Lost in transnationalism: unraveling the conceptualisation of families and personal life through a transnational gaze

Heath, Sue, McGhee, Derek and Trevena, Paulina (2011) Lost in transnationalism: unraveling the conceptualisation of families and personal life through a transnational gaze. Sociological Research Online, 16, (4) (doi:10.5153/sro.2534).


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This paper compares and contrasts some of the conceptual language used to engage with the realm of family and personal life within the parallel fields of transnational family studies (TFS) and British family studies (BFS). Key concepts which are now widely referenced within BFS - such as 'family practices', 'family display', 'families of choice' and 'connectedness' - have not been widely drawn upon within TFS. Instead, TFS scholars are developing alternative concepts such as 'ways of being' versus 'ways of belonging' and 'frontiering and relativising', often to capture very similar ideas to those current within BFS. This paper critically explores some of the concepts currently being used within transnational family studies, highlighting points of similarity and difference with the BFS tradition, and considers what these parallel literatures might learn from each other. The paper is illustrated by examples drawn from ESRC-funded research on the experiences of post-accession Polish migrants living in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.5153/sro.2534
ISSNs: 1360-7804 (electronic)
Keywords: transnationalism, polish migration, family practices, family display, connectedness
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology & Social Policy
ePrint ID: 336485
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
30 November 2011Published
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2012 09:03
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:25
Centre for Population Change: Understanding Population Change in the 21st Century
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-625-28-0001)
Led by: Jane Cecelia Falkingham
1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/336485

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