Editorial : When "expatriation" is a matter of family. Opportunities, barriers and intimacies in international mobility
2018, Cangia, Flavia, Zittoun, Tania
This special issue aims at understanding “expatriate” mobility with a special focus on the role of family and intimacy, and brings together different case-studies, built through different theoretical perspectives. These allow approaching “expatriate” mobile families along two main lines: as part of the making of life trajectories, and as these are shaped by, and are shaping, professional trajectories. This editorial highlights the contributions of the various articles, before addressing a series of emerging issues. Among these, it questions the very notion of “expatriate” in the light of family life, shows the evolution of families in repeated mobility, and brings to the fore the importance of temporality and timing in these family lives, as well as that of reflexivity in mobility. As a whole, the various contributions of this special issue complement each other in illustrating the complexities of expatriates’ migration and family life in times of increasing global mobility, but also, they raise theoretical discussions, point to possible empirical implications, and suggest avenues for further investigations.
Family, Boundaries and Transformation. The International Mobility of Professionals and Their Families
2018, Cangia, Flavia, Levitan, Déborah, Zittoun, Tania
Two dominant images of migrant professionals, also known as “expats”, have long been common, in the social sciences: on the one hand, they were described as super-mobile individuals, who easily move between places with no time frame in mind, with the openness to engage with diversity; on the other hand, more recent studies challenged the idea of “expat” cosmopolitanism, and investigated the boundaries constituted by these people in the course of their everyday life. The present paper brings to the fore the complexity of these individuals’ and their families’ experiences of international mobility from a combined socio-cultural psychological and sociological perspective. We draw on qualitative research conducted in Switzerland in order to reflect on the role of family in the way these people make sense of diversity across time and space, make and un-make symbolic boundaries between themselves and others, and understand their own and their familiars' transformation.