Materiality, Mobility and Strategies of Nurturing Long- Distance Family Relationships: A Study of Migrant Women’s Practices Around Sending Packages Home
This thesis draws on migrants’ practices around sending packages home to explore their practical experience with navigating distance and what it actually takes to maintain close familial relationships across space. The study employs a Grounded theory methodology to analyse ten semi-structured interviews with Ukrainian female migrants in Sweden. By using Grounded theory this thesis combines theoretical concepts of positionality and access to spatial mobility and intersectionality. The migrants’ access to spatial mobility is discussed in relation to social divisions of gender and family role, the migrant and their families’ economic situation, and the intersection of these categories under the conditions of migration. The findings demonstrate that nurturing long-distance relationships is, in fact, a strategic undertaking. The migrants employ the following five strategies: balancing economic costs versus social benefits, managing time, securing delivery, navigating border control, and ‘conveniencing’ delivery – which stem from the variations in their access (economic, temporal, organisational and physical) to spatial mobility. The migrants sending experiences and how they deal with mobility barriers are seemingly informed by how close the migrant is with her kin and how she views her role in the family. We see how the participants’ sending was largely motivated by a feeling of duty and consideration towards their aging parents. The migrants’ sending was also framed by the financial means available to them and economic needs of their family. Those migrants whose packages were intended to provide daily essentials had to work harder to overcome mobility barriers in order to deliver their care in full scale and at the time it was needed.