124.6 The concept of loss in transnational migration

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 12:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Szilvia SIMAI , Population Studies Center (Nepo), University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil
Rosana BAENINGER , Demography and Population Studies Center (Nepo), University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil
Most societies define their immigrants in terms of gains (economic, professional, survival, etc.…), rather than in terms of losses (emotional). Dominant contemporary ideologies view immigrants as people who take advantage of the resources in the host society rather than as people who have left a whole world behind – home, friends and family – and who need to reconstruct their lives. This paper will shed light on this other side of migratory stories. By means of a qualitative study we shall highlight and attempt to conceptualize 'loss' in transnational migration. What is loss? What does it really mean to miss the births and funerals of family members and the birthdays of loved ones, and to be far from close family during illness and other major life events for reasons of geographical distance and the economic limitations that go with transnational migration? What do people lose during their migratory experiences and how can we make sense of these losses sociologically and psychologically? In our work we interrogate the terrain of "loss" and transnational migration and ask how this dimension helps us to better understand migratory stories as lived experiences.