Family divided: the class formation of Honduran transnational families

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Abstract

Although there is a growing literature on transnational families, we know little about the class formation of such families and even less about how transnational migration and generation interact in this process. In this article I draw from ethnographic research with Honduran immigrant parents in the USA and transnational youths in Honduras to theorize the class formation of transnational families. Based on Bryceson and Vuorela's concepts of frontiering and relativizing, I show how economic remittances bolster the expectations and improve the lifestyles of transnational youths to the detriment of their parents' welfare in the USA. That parents often relativize their communication, choosing not to tell children about their struggles, can contribute to increased inequalities within families. Finally, my data suggest that it will be difficult for transnational youths to meet their newfound expectations and maintain their lifestyles without a permanent flow of remittances and thus the ongoing separation of family.

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