Call for Papers

International Conference

Transnational Families: Generations, Differences, Solidarity

7th-8th of July, 2017

Centre for Population Studies

Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Mirca MADIANOU, Reader at the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of  London

Laura MERLA, Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of Louvain and Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Families and Sexualities (CIRFASE )

Rachel PARRENAS, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California

Asuncion Fresnoza-FLOT, Radboud Excellence Initiative fellow, Radboud University, Nijmegen

Transnational families have attracted major attention in the field of transnational migration studies, as “the provenance of most everyday migrant transnationalism is within families”[1]. Family solidarities and intergenerational resources over borders take various forms, and transnational families possess the capacity to exchange the same types of care and support as non-dispersed families, i.e. emotional/moral, financial, practical, personal support, and provisions of accommodation[2]. In addition, there are complex factors influencing the transnational family caregiving arrangements, at the intersection of institutional contexts and family configurations, norms and obligations, in conjunction with gender, class and ethnicity[3]. Beside the ‘imagined’ dimension which is at the core of the sense of ‘familyhood’ over borders, migrants and their relatives develop ways of ‘doing family’[4] based on a sense of shared presence constructed in different ways. Furthermore, in a ‘polymedia’ environment[5], ICTs and digital communication contribute to the renewal of ‘family practices’ and generate ‘ordinary co-presence’ routines[6].

This conference aims at addressing the diversity of ‘doing family’ processes in transnational settings. We welcome papers from the field of transnational families’ studies with a special interest in, but not restricted to, the following aspects: intergenerational solidarity within transnational families; transnational grandparenting and circulation of care; the elderly within transnational families; children in transnational families; bi-national families. We invite original contributions based on empirical evidence that investigate the ways ‘family practices’ renew in transnational contexts, and the strategies of displaying that transnational families use; we also encourage papers addressing methodological aspects of transnational family research, with particular focus on innovative approaches.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words including authors’ names, titles, emails and institutional affiliations should be sent before the February 15, 2017 to the email addresses: and The organizers intend to publish a volume at an international publisher based on a selection of the conference papers. The authors who would like to publish in the volume are expected to also submit an extended abstract (between 6000-8000 characters) and a short biography (up to 400 characters) by January 31, 2017, also having the following deadlines in view: March 10, 2017 – first draft (24000-30000 characters); March 31st – feedback; May 31st – final version.

The conference is related to three ongoing research projects on transnational families:

  • „Intergenerational solidarities in transnational families. An approach through the care arrangements of the Zero Generation, these foreigner grandparents involved in raising their grandchildren in Switzerland”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Grant 100017_162645, 2015-2018; project manager: Mihaela Nedelcu, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • „Confronting difference through the practices of transnational families”, funded by UEFISCSU Grant PN-II-TU-TE-2014-4-2087; project manager: Viorela Ducu, University of Babeş-Bolyai, Romania;
  • „Intergenerational solidarity in the context of work migration abroad. The situation of elderly left at home”, funded by UEFISCSU Grant PN-II-TU-TE-2014-4-1377; project manager: Mihaela Hărăguș, University of Babeş-Bolyai, Romania.

[1] Vertovec, S. (2009) Transnationalism, London : Routledge, p. 61.

[2] Baldassar, L., C.V. Baldock and R. Wilding (2007) Families caring across borders: migration, ageing and transnational caregiving, New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

[3] Kilkey M. and L. Merla (2014) Situating Transnational Families’ Care-Giving Arrangements: the role of institutional contexts. Global Networks. 14 (2), pp. 210-229.

[4] Morgan, H. G. D. (1996) Family connections. An introduction to family studies, Cambridge: Polity Press.

[5] Madianou, M. and D. Miller (2012) Migration and new media. Transnational families and polymedia, London: Routledge.

[6] Nedelcu, M. and M. Wyss (2016) “Doing family’ through ICT-mediated ordinary co-presence routines: Transnational communication practices of Romanian migrants in Switzerland”. Global Networks, 16 (2), pp. 202–218.