Social and Economic Support among Migrants and Families Left Behind in Transnational Contexts

Edson I. Urano and Lucia E. Yamamoto

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In this paper the authors attempt to understand the transformation of the relationships between Japanese-Brazilian migrants, returnees and families left behind in Brazil, by considering these changes from a transnational perspective. The following main issues are developed: first, the function of the families left behind and their role in creating favourable conditions for the readaptation of returnee migrants; second, the role of local communities and institutions in promoting returnee migrants’ readaptation to their homeland. The dynamics of migration involve families as a whole and replacement among the members who feed the migratory stream over time. This extensive migratory movement has created social imbalances and a vacuum in both sending and receiving countries. Old home-country institutions, national government and international financial organisations become interconnected as a consequence of the dislocation driven by migrants attracted by the peripheral labour market in the receiving country. The authors argue that the effect of this institutional framework needs to be examined by an analysis of the real forces and motivations that drive individuals to transnational migration between two very distant countries, giving an evolving character to the migrants and the population left behind. 

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article: 

Urano, Edson I., Yamaoto, Lucia E., Social and Economic Support among Migrants and Families Left Behind in Transnational Contexts.IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2008, vol.10, no.2, pp. 208-222, UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol10/issue2/art7

About the authors: 

Edson Ioshiaqui Urano, Ph.D. in economics, is a lecturer at Sophia University, Faculty of Foreign Studies, Department of Portuguese Language and Luso-Brazilian Studies (Tokyo, Japan). His work focuses on the sociology of work, industrial relations and international migration. He has been researching the migratory process of Latin Americans to Japan and the transnational dynamics of this phenomenon, as well as their subordination to the flexible labour market and production system and implications on their working lives. He has analysed community unionism in Japan, as an alternative way to organise peripheral workers, and the meaning of this movement in the context of global social movements. 

Lucia Emiko Yamamoto holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and is a research fellow at Tohoku University (Japan). Her research interests include transnational families, gender, and migrant parent and children’s education. She has conducted fieldwork on a regular basis in Japan and Brazil, with particular focus on Brazilian migrants.

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