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“‘For the sake of the family and future’: the linked lives of highly skilled Indian migrants”

Anu Kõu, Clara H. Mulder e Ajay Bailey

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, advance article, 2017

While in Western literature, migration is generally considered an individual or (nuclear) household phenomenon, Indian context adds the strong presence of parents and extended family to the constellation. This paper addresses how significant others shape the life course events and the migration trajectories of highly skilled Indian migrants to the Netherlands and UK. We employ a qualitative approach to the life course framework to highlight the linked lives that can alter the migration decisions. Our findings are drawn from 47 semi-structured biographic interviews. The results underscore how further migration decisions are often informed by the implications of the different life stages of the linked lives, the key elements being care-giving by and for the parents. Furthermore, we also illustrate how migration provides space for negotiating social norms and expectations: due to the geographical distance between migrants and their parents, the local (non-Indian) context plays a bigger role and thus the need for and timing of conformity with norms can be postponed. The understanding of family life in transnational settings will be enriched when individuals are embedded within the cultural background and linked lives are extended beyond the immediate nuclear family.

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