Transnational migration and changes in sibling support in Ghana

Cati Coe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

International migration tends to result in translocal households located in two or more places, entailing the separation of kin from one another, whether husbands from wives, parents from children, or siblings from siblings. Despite the distance, kin remain connected through remittances, phone conversations, shipments of packages, and occasional visits. A growing literature is concerned with how this separation is affecting kinship ideologies and practice as a way of understanding what is new and different about contemporary global flows of people, goods, and wealth. The focus in this research literature, so far, has been on dyadic bonds between parent and child and between spouses (for example, Gamburd 2000; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994; Levitt 2001; Olwig 1999; Parreñas 2004; Pribilsky 2007; Súarez-Orozco, Todorova, and Louie 2002). Siblings have been largely neglected in this literature, perhaps because scholars have operated from a Western model of the nuclear family, in which marital and parent-child relations are considered more intense than those involving siblings. However, communicating with, financially supporting, and receiving help from distant siblings are a significant part of migrants’ transnational strategies, particularly in communities where siblings have historically had conceptual and practical importance (Drotbohm 2009, Olwig 2007). Even in communities where sibling relationships are not as profound, siblings can be a significant source of financial and emotional support for three reasons. For one, sibling relationships are potentially more long lasting than other familial relationships.1 Second, they generate connection across personal differences, and finally, they are intertwined with significant relationships to parents, children, and spouses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Anthropology of Sibling Relations
Subtitle of host publicationShared Parentage, Experience, and Exchange
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages123-146
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781137331236
ISBN (Print)9781137331229
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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