Reframing relational space. Migration from the perspective of those ‘who stay’

Carlos Barros*, Peter Hanenberg, Ana Sofia Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Migratory research projects are increasingly concerned with bringing together those ‘who go’ and those ‘who stay’, considering the impact of living in transnational family relationships. The perception and use of space have moved between digital and face-to-face spaces in the management of these dynamics. Considering that Portugal has both a high rate of ageing and a high number of young adult emigrants, it is important to explore how parental figures in Portugal and young adult children abroad re-signify their presence. In this paper, we intend to reflect on how parental figures in Portugal use digital and face-to-face presence to connect with their emigrated children and how that might re-signify the space with the community where they live. Using a post-positivist paradigm and semi-structured interviews, we developed a qualitative study with parental figures living in Portugal and their adult children living abroad (N = 20, age M = 60, 83; DP = 9, 15). We analysed the data using the software N-Vivo (ed. 14). The general results point to the inclusion of digital space as a dimension for the negotiation of space–time within family rituals. In this sense, digital platforms and devices gain importance in the maintenance of communication and the planning of routines or celebrations. The dynamics of these family groups are influenced by the perception of social values and norms. The presence established between the digital and the physical seems to be important in (a) decreasing the impact of isolation and increasing participants’ sense of belonging, (b) promoting cross-cultural values, and (c) encouraging participants to use digital tools to connect with other groups in their communities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Arenas
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Migrations
  • Transnational families
  • Digital presence
  • Social connection
  • Cultural and social psychology

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