The general aim of the Centre is to function as a networking, visibility and research hub in the field of transnational families, in the Southeastern-European, Eastern-European and Pan-European space as well as globally. We hold that transnational families are a functional category of families, with its own specificities and rights entitlements. Therefore, they need to be inquired, empowered, their life-world observed and addressed from a multitude of perspectives and in a diversity of intersections, such as: minority status of various kinds including ethnic and non-regular families, children as a vulnerable group, trafficking, divorce, gender, poverty etc. Indeed, the practices of transnational family life reflect beyond its area proper, towards other social structures such as local communities, kin-like and friendly ties, organizations, workplace, education, the political community and society as a whole. These dynamics need to be addressed departing from the intimate experience of transnational family life through its perception and recognition in its local, societal and political context to the institutional capabilities needed to empower and protect its integrity and functionality.
Therein, the emphasis on children - with a strong sense of child participation including co-research, child rights an child empowerment - is one of the intimate tenets of the Centre.
For the above reasons, the Centre aims to look systematically at the governance of transnational families from a multidisciplinary perspective: formal and informal regulation of family relations; cultural-contextual differences and similarities in the governance of transnational families; the role of children’s rights and child protection therein; comparative policy analysis; participatory methodologies for the study of family members’ perceptions on transnational familyhood etc. In selecting its tools of operation, the Centre prioritizes, encourages and pursues the application of digital methodologies.
Beyond research, the Centre also aims at becoming a support platform for rights advocacy and information provision for transnational families and their members as well as other organizations and individuals in the field. Within the area of transnational families, the Centre advocates for the interests of all connected vulnerable groups and persons, including children remaining in their country of origin, mobile caregivers, elderly, sick people, minorities of various kinds etc.
The language of communication of the Centre is English; however, national languages of the areas involved may be used in publications and documents, with provision of translated titling.
Centre for the Study of Transnational Families
- research agenda -
Basic research is pursued by directly addressing social, anthropological, political, ethical, etc. phenomena of transnational families in order to create theories, descriptions, models and concepts appropriate to the field. In the view of this Centre, transnational families should be observed, studied and approached from a variety of perspectives and a diversity of intersections, including minorities of various kinds, trafficking, divorce, gender, differences compared to singularly localized families, leading to different outcomes in terms of interpretation, communication and intervention. Also, the family rights perspective as well as the children’s rights perspective enjoys top priority. In doing so, the study of transnational families reflects beyond its strict scope, namely towards other social structures such as community, quasi-family or friendship ties, organizational structures, work, education, political community and society as a whole. These dynamics need to be addressed by starting from the intimate experience of transnational family life by perceiving and recognizing it in its local, societal and political context, and moving on to the institutional capacities needed to protect its integrity and functionality.
On the practical level, i.e. applied research, the Centre aims to systematically analyse the governance of transnational families from a multidisciplinary perspective. This includes formal and societal regulation of family relationships, their cultural-contextual specificities across regions and countries, comparative policy analysis and the development of participatory methodologies. These approaches will be fruitful to provide support and recommendations at both societal (families, NGOs, etc.) and political levels, nationally and internationally. Among other actions, this may include providing digital support and information for the general public and specific target groups as a priority.
Specifically, encompassing the field of social science and humanities with its aim of social engagement, the area of interest of this Centre importantly draws on the idea of Citizen Engagement, employing participatory research methods of the co-research or co-creation of knowledge, letting the respondents lead the way through the innovative methodologies applied. In this sense, the Centre wants to become a powerful platform for information, training and advocacy on transnational families, both for their members and for other linked organizations. Through this support activity, the Centre aims to develop positive socio-human values and behaviors by promoting the rights and interests of all related vulnerable groups in the area of transnational families, including stay-behind children of migrating parents, elderly and/or sick people involved, minorities of different types, mobile caregivers, etc.
Moreover, considering feedback from social assistance professionals, we aim to develop a framework to offer counselling to transnational families or their members - either directly or through partnership with relevant organizations.
The research methodologies as well as the communication with the target groups fall within the scope of digital research, substantially widening the researched coverage as well as the communicative potential of the actions within society.
In the study of migration and transnational living, the concept of materiality, which has recently emerged in the field, considers the environment - including the natural environment - as a crucial perspective for human beings. This is intended to improve the understanding and protection of the quality of life and the environment, including for the families addressed here, whose lives and environment are embedded beyond a single national context.
The production of well-founded and disseminated knowledge about the target group aims towards their recognition and integration; however, this is not conceived as integration into a previously validated social-political culture, but to one produced inclusively through transnational living, which can be extrapolated and communicated among the participants, creating additional reflexivity, solidarity and acceptance.