How affinities matter in the lives of European transnational families: Studying intra-European mobility through the lens of potent connections (Anna Simola)
|16 May 2023
|12:00 - 13:00
|What is it:
|School of Social Sciences
|Who is it for:
|University staff, External researchers, Current University students
Dr Anna Simola (Université Catholique de Louvain & University of Helsinki) shares her research on transnational families.
The presentation introduces on-going research that advances the study of transnational families by bringing this literature into closer dialogue with the theoretical developments in the field of the sociology of personal life. Drawing particularly on Mason’s (2018) work on affinities as potent connections, the study develops a new approach for studying transnational mobility and family life in the specific context of EU free movement. While existing research on transnational families research has predominantly focused on the practices of ‘doing family’, the study places affinities at the centre of the analysis. The objective is to understand how such intangible, positively or negatively charged forces shape family members ways of perceiving, imagining, sensing and living their lives in the transnational social space.
The study’s primary data consist of 35 in-depth interviews conducted with Finnish and Spanish EUmigrants of different ages and social backgrounds living in Belgium, who maintain connections with family members living in their country of origin. The data also include photographs of family members and familial environments, as well as sensory-emotional ‘travel diaries’. The interviews offer insight into transnational family life in the context of broader cultural-historical transformations, most notably the development of the EU free movement regime and, more
recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the global environmental emergency. Overall, the study’s aim is to illuminate, in the context of transnational mobility, the complexity, multi-dimensionality, multi-sensoriality and the overall importance of affinities that
connect people with the people, places and socio-cultural environments that matter to them.
Anna Simola is a FNRS Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Families and Sexualities (CIRFASE) at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and an affiliated postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence for Research on Ageing and Care (RG 3 Migration, Care and Ageing) at the University of Helsinki. Her current research interests relate to personal life, transnational mobility, ageing and families. In her prior work she has developed critical research on EU migration and studied precarious work, precarious citizenship, street-level
welfare states and neoliberal governmentality in the context of free mobility. Her current research investigates familial affinities and family mobilities in European transnational families, focusing particularly on the recent period defined by large-scale disruptive crises such as the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and the global pandemic. Her work has been published in journals such as Sociology, Work, employment and society, Journal of European social policy and Global networks.
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