The gendered burden of transnational care-receiving: Sudanese families across The Netherlands, the UK and Sudan

Ester Serra Mingot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Care circulated within transnational families is a crucial element in the families' social protection and reproduction transnational social protection arrangements, based on a system of reciprocity between migrants and their families 'back home'. Recent studies have shown the complexities of transnational caregiving arrangements, yet the focus has remained on the provision of care between parents and children, largely neglecting the intricacies of care-receiving within extended family networks. Care may feel differently depending on the perspective of either the provider or the receiver. Despite the caregiver's good intentions, care might be experienced as a burden by the receiver. Moreover, as a culturally embedded practice, receiving care across culturally and geographically distant contexts may present additional challenges. This paper investigates the agency of female care-receivers to navigate the care provided by different male family members abroad, while protecting themselves and their children's wellbeing. Rather than focusing on caregiving practices between parents and children, this article addresses care dynamics within extended families. Drawing on a multi-sited matched-sample ethnography with Sudanese transnational families across the Netherlands, the UK and Sudan, I examine the strategies of these women to manoeuvre the reception of unwanted care while avoiding conflict with their relatives and gaining control of their own and their children's bodies. In exploring the intricacies of care-receiving in transnational family networks, I analyse how geographical distance may exacerbate the perception of different care needs, while at the same time giving the care-receivers more space to navigate the reception of unsolicited care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-567
Number of pages22
JournalGender, Place and Culture : a Journal of Feminist Geography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • Care-receiving
  • transnational families
  • transnational social protection care
  • Sudan
  • the UK
  • the Netherlands

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