of remittances(Vertovec 2009 16). From the 1920s until recent times, however, most migration researchfocused upon the ways in which migrants adapted themselves to their place of immigration rather than upon how they continued to look back to their place of origin. Since the early 1990s µthetransnational turn¶ has provided µa new analytic optic which makes visible the increasingintensity and scope of circular flows of persons, goods, information and symbols triggered byinternational labour migration¶ (Caglar 2001: 607; cf. Levitt and Sørensen 2004, et al Vertovec2009: 15-16). Christian Joppke and Ewa Morawska (2003: 20) acknowledge that µAlthough not anew phenomenon in the history of international migration, contemporary immigranttransnationalism, of course, is not an exact replica of the old, but a different configuration of circumstances¶.In this transnational era, many so-called second generations or third generations of themigrant families are rarely treat themselves as µmigrant¶ while they have resident passport (of thereceiving country) and fluent in language with perfect accents. However, they are often sociallyconstructed as µimmigrant¶ in some western societies (this is an assumption based on the socialreality in Sweden, and came to know from different people around the Stockholm who haveexperienced in this way in their life. But it requires a dept research to know detail). However, thegrowing number of bi-national marriages in different nation-states, expansion of labor market or 
 
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migrating other nation-state with family for socio-political or economic reasons, prompts anumber of questions: how is the family unit defined, how are gender relations organized, how dofamily members communicate and interact across the border. The interesting point is thatcrossborder marriages link kin groups of different national origins to a new social unit and createaffiliations and obligations across different nation states, which we might define as transnationalkin/family relation.
Fam
ily: µTr
a
dition
a
l¶, µWestern¶
a
nd µTr
a
nsn
a
tion
a
The concept of µfamily¶ is very much situational and depends on co-related componentsof the social structure. However, it is very important to define these three types of the family tocompare with each other, though it is very hard to draw a borderline among them, especially atthe present world. However, family is considered as the smallest form of the social unit.A family can define as a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence interms of kinship relation. It has a long historical background and it defined differently indifferent aspects of anthropology. In evolutionist perspective, nuclear family is the last form of social unit which was defined by Henry Morgan. On the other side, Malinowski¶s definition of family as universal was dominant for long period and lately it was challenged by many theoristsespecially because of µfather-centrism¶ in the family. However, the idea of µWestern¶ family isclosely connected with the concept of µnuclear family¶ which consists with µfather¶, µmother¶ andµchildren¶. Moreover, traditional nuclear family unit may not adequately reflect the reality of themodern Western family structure (Grillo 2008: 17). Furthermore the family and householdstructures in µwestern world¶ are being observed with rapid diversification. The traditional,mainstream idea of the nuclear family are becoming increasingly redundant in an era whencohabitation, separation, divorce and ³reconstituted families´ are becoming increasinglycommon¶ (Bailey and Boyle 2004: 236 et al Grillo ibid).Conventionally, households are defined as µa group of people who share the sameresidence and participate collectively, if not always co-operatively, in the basic tasks of reproduction and consumption¶ (Chant & McIlwaine, 1995: 4). But in transnational households,more precisely, one parent, both parents or adult children may be producing income abroad whileother family members carry out the functions of reproduction, socialization, and consumption inthe country of origin (Parreñas, 2001). Thus, transnationalism forces us to reconsider our 
 
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understanding of households and families based on the idea of co-residency and physical unity,and to take into account the possibility of spatial separation. However, the families, which havemigrated many years back and continuing relations to various geographical locations, are alsotreated as transnational family. On the other side, traditional non-western family refers to larger family with many children and paternal or maternal kin. Both, µwestern¶ and µnon-western¶families (nuclear or extended or single parent) might be a part of transnational family throughtheir connections and networks.
Tr
a
dition verses Soci
a
l Re
a
lity
Everybody who moves to some other place, bring along with his/her knowledge,experience, value and cultural beliefs to the new place. Many of them try to keep their µtradition¶in their everyday life in different geographic locations. However, in case of family structure and practice, it also observed is the same manner and many ethnographic evidence shows suchexamples (see Sheffer 1986, Safran 1991, Chow 1993, R. Cohen 1997) where migrated familieswant to keep their traditions and build a diasporic community to keep practice their everyday practice. Moreover, at the present world, many transnational families are going through atransjectory period where they are practicing both ways at the same time. Many ideas and valueshave changed after migration and those have following impact on the other nodes of the society.Vertovec (2009) exemplified with gender role and the impacts on the transnational families. Hequoted Al-Ali (2002) his book: µeveryday routinized activities and practices¶ within transnationalfamilies have obvious significance for gender relations (Al-Ali 2002: 250 et al Vertovec 2009:64). Transnational families demonstrate how culturally constructed concepts of gender operatewithin and between diverse settings. In various related ways, the position of women inhouseholds ± and thereby daily gender relations ± may be fundamentally altered and liberating,especially when it is the wives and daughters who have migrated to become the breadwinners for the families who have stayed (ibid). In other cases a patriarchal grip on women within familiesmay be reinforced due to the perceived threats, posed by transnational existence, to culturalnotions of feminine virtue. It should be stressed that the significance of gender also manifests innumerous spheres outside family and household, of course, especially in transnationalcommunity associations, religious congregations and places of work.

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