Family Resilience in Times of Mass Migration: The Case of Lithuania

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:40 AM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Irena JUOZELIUNIENE , Sociology, Sociology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Danute TUREIKYTE , Sociology, Sociology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
A decade ago state officials believed that short-term emigration is a rescue for Lithuania during the difficult economic period. They state that short-term emigration reduces unemployment rate, increases income of the population and people gain useful experience abroad. Following Lithuania’s accession to the EU in 2004, the point on emigration radically changes - the de-bordering of Europe and the development of intra-European mobility is seen as one of the main factors of recent wave of the mass emigration from Lithuania giving rise of the family changes.

The paper aims to trace the development of the outline to migrant family research through the lens of changes, resources, definitions of the situations and impact management practices. While family resilience and coping with difficulties are seen as the main goals of the on-going research project, Reuben Hill’s family change model is treated as conceptual axis of migrant family research. The authors theorize family resilience and coping with hardships by means of ideas of symbolic interactionism, theoretical constructs of intergenerational solidarity, kin networks, personal networks and conceptions of family practices: doing and displaying family.

Presentation of empirical data is based on two quantitative research studies, conducted in 2013, and includes comparative perspective. The focus is mainly on the analysis of family resources by means of the theoretical constructs of intergenerational solidarity (V. Bengtson), kin networks (B. Nauck) and personal networks (R. Milardo and B. Wellman). Different concepts are utilized purposefully in an attempt to analyse family resources on several levels – the concept of solidarity permits to examine specific features of interaction among individuals of three generations related by kinship ties, while personal networks of family members comprise exchange and interaction networks with significant individuals that transcend the boundaries of family and kinship ties.