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Transnational family care 'on hold'? Intergenerational relationships and obligations in the context of border regimes

Deadline: 30 June 2019

Editorial Information

Guest Editor:
Loretta Baldassar, The University of Western Australia
Rosa Brandhorst, The University of Western Australia
Raelene Wilding, La Trobe University

Rafael Engle, PhD, MSW, University of Pittsburgh
Leng Leng Thang, PhD, National University of Singapore



Journal of Intergenerational Relationships

Guest editors R. Brandhorst, L. Baldassar and R. Wilding invite you to submit proposal abstracts for the Special Issue “Transnational family care ‘on hold’: Intergenerational relationships and obligations in the context of border regimes”, for the double-blind peer reviewed “Journal of Intergenerational Relationships”. The journal particularly welcomes submissions that focus on intergenerational relationships,  integrating practical, theoretical, empirical, familial, and policy perspectives.

An increasing number of migrants are separated from their family by distance and national borders. Family expectations, relations and solidarities play a central role in migration trajectories from the decision to migrate, through the processes of settlement in the host country, to the continuing connections to sending areas (Brandhorst 2015). Despite the geographic separation, members of transnational families continue to maintain a feeling of collective welfare and unity, of “familyhood” (Bryceson and Vuorela 2002), through transnational care and support practices that are mediated by family responsibility (Finch and Mason 1993) and engage in intergenerational ‘care circulation’ (Baldassar and Merla, 2014). Migrant children provide aged care for their ageing parents who remained in the country of origin (Baldassar, Baldock and Wilding 2007). Thus, intergenerational care obligations between grandchildren, children and parents are organized from afar.

The current era of expanding transnational connections and growing mobility, however, is also characterized by an increasing entrapment and immobility of large parts of populations. The restrictive migration and family reunion policies, the ‘border regimes’ and restrictive asylum policies, are characterized by “closure, entrapment and containment” (Shamir 2005: 199). ‘Mobility regimes’ (Shamir 2005; Glick Schiller and Salazar 2013) and ‘border regimes’ especially impact refugees who are constrained by refugee camps, sedentarist policies, resettlement and insufficient economic means. The recent hold on family reunification policies for asylum seekers, and the restrictions in parent visa schemes in many countries of the Global North pose a further obstacle for transnational family aged care. 

This Special Issue seeks to explore how migrants and their ageing parents exchange care in the context of reduced mobility, restrictive family reunion policies, restrictive parent visa possibilities and constrained agency across national borders. It seeks to explore how this disruption manifests itself in the intergenerational relationships and care obligations between children and parents. And which strategies refugees and migrants develop to organize the aged care for their parents from afar and to maintain the intergenerational relationships. The Special Issue seeks to bring together papers that address these questions and develop a critical understanding of intergenerational relationships of children/grandchildren and their ageing parents and transnational family aged care in the context of ‘immobility’ and ‘border regimes’.

We especially welcome empirical papers that:

  • Explore how transnational families reconfigure aged care arrangements in the context of mobility and border regimes
  • Explore how intergenerational relationships and obligations between the generation of the grandchildren, children and the ageing parents are reconfigured in the migration process and especially though lack of mobility
  • Explore the circulation of care within refugee journeys (including how intergenerational family care responsibilities play a role in the decision to migrate, settle or return)
  • Examine resilience- or coping strategies in dealing with family separation and the impossibility to meet intergenerational duties or obligations

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Submission Information

Each proposal abstract should contain no more than 400 words and should address the following: background of the proposed article; content outline; and main discussion points. Deadline for proposal submission: June 30, 2019.

For those proposals that are accepted, the deadline for submission of full articles is November 30, 2019. The deadlines for the Special Issue are:

June 30, 2019: Submission of proposal abstract
November 30, 2019: Submission of full articles
December 2019-January 2020: Double blind peer review
February-March 2020: Revision of articles, if necessary
April 2020: Final submission of articles
August 2020: Publication

Articles are to be up to 8,000 words in length including abstract and references. The authors are responsible for submitting proofread and anonymized manuscripts. The instructions for authors are available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=wjir20#style


Inquiries and proposals should be sent to the guest editors via email:

Loretta Baldassar
The University of Western Australia

Rosa Brandhorst
The University of Western Australia

Raelene Wilding
La Trobe University