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Abstract

Over the past two decades, interest in the transnational lifestyles of contemporary migrants has grown significantly. In this article, we focus not on transnational identities, processes or structures, but rather on the emergent literature on transnational families in the context of migration to the United States. Transnational family studies broadly fall into two thematic camps: 1) those that describe transnational households as cooperative units in the face of economic, political and legal constraint and 2) those that show how the conditions that lead family members to live apart exacerbate and create new sources of conflict within families. Whether highlighting family conflict or cooperation, contemporary transnational family studies differ theoretically from prior research on immigrant families. Instead of focusing on immigrant incorporation, this literature demonstrates how global structures of inequality at the macro-level affect the everyday lives of transnational family members, as well as how individual action reproduces or challenges these broader social inequalities.