Mobile People versus Static Institutions: National Educational Polices and the Kin-work of Transnational Grandparents
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the effects of national educational policies and of EU mobility and labour regimes on the transformations of kin-work, kin-relations and individual life trajectories of the generation of the transnational young-old grandparents, taking the case of Bulgarian Roma ageing carers
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the effects of national policies and of EU mobility and labour regimes on the transformations of kin-work, kin-relations and individual life trajectories of the generation of the transnational young-old grandparents. Drawing on ethnographic material from two Bulgarian Roma communities engaged in intensive labor migration across generations towards several EU countries, I explore the tensions, ruptures and newly emerging strategies to overcome the clash between productive and reproductive labour of the young-old. I argue that the principles of EU freedom of movement, and the more relaxed access to EU labour markets (formally and informally) are in conflict with the static nationally defined educational school policies and regulations. I seek to unpack the hidden connections and unintended consequences that national policies seemingly unrelated to mobility have on mobile people. More specifically, I focus on the effects of national educational policies on the lives of transnational ageing carers My argument is two-fold. First, I demonstrate how national policies affect mobile people in their everyday strategies, decisions to move, intergenerational relations and care arrangement. These policies affect not only children, but also their carers - the grandparents in these transnational families. Second, in many cases the grandparents providing the care have been migrants themselves and were therefore prompted to readjust their future by returning to Bulgaria prematurely. I trace the social and financial challenges that they face by being pressured to simultaneously provide financially as autonomous bread-winners and to be rooted in Bulgaria as caretakers of their school-aged grandchildren.
Ageing, care and transnational mobilities