“Not like everyone else”? Transnational families’ relationship in their home society – between stigma and dialogue


The study discusses whether and how Ukrainian and Moldovan migrant parents, some of whom had to leave their children behind in the care of other adults, are faced with a disapproving public discourse while also facing strong pressure both in their relationship with the public authorities and at the level of society, community, and family. Through this approach, we aim to answer the following question: Are Ukrainian and Moldavian transnational family members subjected to a process of stigmatization at the level of society and their immediate social environment? In this view, we develop a qualitative inquiry based on in-depth interviews with respondents from Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Our main research objective is to examine the attitudes encountered by members of transnational families in society, their relations with the representatives of the authorities, as well as in their close social environment, community, and family. Specific research topics are explored, such as reasons for migration, trust in public authorities, local community, migrants’ community, trust in the host country’s state and society, the attitudes towards the most important key stakeholders involved in the migration process, as well as the support measures proposed by migrants and their families. The findings concerning the attitudes, level of trust, and proposals suggest the presence of a certain degree of stigmatization of parents from transnational families. Our study underlines the need for transnational transfer of good practices and real-life experiences, such as those of migrants, to not remain an empty imitation. This experience can only be transferred through dialogue, trust, and acceptance – which is not the case at the time of our research. Therefore, it is imperative to continue dialogue-based fieldwork with primary stakeholders, the families themselves, to deconstruct and prospectively avoid the structural construction of stigma.

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