Transnational familyhood and the liquid life paths of South Americans in the UK

Rosa Mas Giralt, School of Geography, University of Leeds
Adrian J. Bailey, School of Geography, University of Leeds


In this article, we explore the nature of identity in the contemporary transnational family. To do this we extend lifecourse scholarship by considering Bauman's liquid modernity thesis and introducing the concept of a liquid life path. Original empirical examples drawn from our work among South American migrants and their families living in London and northern England illustrate diverse patterns of identification; everyday practices and social norms associated with maintaining split families, including parenting and remitting, coalesce around liquid life paths. We describe how these life paths turn on and reproduce a set of spatial and temporal imaginaries. We also reflect on the implications of these fluid imaginaries for our understanding of transnational familyhood. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd & Global Networks Partnership.