Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
JS_RN13_RN35_09: Relatives at a distance: Understandings of family in post-migration constellations
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Detlev Lück, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Location: BS.1.25
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, First Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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To Search Or Not To Search? Finnish Transnational Adoptees’ Deliberations On Searching For First Parents

Heidi Hannele Ruohio

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

”To search or not to search” for first parent(s) is probably one of the most emotional and personal decisions that an adopted individual has to make. Although ties between the adopted child and his or her first parents are not valid before the law, previous research shows quite clearly that both adoptees and their first parent(s) are often interested in each other’s. Nevertheless, this interest does not always turn into pursuing actual search. In this presentation, I ask how do transnational adoptees come into the decision to search or not to search.

The data used for this presentation consists of 24 semi-structured interviews conducted with adult-age transnational adoptees during 2009-2010. Choice to concentrate on adult-age adoptees is a methodological choice that sees meanings of origin as temporarily changing, but also an ethical choice with which I take part in a paradigm in adoption studies that tries to grasp some of the “long-term impacts” of adoption. Interviewed adoptees were born in nine different countries of origin, the most common being Russia, Ethiopia, Colombia and India.

Theoretically, I follow Margaret Archer’s (1995; 2012) critical realist theory of agency and internal conversation in analyzing adoptees’ decision-making about searching. According to Archer, agency and actions are constrained and enabled by structures, and structures have the ability to influence on person’s motivations to act. Results will be discussed in relation to Archer’s understanding of modes of reflexivity: communicative reflexives, autonomous reflexives, meta-reflexives and fractured reflexives. Results will bring forward the complex nature of decision making process concerning searching first parents.

A Comparison of Couples' Living Arrangements between Migrants and Non-Migrants in Germany

Anne-Kristin Kuhnt1, Sandra Krapf2

1University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; 2University of Mannheim, Germany

A large body of literature has addressed ethnic disparities with respect to education, labor market, health, and family outcomes in the last decades. However, we know only little about young migrants’ partnership status, i.e. in how far they differ from non-migrants with respect to having a living-apart-together relationship (LAT), living in cohabitation or being married. Understanding the partnership behavior of migrants is important because it allows us to assess one dimension of social integration. This is particularly interesting in Germany, were more than 20 percent of the resident population are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.

In this paper, we compare the partnership living arrangements of migrants (N=3,005) and non-migrants (N=9,018) living in Germany. Our analysis distinguishes between different clusters of origin countries (Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, African Countries), a differentiation that is often used in integration research.

We draw on data from the first wave of the German Family Panel pairfam, which was surveyed in the years 2008 and 2009. The data contain information on partnership status and migration background of women and men of the birth cohorts 1981-83 and 1971-73. In our multinomial regression analysis, we focus on explanatory variables such as migrant generation, educational attainment, labor force participation, and religion.

Descriptive findings show that especially marriage is more common among migrants than among non-migrants. Preliminary results of our multiple regression analysis controlling for socioeconomic and cultural variables suggest a less clear pattern of differences between the diverse subgroups of our sample.

Keywords: Living arrangements, Migrants, Integration research, Acculturation

A Longitudinal Analysis of Psychological Well-being of Ghanaian Children in Transnational Families

Karlijn Haagsman, Valentina Mazzucato

University Maastricht, Netherlands, The

Most of what is known about how migration impacts the health and well-being of migrants and their children comes from studies focusing on migrant families that live together in a host country. Yet since the 2000s, qualitative transnational family studies have highlighted the existence of migrant families that live apart while still operating as families. These studies have mainly documented that having parents abroad negatively affect children’s education, behavior, physical health, mental health and emotional well-being. Yet most of the research on transnational families has been qualitative and small-scale, making it difficult to determine whether separation in itself is driving the results or whether it is certain characteristics of the transnational family.

Recently, large-scale studies, using cross-sectional data have indicated that characteristics of the transnational family arrangement determine how the child fares. This study is one of the first to employ panel data, to investigate changes in psychological well-being over time allowing a closer analysis of what factors can best explain changes in well-being status, such as reunification or caregiver changes. It will investigate different forms of transnational care arrangements paying attention to who the caregiver is, the gender of the parent who migrates and the location of migration. In short, we want to improve the analysis of transnational families by paying due attention to the diversity of arrangements and how these change over time. The study analyzes data collected in three waves in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ghana amongst secondary school students between the ages of 12 to 21 (N=741). It measures the psychological well-being of adolescents using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

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