Call for papers: Transnational families and care

A joint seminar of the University of Iceland and Swansea University (UK) organized by the project Mobilities & Transnational Iceland

Reykjavik, 4-5 October, 2018
Contemporary mobilities have shaped family lives, which often extend across national borders with emerging forms of family practices and care. Transnational families participate in various “circuits of care” in which close relatives or broader family networks receive or give care to other members of the family (Baldassar & Merla, 2014). Over the last few years, social scientists have explored transnational care from different angles, re-imagining practices and timespaces of care straddling different places. On the one hand, renewed interest in affective character of caring as a process helped to explore production of social spaces through engagement with bodies, relations and emotions of diverse others (Conradson, 2003). On the other hand, re-conceptualisations of care as performed and excessive of representational practices shifted attention to caring practices emerging in everyday routines and temporary encounters before rational thought (Popke, 2006; 2008). These approaches to care broadened its understanding beyond the dominant frameworks of moral conduct and challenged its simplistic interpretations grounded in care-full and care-less places (Parr and Philo, 2003). Recent interventions from feminist and social theory helped to re-theorise care as globalised responsibility to respond to different “others” (Barnett et al., 2011), create “com-passionate” transnational communities responsive to others’ vulnerability (Ruddick, 1990; Beasley and Bacchi, 2005).

This seminar seeks to bring together papers that address these and other conceptual and practical concerns, develop new critical understandings of transnational care. We therefore welcome the papers that open the boundaries of thinking about care and practical decision making and include but not limited to the following themes:

  • Contested constructions of vulnerability and care
  • Experiential aspects of providing care across borders
  • Complex spaces and times of care
  • Embodied and affective expressions of care in international context
  • Informal and practical knowledge in developing transnational supportive structures
  • Conflicting effects of reproducing careful/less stereotypes
  • Tensions, disruptions and ambiguities in professional caring practices in different contexts
  • Transformative potentialities of care
  • Alternative ways of being together with distant others
  • Social policies and family organization of care


We invite researchers and doctoral students interested in addressing contemporary family practices and experiences of care as well as welfare policies through the lens of mobility and transnationalism. The seminar is a part of the project Mobilities and Transnational Iceland co-ordinated by Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir professor of Anthropology, Kristín Loftsdóttir, professor of Anthropology and Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson, professor of Museum Studies all at the University of Iceland. The seminar is supported by the Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University (UK).

Keynote speakers:

Viorela Ducu, Associate Researcher at the Centre for Population Studies, Babes-Bolyai University, (Romania)
Sergei Shubin, Associate Professor of Human Geography, Swansea University (UK)

Organization of the seminar

The purpose of the seminar is to provide an opportunity for researchers and doctoral students to discuss their ongoing work, exchange knowledge as well as connect people studying transnational families and care from different theoretical perspectives. An additional goal would be to consider submissions for a special issue in an international journal. The seminar does not offer formal training, but participating doctoral students can receive certificate of attendance.

Eligibility and Application procedure

We invite researchers and doctoral students from different fields of social sciences (sociology, anthropology, human geography, social work, economics, business studies, political science and law), whose research interest is related to topics of transnational families and care.

In order to apply, please send a 200- 300 words proposal and a short bio to Anna Wojtyńska, by August 17, 2018. Selected participants will be notified by the end of August.


The seminar is free of charge. The organizers will provide meals and assist with finding accommodation for the participants from abroad. There might be available small grants to support those with limited funding possibilities.

The workshop is financed by Rannís, the Icelandic Research Fund through the “Mobilities and Transnational Iceland” Project of Excellence. More information about the project: It is also supported by the Centre for Migration Policy Research,

Please contact Anna Wojtyńska, if you have any questions.


Baldassar, L & Merla, L. (eds, 2014) Transnational Families, Migration and the Circulation of Care: understanding mobility and absence in family life. Routledge Transnationalism Series.

Barnett, C., Cloke, P., Clarke, N. and Malpass, A. (2011) Globalizing Responsibility: The Political Rationalities of Ethical Consumption. London, Wiley-Blackwell.

Beasley, C., Bacchi, C., 2005. The political limits of ‘Care’ in re-imagining interconnection/community and an ethical future. Australian Feminist Studies 20, 49-64.

Conradson, D., 2003. Spaces of care in the city: the place of a community drop-in centre. Social and Cultural Geography 4, 507-525.

Parr, H., Philo, C., 2003. Rural mental health and social geographies of caring. Social and Cultural Geography 4, 471-488.

Popke, J., 2006. Geography and ethics: everyday mediations through care and consumption. Progress in Human Geography 30, 504-512.

Popke, J., 2008. Geography and ethics: non-representational encounters, collective responsibility and economic difference. Progress in Human Geography 31, 509-518.

Ruddick, S., 1990. Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. Beacon Press, Boston.


Local committee:

Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir,

Stéphanie Barillé,

Anna Wojtyńska,

Here you can find call in pdf.