Tania Tonhati presents her paper 'Female migration and intergenerational relationships: The use of ICTs by Brazilian migrant women in the UK' in Parallel session I(B) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sept 2013
This presentation aims to reflect on how the use of ICTs has reshaped the experience of Brazilian pioneer women in the United Kingdom and their relationship with their parents in Brazil. The literature on Brazilian migration argues that the second wave, initiated in the mid-90s onwards, was the period when women began to leave the country in search for employment, study and career improvement (Assis 2007, Padilla 2007). This paper argues that in the case of the United Kingdom, the migration of Brazilian women had also begun in the 1980s. Thus, Brazilian women moving to the UK should not be seen as followers of male migrants. They were active in the construction of the network effect. Therefore, I present that Brazilian female migration should be seen as a wide phenomenon in which women no longer stay at home and men are no longer the main breadwinner. There is an increase in individualization and women are searching for "a life of their own" in which elements such as education and employment have strongly become part of women's biography (Beck-Gernsheim 2002). Beyond these general social trends, female migration has a consequence for traditional family practices such as care for elderly parents. Therefore, Brazilian pioneer women are now facing intergenerational expectation to care for their elderly parents. In this context, ICTs play a role in reconciling women's search for a "life of their own" and their intergenerational obligation. Throughout my fieldwork I have observed that the use of ICTs has allowed the continuation of family relationships and the creation of everyday family practices even at a distance. Nevertheless, they have also affected emotional feelings with regards to family relationships. Thus, the use of ICTs cannot be only analysed as minimising the effects of migration. Their use also creates ambiguous feelings in the migrant about their migration trajectory.