Does communication matter? Transnational communication within transnational family
Social and Political Sciences European University Institute San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
This proposal is based on my PhD project which concerns "Family in the face of migration. A case study of the Polish immigrants in Ireland."
To gain a complete picture of transnational family life we must study it from a dynamic perspective. To do this, I introduce in my research three main stages of transnational family life: the pre-transnational, the transnational and the post-transnational family stage.
In this paper I will focus mainly on the transnational family communication at the second stage of transnational family life- that of the transnational phase.
While studying transnational family communication at this stage I would like to highlight the significance of the everyday communication that occurs among transnational family members and the financial and other forms of support that flow both ways; from and towards transmigrants. When studying everyday transnational family communication patterns the attention will be paid to the patterns of usage and combined effects of the usage of new communication techniques like the Internet, mobile phones as well as financial possibilities (for instance cheap flights), as they are commonly used by transmigrants. Transnational communication of families includes also mutual exchange of monetary and non-monetary support between immigrants and their families in the home country. I will focus particularly on: remittances sent by migrants and care giving and receiving. The monetary support is especially significant in labour immigrants' transnational families as the financial motivations triggered the migration and the earnings abroad constitute a part of the family survival strategy. Therefore, it is important to study positive and negative impact of the financial support on the family condition.
Transnational family communication rises many additional questions: Is transnational family situation more constructive or destructive for family structure, family roles and individual family relations? Does transnational communication have any impact on the family conditions' utopian or dystopian influence of new technologies? How do monetary and non-monetary supports change family condition?
The theoretical discussion in this paper will be supported by the data about Polish immigrants in Ireland.