ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 9 Issue 1 - August 1, 2015

The temporality of separation and togetherness: Ukrainian children write about life in transnational families

Alexander Tymczuk

In the last two decades, many Ukrainian parents have left their families temporarily in order to find work abroad. Children left behind in Ukraine are at the centre of this migration process: the rationalization for leaving children behind is as a rule to secure their present and future life in material terms. In this article, I analyse how children conceptualise the separation between migrating parents and their left behind children, giving special attention to the temporal dimensions of separation and togetherness. I argue that children do not necessarily share migrant parentsí use of future betterment for their children as a legitimate motivation for migration, and that children view their own agency in the migration process as limited. The data material I analyse in this article consists of 143 literary texts written by Ukrainian schoolchildren, and was collected through a national literary contest, that I initiated in 2008.