Transnational Families: Gender and Education
Funded by CAPES (Brazil) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 1.1.2019–31.12.2020
Migration flows between Brazil and Europe are characterized by a diversity of social conditions. Poverty and social inequality in Brazilian society are important reasons for emigration, but labour migration of qualified employees is also prevalent.
In Germany, Brazilian immigration is predominantly female, involving very diverse settings. Women leave their families behind to take on domestic work and care work for children or the elderly, e.g. as an Au pair. Marriage and family reunification as well as the influence and support of extended transnational social networks are further drivers for migration of females from very different social backgrounds, also among privileged groups. Our findings indicate that education may influence these migration flows in multiple ways. For families, the high costs of a quality education in Brazil are a reason to stay in, and even to migrate to, Germany. Au pairing and care work are targeted as a way to enter the country, to learn the language and to look for further educational opportunities. This is a gendered strategy, since au pairing, care work and domestic work are still viewed as a female domain.
Research of our cooperation partner in Brazil focuses on the importance of gendered social networks among Brazilian migrants. Transnational social networks enable and facilitate new migration and function as providers of social capital.
In our study "Transnational educational careers" we found that educational aspirations do influence migration decisions of families and young people of underprivileged conditions well below the middle classes. This study now will shed light on the knowledge, ideas and descriptions that stimulate such educational aspirations in transnational social networks. A further focus will be on their prevalence and realization strategies. Most generally, the study will provide insights about the contribution of underprivileged migrants (who until now were often studied only as “labour migrants”) to the transnationalisation of education.
The overall objective of this project is to determine families’ educational strategies in transnational social spaces between Brazil and Germany with a focus on gender differences. Our guiding assumptions are:
- Educational strategies not only enhance student mobility in the transnational education market, but also influence migration decisions in underprivileged families.
- Educational strategies rely on gender-specific transnational social and family networks.
Both assumptions are based on ethnographic studies that provide insights into the significance of education for transnational families (German working group) and into the quality and influence of gendered networks among transnational migrants (Brazilian working group). These studies raise questions for investigation in larger scales and in various social contexts.
The present study will conduct a joint survey in order to establish the prevalence of educational orientations and strategies in transnational families between Brazil and Germany. At the same time, it will investigate how these educational aspirations arise in transnational spaces.
Since much of the communication in transnational networks occurs via internet-based media, we follow a digital ethnography approach in order to identify and understand the concepts, ideas and strategies about education that are being shared through digital networks and influencing migration decisions.
Project team (Germany) - Universität Hamburg:
Project team (Brazil) - Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC):
- Prof. Dr. Glaucia de Oliveira Assis
- Prof. Dr. Francisco Canella
- Prof. Dr. Silvia Arend
- Prof. Dr. Sueli Siqueira (Universidade Vale do Rio Doce)
- Dr. Magali Alloatti
1.1.2019 - 31.12.2020
DAAD within the program PPP (Programm des Projektbezogenen Personenaustauschs) and CAPES