Central Themes in the Study of Transnational Parenthood

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38:2, 191-217, January 2012

Posted: 2 Oct 2013

See all articles by Jørgen Carling

Jørgen Carling

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO); University of Oslo - Department of Sociology and Human Geography

Cecilia Menjívar

Department of Sociology

Leah Schmalzbauer

Montana State University - Bozeman

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This article reviews the emerging literature on transnational parenthood, concentrating on six themes: gender, care arrangements, legislation, class, communication and moralities. Gender concerns not only the distinction between transnational motherhood and transnational fatherhood, but also the role of children’s gender and the broader networks of gender relations within which transnational parenthood is practised. Care arrangements are often the most tangible challenge for transnational parents, and an area where material and emotional concerns intersect. The third theme, legislation, primarily concerns how immigration law can be decisive for separation and the prospects for reunification, as well as for the practice of parenthood from afar. Analysis of class can help us to understand differences in how transnational parenthood is practised and experienced. Communication across long distances is a defining element in the everyday practice of transnational parenthood, shaped by the intersection of technological, economic and psychological factors. The final theme, moralities, concerns the ways in which context-specific behavioural norms guide transnational parenthood. We subsequently discuss how the age of children is an important differentiating factor in the experience of transnational parenthood. In addition to these thematic discussions, we address methodological issues in the study of the phenomenon. Throughout, we emphasise both the limitations and the dynamism of transnational parenthood as it is experienced and practised in different contexts and throughout the life course.

Keywords: Transnational Parenthood, Gender, Class, Care, Moralities, immigration policy, legislation

Suggested Citation

Carling, Jørgen and Menjívar, Cecilia and Schmalzbauer, Leah, Central Themes in the Study of Transnational Parenthood (2012). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38:2, 191-217, January 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2334019

Jørgen Carling

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo, NO-0134
Norway

University of Oslo - Department of Sociology and Human Geography

Moltke Moesvei 31
Oslo, 0851
Norway

Cecilia Menjívar (Contact Author)

Department of Sociology ( email )

Lawrence, KS 66045-7585
United States

Leah Schmalzbauer

Montana State University - Bozeman ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States

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