November 28, 2015

Confronting difference through the practices of transnational families

From the field of transnational families, we propose to research in this project, as a central objective, the way in which transnational families manage the inconveniences they confront through the fact that they are „different” from the classical family: both on the family level – which means being born or becoming the member of a transnational family – or micro level; as well as on the extra-family level – how they are perceived by the social milieu, comprising the community through the state they live in – messo and macro levels. The research will be based on the qualitative analysis of data obtained through interviews with transnational family members and key persons from six communities. A special attention will be given to developing the theoretical concept of displaying transnational families, through which we ll understand the practices that family members use. We wish to develop in this research also the methods of data collection: the couple inteview, video-recorded / applied on-line. The research will have theoretical applications, but also recomandations for social-political factors concerning transnational families. Additionally, the study proposes to display the photographed / video recorded documents as results revealing of this way of life.

Objectives.

„Difference” within TFs in the Romanian context can be felt in multiple senses, but in our study we wish to approach with priority the following: the members of families live in several countries, whereas those abroad are often denigrated at home, and the family must confront these accusations; through migration, some family members become a minority in the country and often the family needs to confront discriminating disourses against them (e.g. Italy, Great Britain, Spain etc.); the children born and raised partly in Romania confront problems of integrating into the systems of education abroad or, if they come back home, encounter difficulties of adapting to the Romanian educational system; many children are born outside the country and already have a double citizenship and are special members of the families for which alternative life projects can be drawn; through marriage with a „foreigner” (either in the target country or with an immigrant in Romania) bi-national or ethnically mixed couples are constituted that provoke new ways of accepting otherness, the children of these needing the development of new educational strategies in TFs. Therefore, the main objective of this study is the analysis of the strategies through which TFs manage their specific way of life.

Individual objectives:

  1. Identifying the family practices unfolded by transnational family members for a functioning as a transnational family „here” and „abroad”.
  2. Establishing the way in which the discrimination here and abroad influences TFs and how it is managed by these.
  3. Specific situations that children from TFs face: children gliding between two or more countries; children with double citizenship; children in transnationally mixed families – and the practices families unfold in these cases.
  4. What are the practices of families when they contain mixed/bi-national, transnational couples?

Complementary objectives:

  1. Developing a method of data collection: couple interviews – with video recording and on-line application.
  2. Developing of the theorizing of the concept of displaying of TFs.

Impact

Through the proposed objectives, the project opens the research into these directions in the Romanian scientific context. Through the theoretical development it will offer in using the concept of displaying within TFs, the project has the chance to produce reference works for the theoretical framework of study of this type of family organization. On the other hand, the development of data collection methods: the couple interview, the on-line interview and video-recording, also bring new useful instruments in the research of TFs, that can be transferred also to the study of other types of families – especially the video-recorded couple interview, the on-line one being more suitable for transnational studies.

The project has proposed to have applicable results as well, hence there will exist research reports concerning the objectives of research, especially the discrimination of TFs; the situation of children in TFs; the case of mixed TFs – with the reccommendations inferred from the research results that will be published and handed to social-political authorities and NGOs.. Additionally, we aim to sensitivise the public opinion as well concerning these issues in TFs through the results that also have a cultural aspect, beside their documentary role: the photo exhibitions, the documentary film and the multi-media album.