Transnational families and the provision of moral and emotional support: The relationship between truth and distance

Loretta Virginia Baldassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)


This article is an ethnographic analysis of transnational family links between adult migrant children living in Australia and their kin in Italy, from the 1950s to the present. A key focus of the article is the persistence of bonds of emotion across distance. Drawing on Finch and Mason s research on caregiving relationships and Hochschild s work on emotional labour, it explores both the positive experiences as well as the tensions associated with the transnational exchange of moral and emotional support. The findings confirm the perseverance of bonds of emotion across distance and thus challenge arguments about the declining bonds within translocal families as a result of globalising processes. The role that new communication technologies play in sustaining these bonds is offered as a possible explanation to account for the apparent increase in the frequency of transnational emotional interaction over time. The article also calls for further work on the influence of physical co-presence or absence on emotional interaction over distance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385 - 409
Number of pages25
JournalIdentities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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