How Transnational Families Are Seen to be “Troubling”?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Irena JUOZELIUNIENE, Vilnius University, Lithuania
Irma BUDGINAITE, Vilnius University, Lithuania
The authors argue that Lithuanian society is shaped by meaning-making institutions producing knowledge about migration and migrant families. Daily life is mediated by representations of ‘low mobility’ discourse based family policy as well as “truthful” images of migrant families in press and TV broadcasts. The authors builds upon A. Strauss’ insights about the significance of ‘awareness context’ for interactions and personal identity.

The article discloses the situation in Lithuania, a country that experienced intensive emigration since its accession to the EU in 2004. Readers are presented with the analysis of official documents, conducted from 2005 to 2012; the results drawn from mass media and the study of migrant families conducted from 2012 to 2014 and funded by the Research Council of Lithuania.

The presentation reflects on how mass media (press, Internet portals, and TV documentaries), national legislation (the National Conception of the Family Policy of the Republic of Lithuania) and conceptualizations held by survey respondents shape migrant families. The brief overview of representations of ‘low mobility’ family narratives included in different official documents, mass media and conceptualizations concerning migrant family aims to disclose how ‘low mobility’ family discourse is a source of trouble to transnational families. The ideas of J. Baudrillard’s simulation theory and insights of N. K. Denzin on subversive analysis of realistic visual texts are followed by E. Goffman’s ideas on stigmatization.

Further the authors aim to disclose how socially accepted family meanings used in Lithuania change upon time and how ‘multi-local’ family narratives emerge. The data obtained from the representative survey carried out in 2013 confirm C. Smart’s assertion that the changing reality of family life alters the way individuals think about families.