Families and Racialized Boundaries

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations (host committee)

Language: English and French

As many contemporary societies are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, they also encompass diverse ethnically-specific sets of family practices, values and forms. Yet, these diverse family practices are not all valued equally, and national institutions such as schools or health services play a role in regulating acceptable and abject ways in which families can perform diversity. Different publics, from national media to local parents’ groups, are involved in debating the relationship between migrant, ethnic minority and racialized families and the societies they live in.

Often, minority and racialized parents are made responsible for children’s adaptation of ethnically hegemonic values. While transnational family and cultural ties of class and racially privileged families may be seen as creating cultural capital, for others, particularly Muslim families, these are seen as distracting from family members’ loyalty to their nation of residence. This ties in with policy discourses pathologizing racialized families, blaming family forms for poverty, social exclusion while ignoring the effects of class and racial exploitation. Yet, families do not passively accept these pathologizations, but develop strategies of negotiating cultural difference and addressing racism to envisage futures across and against racialized boundaries.

Areas of investigation might include, but are not limited to:


  • Racialized pathologizations of families 
  • Racism, transnationalism and demonizations of Muslim families 
  • Intergenerational relations 
  • Transnational family ties 
  • Accepted and abject performances of diversity 
  • Media discourses of ethnicity, race and family 
  • The nation and the family 
  • Social, health and education services and minority families 
  • Multiracial families
Session Organizer:
Umut EREL, Open University, United Kingdom
Umut EREL, Open University, United Kingdom
Mothering Difference
Georgina TSOLIDIS, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Australia
Family Habitus and Transnational Families: Mapping Gender and Generational Borders and Relations through the Lens of Migrant Youths
Tracey REYNOLDS, Greenwich University, United Kingdom; Elisabetta ZONTINI, University of Nottigham, United Kingdom
Life Strategies in the Context of Societal Inequalities and Asymmetrical Migration and Gender Relations – Intergenerational Transmissions
Lalitha CHAMAKALAYIL, University of Applied Sciences and Art, Northwestern Switzerland, Switzerland; Christine RIEGEL, University of Education Freiburg, Germany