Child mobility and transnational imagination in the context of migration from Tajikistan
Junior research fellow, European University at Saint-Petersburg, Saint-Petersburg, Russia email@example.com
Labour migration from Central Asian countries to Russia became socially embedded into the everyday life of a large portion of population in sending societies and highly transnational in its nature. Spending the majority of their lives in Russia migrants, nevertheless, maintain dense ties to their relatives and friends left in their places of origin and frequently make short visits to manifest their status in the community. However, not only migrants but also their families can get involved into transnational way of life and be very mobile, this fact often ignored in Russian migration studies. Mobility of children is rarely taken into consideration and migrants’ children are usually focused upon within pervasive discourses on migrants’ integration and adaptation in the receiving society. Based on the ethnographic research conducted in the northern Tajikistan I suggest that mobility of children should be considered from transnational perspective in order to capture children’s experience and perception of migration. Being socialized in transnational social spaces children grow up absorbing practices, images and values circulating between sending and receiving societies and rethink them through their own and their parents’ and friends’ mobility experience. This expands their imaginary living spaces — they appropriate the space of the receiving country through migrants’ narratives, which allows them to inscribe it into their life expectations and plans. Although there is a boundary between receiving and sending societies deliberately being maintained through the reproduction of contradictory images, despite all the risks mobility is associated with opportunities to raise one’s social status.
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