Children’s Mobility and Immobility in Transnational Family Networks

Led by Jørgen Carling

Jan 2006 – Dec 2009

This is a part project of a large inter-institutional research project entitled Informal Child Migration in Europe. The project is co-ordinated by the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. In addition, researchers from the Institute for Social Research (ISF) and Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies take part in the project.

The sub-project at PRIO will focus on the movement of children across borders and on their mobility and immobility in relation to their closest kin. The analysis of the material will be defined by two spatial dimensions: mobility into and within Europe. The research will be based on a case study of migration from Cape Verde to Italy and the Netherlands.

Cape Verde has experienced extensive labour migration and family reunification migration to Europe since the 1960s. There are currently 100–200,000 people of Cape Verdean origin living in Europe, with sizeable communities in six European countries. The persisting emigration pressure, the high level of intra-European mobility, and the tradition of various child fostering arrangements all make Cape Verdean migration a suitable case study for the research questions at hand. The project will elaborate on several theoretical themes and observations that have emerged from previous research on the dynamics of contemporary immigration to Europe. Patterns of child mobility and immobility have wider consequences for the development of diaspora communities and these communities’ relations with the country of origin. This is often neglected in debates about migrant generations and integration. For instance, many migrant groups in Europe have a large proportion of members who migrated as children and are neither ‘first generation’ nor ‘second generation’ in the typical sense of these categories.

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