Transnational care practices of Latin American migrants living in Australia and Europe: a comparative perspective

Transnational care practices of Latin American migrants living in Australia and Europe: a comparative perspective

The aim of this research is to explore the impact of distance on the experiences of Latin American migrants living in Australia, Belgium and Portugal who care for ageing, disabled parents in their home countries. By focusing on working class migrants, we will try to shed light on how transnational practices of care can be influenced and constrained by weaker levels of social, economic and cultural capital. By conducting this research in Australia, Belgium and Portugal, we will examine the impact of national migration and employment policies on the capacity and ability to provide transnational care. The project is based on three field studies. The first will be conducted in Australia with Prof. Baldassar, a leading scholar in the field of transnational care studies. The European field study will be conducted in Belgium and Portugal, with the support of Prof. Karin Wall.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
No
Keywords: 

Migration; Transnacionalismo; Care; Aging

The aim of this research is to explore the impact of distance on the experiences of Latin American migrants living in Australia, Belgium and Portugal who care for ageing, disabled parents in their home countries. By focusing on working class migrants, we will try to shed light on how transnational practices of care can be influenced and constrained by weaker levels of social, economic and cultural capital. By conducting this research in Australia, Belgium and Portugal, we will examine the impact of national migration and employment policies on the capacity and ability to provide transnational care. The project is based on three field studies. The first will be conducted in Australia with Prof. Baldassar, a leading scholar in the field of transnational care studies. The European field study will be conducted in Belgium and Portugal, with the support of Prof. Karin Wall.

Objectivos: 
<p>The aim of this research is to explore the impact of distance on the experiences of  Latin American migrants living in Australia, Belgium and Portugal who care for ageing, disabled parents in their home countries.</p>
State of the art: 
The aim of this research is to explore the impact of distance on the experiences of working class migrants living in Australia and in Portugal who care for ageing, disabled parents in their home countries. This new field of research, using the concept of &quot;Transnational Care&quot; has emerged in Australia. This concept was designed by Baldassar, Baldock and Wilding (1) at the cross-section of transnational migration studies, family studies and gerontology. The vast majority of gerontological studies to date assume that care-giving requires proximity and appear to deny the possibility of long distance care (2). As a result, very little research has been done on the relationships between ageing parents and adult children who live at a distance (3), and the social and policy implications of transnational practices of care have remained largely invisible. The preoccupation with geographic proximity is also evident in family studies research generally and, at the level of theories of the family, it has been explained as due to the reification of the notion of family as a private geographic domain (4). This reification mirrors the way nations and communities have been theorised as inherently connected to a geographical place. In response to this literature, the study of long distance care questions whether proximity is a necessary condition of care-giving, and asks how distance impacts upon the ability of people to provide care. In so doing, it turns to transnational migration studies, which focus on the continuing connections between home and host countries over time and eschew the traditional notion that migration ends with settlement (5). International migration is not seen as a one-off event but rather a life-long process of complex interactions between individuals who often live great distances apart (6). This approach to migration led Baldassar, Baldock and Wilding to conceptualise family relations as transnational sets of processes, and to conceive of the home and host societies as part of the same social field in which geographic distance and national borders do not necessarily prevent transnational care practices or connections to place. Focussing on an ethnographic study of six groups of migrants who settled in Australia during the last two decades, their research addressed the questions of their motivation to contribute to practical, emotional and personal care of their elderly parents back home, of their capacity (ability, opportunity) to assist primary care-givers, such as their siblings, who have remained in the home country, of the role played by their families in facilitating the provision of care across distance, of the influence of cultural differences in expectations and obligation of care and notions of independence on the delivery of distant care, and of the structural constraints that shape the forms of this type of care-giving. Results have shown the importance of factors such as sibling relations, attitudes to care, structural care provisions, migration histories, type and degree of parental illness or disability, finance, time and gender in influencing the capacity and ability to provide care at a long-distance. The aim of the present project is to go on investigating these issues, but focussing on a different sample and introducing a comparative dimension between two host countries, in collaboration with Prof. Karin Wall, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. The previous research focussed on professional migrants with high levels of social, cultural and economic capital. By focussing on working class migrants, we will try to shed light on how transnational practices of care can be influenced and constrained by weaker levels of social, economic and cultural capital. By conducting this research both in Australia and in Portugal, we will examine the impact of national migration and employment policies on the capacity and ability to provide transnational care. The project is based on two field studies. The first will be conducted in Australia with Prof. Baldassar, and will give the applicant the occasion to develop her knowledge in this field with the very team that designed the concept of transnational care and the research methodology for investigations in that field. The second, comparative field study will be conducted in Portugal, with the support of Prof. Karin Wall, and will be the occasion to transfer the empirical and theoretical knowledge acquired in Australia back to the EU and prepare further research in this field in the EU. <p>&nbsp;</p><p>(1) Baldassar, L., Baldock, C. V. and Wilding, R. (forthcoming, 2006). Families Caring Across Borders: migration, ageing and transnational caregiving. London: Palgrave MacMilla(2) e.g. Lin, G. and Rogerson, P.A. (1995). Elderly parents and the geographic availability of their adult children. Research on Aging, 17, 303-331. ; Aldous, J. and Klein, D.M. (1991) Sentiments and services: Models of intergenerational relationships in mid-life. Journal of Marriage and Family, 53, 595-608</p><p>(3) Climo, J. (1992). Distant Parents. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press </p><p>(4) Gubrium, J.F. and Holstein, J.A. (1990). What is Family. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield </p><p>(5) cf. Basch, L., et al (Eds) (1992). Towards a Transnational Perspective on Migration. New York: New York Academy of Sciences </p><p>(6) cf. Baldassar, L. (2001). Visits Home: Migration Experiences between Italy and Australia, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press; Gupta, A. and J. Ferguson (1992). Beyond &lsquo;culture': Space, identity, and the politics of difference. Cultural Anthropology 7(1), 6-23</p>
Parceria: 
Unintegrated
Loretta Baldassar
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/02/2007
End Date: 
01/10/2010
Duração: 
44 meses
Closed