FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Antropologicheskij forum, 2016, no. 28

 

PARENTING AT A DISTANCE: TRANSNATIONAL PRACTICES IN MIGRANT FAMILIES FROM TAJIKISTAN

Elena Borisova

European University at St Petersburg
3 Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia
borisova.ebv()yandex.ru

Abstract: In this paper, I consider some transnational practices in performing parental care at a distance in the families of labour migrants from northern Tajikistan. My research is based on fieldwork conducted in several villages in the Kanibadam region of the Republic of Tajikistan. There are a number of aspects to take into account when researching transnational parenting. This paper is limited to a consideration of transnational practices that link migrant parents and the children they leave behind, e.g. regular home visits, phone calls, and photo and gift exchanges. Parental experience is highly gendered: a mother’s departure, as a rule, is not so much stigmatised in the sending community, as it is legitimised by parental obligations. However, financial support is insufficient, and mothers do not withdraw from the upbringing process, but provide emotional support for their children using modern means of communication. There are different modes of involvement in care at a distance, excluding an intensive one, but researchers should avoid normative judgements about the quality of such parenting. Instead more emphasis should be placed on how transnational families overcome distance and negotiate family contexts, and how a sense of familial unity and proximity is constructed.

Keywords: migration, transnationalism, care at a distance, Central Asia.

To cite: Borisova E., 'Roditelstvo na rasstoyanii: transnatsionalnye praktiki v semyakh migrantov iz Tadzhikistana' [Parenting at a Distance: Transnational Practices in Migrant Families from Tajikistan], Antropologicheskij forum, 2016, no. 28, pp. 228–245.

URL: http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/028/borisova.pdf