Transmigrant Familial Practices and the Accomplishment of the Work of Social Reproduction

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Guida MAN, Department of Sociology, York University, Canada
Immigrant families have been utilizing transnational practices to maintain family relationships, and to accomplish social reproduction. In the context of the current climate of globalization and neoliberalism, some immigrant families experience unemployment and underemployment, and downward mobility. The difficulties in procuring affordable childcare services and in juggling the contradictory demands of paid work and household work have prompted some immigrant families to resolve to transnational strategies to accomplish the work of social reproduction, such as sending children back to their home country to be cared for by family members.

Informed by theoretical debates on social reproduction, and transnational migration literature, this paper is based on data from an empirical research which examines the migration experience of highly educated Mainland Chinese immigrant women to Canada who were professionals in their home country.[1] In particular, the paper investigates how these immigrant women navigate paid work and household work, and explores how they utilize transnational migration strategies to accomplish social reproduction in an era of economic restructuring and transnationalization.

The research begins with the Chinese immigrant women’s individual experiences, employing the life history method by first focusing on their motivations for immigration and then exploring the transnational strategies and decisions the families utilized to meet their social reproductive needs. The analysis of the paper is centered on the myriad strategies of social reproduction employed by these families.

[1] The research project “Transnational Migration Trajectories of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada: Strategies of Work and Family” was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Grant (SSHRC) no. 410-2009-2453 to Guida Man as the Principal Investigator, and Tania Das Gupta, Roxana Ng (deceased), and Kiran Mirchandani as co-investigators.