Heath, Sue, McGhee, Derek and Trevena, Paulina
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.
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