Symposium 11: Transnational families in Europe: caring during the time of ‘crisis’ of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond


Dr Rosa Mas Giralt (Deputy Programme Manager BA Professional Studies, Lifelong Learning Centre, Visiting Research Associate, School of Geography, University of Leeds)

Prof Virginie Baby-Collin (Professor of Geography, INSPÉ, member of the joint research unit TELEMMe, University of Aix-Marseille)

Discussant: Dr Erika Kispeter (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

Paying heed to the ‘Boundaries, Transitions and Crisis Contexts’ theme of the conference, this symposium will focus on the time of ‘crisis’ of the COVID-19 pandemic and how this has impacted ‘proximate’ and ‘distant’ caring responsibilities between younger, middle and older generations in transnational families in Europe. It will draw from the ongoing interdisciplinary and comparative research project Transnational Families in Europe: Care, Inequalities and Wellbeing taking place in France, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The project has adopted a multi-sited, family-focused, ethnographic and participatory action methodology. Each national team is working with third-sector partner organisations and community peer researchers to collect data from a diverse sample (i.e. different cultural backgrounds and legal statuses) of transnational families with care needs, including family members in countries of origin/other settlement countries (approx. 100 families overall plus 25 in-depth ethnographic family case studies). In addition, interviews with policymakers and practitioners working with migrants in health and social care, education, language learning, voluntary and community sector are also taking place across the four project countries (approx.65). 

The four paper presentations will consider the project’s emerging findings on the reconfiguration of care practices and arrangements in transnational families during, and, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic in each project country. They will explore the challenges that younger, adult or older migrants or family members faced to continue to provide care locally or cross-borders, access temporary support schemes (e.g. furlough) and health and social services, or secure or maintain the legal status of different family members (e.g. IT or language barriers). Taking account of the boundary factors that mediate care provisions in different (trans)national contexts (i.e. migration regimes/migrants’ social rights) and intersecting inequalities within families (i.e. gender, age, disability, etc.), the symposium will illuminate temporary or more permanent changes in the intergenerational caring responsibilities and mobility strategies of transnational families in Europe in the (post)Covid-19 era.

Paper Authors

UK: Rosa Mas Giralt and Amrita Limbu (University of Leeds); Ruth Evans, Grady Walker, Sally Lloyd-Evans, and Tony Capstick (University of Reading); and James Simpson (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology). 

France: Polina Palash and Virginie Baby-Collin (University of Aix-Marseille). 

Spain: Raquel Martínez Buján, María Paloma Moré Corral, Laura Oso, Andrea Souto García, Laura Suárez Grimalt (University of Coruña, UDC) 

Sweden: Brigitte Suter, Katarina Mozetic (Malmö University).