Transnational Childhood. Part I: The Review of Theoretical Approaches and Formulation of the Research Question
Keywords:children of migrants, Central Asia, labor migration, transnationalism, transnational social spaces, transnational childhood
The article focuses on the formulation of a research question and reviews main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the place and role of children in modern international migration. The concept of “children of migrants” covers not only those who came to a new country with their parents, but also those who remained in a sending country. This raises the question of how international migration to Russia affects the children of migrants “here” and “there”, how it transforms the understanding and practices of childhood, and how it affects the migration of their parents and the migration situation in general. The theoretical framework for the study is anthropology and sociology of childhood. When studying children of migrants and their childhood, we emphasize the need to proceed from the fact that like adults, children are active subjects of modern transnational migration. In this regard, we propose to study the migrant children in the context of such a concept as “transnational childhood”. The article overviews the following research on children in the context of international migration: studies of generations, structural characteristics of childhood in the context of migration, practices of upbringing in transnational social contexts, sharing of parental responsibilities, the maintenance of family ties and arranging care at a distance, the impact of resettlement on well-being of migrant families, as well as education and integration of migrant children into a recipient society. The article is the first part of a paper devoted to transnational childhood in Russia. Its second part is scheduled for publication in one of next issues of the journal and presents the results of a field study on the role and place of children in migration from Central Asia to Russia.
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