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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 192612 Find in a Library
Title: Transnational Childhoods: The Participation of Children in Processes of Family Migration
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:48  Issue:4  Dated:November 2001  Pages:572-591
Author(s): Marjorie F. Orellana; Barrie Thorne; Anna Chee; Wan Shun Eva Lam
Date Published: November 2001
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, IL 60603
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing upon ethnographic research in contemporary California -- with case studies of migrants from Mexico, Central America, Korea, and Yemen -- this study analyzed children's presence and participation in processes of migration and in the constitution of transnational social fields.
Abstract: The focus on transnational social practices is one strand of a larger ethnographic study of childhoods in two urban areas of California that differ in social class and ethnic composition and in histories of immigration. In each community targeted, the researchers mapped the contexts of children's daily lives across lines of social class and ethnicity and traced the construction of varied childhood experiences. The field sites were Oakland and the Pico Union area of Los Angeles. The study found that various facets of child-adult relations enter into children's movement across national borders, including their economic dependence and growing capacity to contribute labor; varied ways in which the needs and capacities of children of different ages and genders are defined; and their status as persons who are being "raised" and "developed" toward desired goals. These dimensions help shape patterns of chain and circulating migration decisions about leaving children behind and sending for them; and the unusual circumstance of children who take the lead in migration (South Korean "parachute kids" living in suburban Los Angeles). "Sending children back" (or threatening to do so) is a deliberate strategy of child-rearing used by transnational families. This article considers how children help families stay connected across long distances, as well as the strains, conflicts, and emotional costs that may be involved. The study concludes that children help constitute and reconfigure transnational social fields; and transnational practices, in turn, shape the contours of particular childhoods. 58 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): California; Child development; Economic influences; Illegal Immigrants/Aliens; Parent-Child Relations; Social conditions
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