Increases in migration from developing countries to industrialized nations results in family members living in different countries, having to arrange care for young and elderly at a distance. A common form that these transnational families take is when a parent migrates, leaving his or her children in the care of someone in the home country. This results in transnational child raising arrangements (tcras) composed of migrant parents and their children and caregivers in the countries of origin. Transnational migration studies have begun to study this phenomenon, yet they tend to give prevalence to relationships between migrant parents, especially mothers, and children. Caregivers are not a focus. This is a consequence of researchers being guided by western conceptualizations of the family where prevalence is given to the nuclear family living in geographical proximity. This paper focuses on a recent study in which all members in a transnational child raising arrangement are the focus: the migrant overseas, the caregiver or multiple caregivers at home and the child him or herself. The study uses a mixed methods approach, which incorporates surveys of children and parents, the mapping of child raising networks with the different actors of a tcra (parents, caregivers and children), and an in-depth, multi-sited ethnographic study of a select number of child raising networks, giving equal attention to all members of a tcra. This paper focuses on the second method and highlights three contributions that such a method makes to our understanding of tcras. First, the mapping of child raising networks helps to identify the perceptions of care held by different members of a tcra. Secondly, discrepancies and similarities between different actors’ perspectives help to understand how tcras function. Finally, mapping child raising networks with all actors involved, gives children a voice which is an element often missing in research about children.
|Title of host publication
|Situating Children of Migrants across Borders and Origins
|Subtitle of host publication
|A Methodological Overview
|Claudio Bolzman, Laura Bernardi, Jean-Marie LeGoff
|Published - 2017