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Family obligations across European borders: negotiating migration decisions within the families of post-accession migrants in Sweden

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Oksana Shmulyar Gréen
Charlotte Melander
Publicerad i Palgrave Communications
Volym 4
ISSN 2055-1045
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk en
Länkar doi.org/10.1057/s41599-018-0084-x
Ämnesord Family obligations, migration decision making, EU mobility, care strategies, good parenthood
Ämneskategorier Sociologi

Sammanfattning

The negotiation of migration decisions within the families of post-accession mobile workers from Poland and Romania in Sweden is explored through the concept of family obligations. This study departs from Finch’s (1987) and Mason’s (1996) seminal works, which identified a wide range of supportive (and non-supportive) exchanges and negotiated commitments within families and their kin. Drawing on Mason’s (1996) definition of care as both sentient activity and active sensibility, we seek to understand how migrant parents negotiate their migration decisions as an act of care and responsibility, but also as morally imbued obligations in relation to their children. As an analytical tool, the lifeline method (Davies, 1996) is used to capture key moments and events shaping the migration decisions of European workers’ families, which include their motivations to pursue migration, the gendered patterns of care shaping their migration decisions, and moral reasoning over what is the right thing to do in relation to caring for their children. The analysis shows that mobile families’ decisions to migrate are ‘livelihood strategies’ involving complex and dynamic negotiations over the options and resources of entire families and their kin across generations and transnational locations. While reflecting on their decisions over time, both migrant parents express their genuine involvement in caring responsibilities. However, the actual practice shows that caring is still a gendered activity. Finally, the decision to migrate shows that migration itself can be seen as an act of relational and emotional caring involving moral reasoning, feelings and thoughts through which migrant parents negotiate their “good parenthood”.

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