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Conceptualising children's and young people's experiences of mobility, transnationality and affective bonds

Conference contribution
Authors Oksana Shmulyar Green
Charlotte Melander
Ingrid Höjer
Published in Organizing Migration and Integration in Contemporary Societies – OMICS Conference November 6-9, 2019, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Department of Social Work
Language en
Keywords Transnational childhoods, EU mobility, social support, establishing relationships post-migration
Subject categories Sociology


This paper explores the ways in which migrant children and young people from Poland and Romania, after reuniting with their parents working in Sweden, re-define and create significant relationships build on love, care and solidarity in a transnational setting. Due to the increasing intra-EU mobility since 2004 a growing number of the European migrant worker families settle in Sweden, however children’s and young people‘s own perceptions and experiences of arriving, settling and building significant relationships in a new country are largely overlooked. The results of our own research with the parents from Poland and Romania, who migrated to Sweden to find employment show that living on a distance inflicts tensions within families, which finds an echo in family relations upon reunification. The economic difficulties, unstable housing or employment in Sweden is a common experience for many European migrants, and children tend to play a central role in connecting their parents to the wider society, thus it is crucial to examine how children’s own transformation to a new society takes place. Theoretical frameworks of ‘mobile childhoods’ (Fresnoza-Flot&Nagasaka 2015), transnationalism (Orellana et al 2001; Ni Laoire et al 2011; Gardner 2012), and the ‘care worlds’ of children (Luttrell 2013; McGovern&Devine 2016) are used in this paper to analyse the preliminary results of interviewing children, to conceptualise their own perspectives on reunification and the creating of affective bonds locally and transnationally, embedded in their experiences of separation from parents and other kin, their own migration and negotiating their belonging in the Swedish society.

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