Prof Valentina Mazzucato guest editor special issue Social Science & Medicine

Prof Valentina Mazzucato was the guest editor of a special issue section of the international journal Social Science & Medicine published in May 2015. The section focuses on ‘Transnational families and the well-being of children and caregivers who stay in origin countries‘.

Short summary:

Transnational families where one or more members live in different nation-states, are a current and widespread phenomenon around the globe. In some cases, such arrangements are the result of stringent migration policies in migrant receiving countries, which make it difficult for families to migrate together. In others, they are the preferred choice of family members especially in societies where extended family members continue to play an important role in caring for family members. With a growing awareness of the existence of such families in both academic and policy arenas, there is an emerging concern of the effects of separation on children’s well-being in terms of physical and psychological health outcomes. Migration involves over 3 percent of the world’s population (United Nations, 2013). Furthermore, children who stay at origin while their parent migrates can be extremely high in countries in the developing world, reaching as high as 25% of the under 18 years old population (UNICEF, 2006). It is therefore important to consider how migration affects those who stay behind in discussions of the effects of migration on development in origin countries, which have tended to focus on economic gains and on households as a whole, rather than effects on individual family members (Mazzucato & Schans, 2011; Ratha, 2011).

This special issue focuses on one form of transnational families: that in which one or both parents migrate internally or internationally and leave one or more children aged 18 or below in the origin country in the care of a caregiver who is either the other parent, a member of the extended family, or, in some instances, a non-kin relation. The papers focus on the psychological well-being and health outcomes of the members of transnational families who remain in the origin country: children and their caregivers. The papers have been selected from among those presented at an international conference, held in Maastricht on March 27-29, 2013, and co-financed by the Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO), the New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation Agency in Europe (NORFACE), and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) at the closing of the Transnational Child Raising Arrangements programs (TCRA and TCRAf-Eu). The objective of the conference was to bring young and senior scholars on transnational family research from different disciplinary traditions together to present state-of-the-art research and reflect on what can be gained by bringing different approaches together (http://fasos-research.nl/tcra/tcraf-eu/conference/).

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