SOCI FINAL - 1 Madison Nina Madison SOCI 220 Professor...

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1 Madison Nina Madison SOCI 220 Professor Parrenas 13 December 2011 Transnational Mothering Explain the phenomenon of transnational mothering in our contemporary global society by defining the concept, describing the strategies utilized by mothers to develop intergenerational ties and applying the “international division of reproductive labor” concept to describe the hierarchy among women globally. In contemporary society, the rising phenomenon of transnational mothering instigated many to explore its impact on social hierarchy as well as the social issues related to reproductive labor. Transnational mothering is “an arrangement where immigrant women work and reside in another country while their children remain in their countries of origin” (Avila 548). Many migrant women from Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines migrate to the United States in search of jobs while other family relatives take care of their children in their absence. Many scholars attribute the rise of transnational mothering to the expansion of technology and the global economy. Many mothers rely on the interactive capacity of digital mediums to maintain an intimate relationship with their children. Beyond regularly communication, many mothers provide emotional and financial support in their attempt to sustain intimacy. The study of transnational mothering as reproductive labor contributes to a deeper analysis of how the phenomenon contributes to the social hierarchy among women internationally. The concept of transnational mothering involves multiple factors. Usually, children are left in the care of family members while transnational mothers migrate. Research reveals that
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2 transnational mothers most commonly rely on “other female kin, the children’s fathers, and paid caregivers” to look after their children (Avila 559). These mothers leave their children in order to find work that will provide for their family financially. Most transnational mothers obtain jobs that include paid domestic work such as live-in nannies or babysitters. Although many mothers intend to return back to their home country after a finite period of time, this is usually not the case. Like many other immigrant workers, transnational mothers find that they must continue to work in order “to ensure the present and future well-being of their children” (Avila 562). Because this requires long-term separation from their children, mothers feel both guilt and the burden of providing for their children both financially and emotionally. However, this reproductive work is not “always compatible with taking daily care of one’s own family” (Avila 553). Despite the many difficulties associated with transnational mothering, these women regularly communicate with their families and send home money. The definition of transnational mothering is beyond just the familial separation of mothers and children. Transnational mothering redefines acceptable social norms in regards to mothering standards. Traditionally,
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SOCI FINAL - 1 Madison Nina Madison SOCI 220 Professor...

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