Accepted paper:

"Migration times" of migrant parents: constraints and opportunities in life course


Aija Lulle (University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

Through detailed attention to mobility trajectories and roles and norms as performed and perceived by migrant mothers and fathers, who work in Great Britain to support their families in Latvia, I demonstrate how life stages, cycle and life course shape and are shaped by migrant parents.

Paper long abstract:

Work is based on ethnographic fieldwork in both countries during 2010-2012. The ontology of my research is based in a temporal-geographical perspective: the research subjects live in the physical world and have limited time-space resources. Each step in space is also a move in time and implicates effort to create bundles in particular places with relevant others, e.g., couple co-presence or a family reunion. Social mediums bridge physical movements with rich immaterial world in continuous systems and worldview.

Drawing on H├Ągerstrand's notions of various trajectories -- moving in time and space side-by-side, separation, encounter, and return to home -- I analyse the connections between transnational practices, the idea of 'return', and perceptions of a 'better life' and the roles of 'mother'/'father', 'partner', and 'daughter'/ 'son' in three steps: (1) a will to return, constraints and effort to overcome them in distanciated bundle-creating, its (dis)continuities and translations of roles and norms (2) return visits (3) and an imagined or real final (no)return.

Geographical mobility of parents are intrinsically linked to life courses of partners, children and grandparents that create specific 'migration times' of obligations, hope, togetherness and separation. These testimonies of migrant women's and men's lives signify wider on-going social changes with implications for gender regimes and inter-generational time in a post-socialist society.

panel P27
The inequalities of (im)mobility