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Transnational Polish Families in Norway

Social Capital, Integration, Institutions and Care

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Edited By Krystyna Slany, Magdalena Slusarczyk, Paula Pustulka and Eugene Guribye

This book provides timely insights into the lives of Polish migrants who have been settling in Norway with their partners and children, especially over the last decade. It brings together Polish and Norwegian scholars who shed light on the key areas of migrant family practices in the transnational space. The contributors critically assess social capital of those living mobile lives, discuss the role of institutions, as well as engage with the broad problematics of caring – both with regard to migrant children raised in Norway, and the elderly kin members left behind in Poland. Further, the authors tackle the question of the possibilities and constrains of integration, pointing to several areas of policy implications of transnationalism for both Poland and Norway.

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Krystyna Slany & Stella Strzemecka: Children as kin-keepers of a transnational family. Inclusive understanding of a family in the eyes of children

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Krystyna Slany & Stella Strzemecka

Children as kin-keepers of a transnational family. Inclusive understanding of a family in the eyes of children

Abstract: In the context of transnational family, kinship relations can exist and operate in spite of considerable distances and as the time passes. It is not a given that spatial separation decreases the level of intimacy. In fact, being away may in fact even magnify ‘doing family’ and experiencing familyhood. In our chapter, we attempt to deepen the understanding of family and transnational relations by employing the child-centric approach. Based on the experiences, opinions and feelings of migrant children, we try to present how transnational bonds are practiced and how families function despite spatial distances. The analysis is grounded in the semi-structured interviews, drawings, as well as observation of children’s rooms during Transfam research conducted with children living permanently in Norway and born in Poland. By adopting transnational paradigm and using the concept of the kinkeeping linked with intergenerational solidarity, we state that children are very important kin-keepers of the transnational family bonds.

Key words: migrant children, family relations, kin-keepers, transnational intergenerational arc, family pets, Poland, Norway

Introduction

Intensive international translocations of Poles after 2004 have a pronounced impact on the demographic relations, social ties’ transformations and the functioning of – as well as relations within – families (Slany et al. 2014; see Pustułka et al. in this volume; Bjørnholt and Stefansen in this volume).1 The transformations...

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