Shifting women: Mobilizing intimate kinship in a Punjabi diaspora domestic narrative
Based on extensive multi-site fieldwork with Punjabi immigrants in Italy, the article discusses the institute of transnational marriage and kin reunification among Indian diasporas, interlacing the drive for upward mobility, the normative frame of family migration and the affective economy in building affinity relations. A household case is considered: the lag between a mother’s and her daughter’s experience, an Indian pioneer migrant and a 2nd generation Italian, who differently resorted to kin networks and practices of intimacy in order to circumvent contingent burdens such as political persecution, economic uncertainty, law-enforced stuckedness. The dissonant genealogical narrative that this mother-daughter dyad share sheds light on gender and age intersections in transnational migrations, revealing how a migrant life-course is embedded in family and social upheavals that unfold across different historical challenges. The role of kinship and the alternative dependencies or opportunities it may yield are gauged against a frame of structural constraints and novel desires for making one’s living in a world increasingly hostile but not impermeable to mobility.
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