Exploring Transnational Families among Ecuadorian Migrant Workers in Spain: The Case of Cleaners in Madrid.
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This research on Ecuadorian migrants working in cleaning in Madrid, aims to explore their transnational ties from a gendered perspective. It focuses specifically on the nature of transnational family relationships especially in relation to parenting. The conceptual framework draws from several fields of research including gender and transnational migration, transnational families, masculinities and migration, as well as studies on the low-paid labour market. Theoretically, the thesis argues that a gendered and transnational approach benefits from recent conceptualisations which highlight how gender is both relational and a key constitutive element of migration, but that more research is required on the role of men in the creation and sustainability of transnational families. In bringing together research on transnational families as well as that on migrant workers, this study contributes to the emerging field of gender and transnational migration by analytically disaggregating along the following lines and distinguishing between: productive and reproductive work; domestic and contract cleaning work; and transnational and reunited families. Drawing on a questionnaire survey with 100 respondents and a total of 75 in-depth interviews, among which 33 were conducted with Ecuadorian migrants employed in domestic and contract cleaning in Spain, and 11 with families in Ecuador, the empirical and conceptual contributions suggest that migrant workers experience gains and losses in relation to challenging gender ideologies that is directly tied to the ways in which they construct their familial relationships. On the one hand, migrant workers challenge pre-existing gender norms through migration and by creating alternative family forms, yet on the other hand, they reinforce traditional gender stereotypes through the desire to recreate conventional families through reunification. Overall, this research uncovered the complexities of transnational families and shows that the nature of family life after reunification is as important as the transnationality of families.
AuthorsDávalos, Cristen Lorena
- Theses