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Accepted Paper:

Swedish corporate migrants in China and the pacing of family mobility  
Brigitte Suter (Malmö University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is interested in the pacing of family mobility. The presentation looks at how family mobility is negotiated and lived between a specific set of migration infrastructure and culturally embedded family dynamics.

Paper long abstract:

With the opening of the Chinese markets, more and more Europeans move to China for a shorter or longer period during their working life. These individuals are often skilled (or highly skilled), holding a higher position in a company and living a relatively well-off life in China. The economic lens has dominantly been applied to explain the mobility of migrant professionals, while the social and cultural embeddedness of such mobility has seldom been highlighted.

My paper is embedded in the migration infrastructure approach which sees migration as a "multi-faceted space of mediation" in which various actors and their respective logics shape its process, direction and outcome (Xiang & Lindquist 2014). Based on in-depth interviews with around 30 Swedish intra-corporate transfer family migrants, the paper specifically focuses on the moving family that is channeled through the various dimensions of the specific infrastructure between locations in Sweden and two Chinese metropolises, Shanghai and Beijing. As the paper shows family dynamics play a crucial role in the mobility of these professionals; they do so not only for their decision to migrate, but they also impact on the timing and direction of the migration (outmigration, return migration, onward migration) as well as the duration of stay (or im/mobility). Hence, while the infrastructural dimensions largely reveal how migrants move, a mobility/time perspective coupled with the understanding of the family as a cultural entity offers an in-depth understanding of crucial moments that pace their mobility.

Panel P080
Pacing mobilities: a consideration of shifts in the timing, intensity, tempo and duration of mobility [AnthroMob]
  Session 1 Tuesday 14 August, 2018, -