Organized Panel Session
The past century has witnessed the rising trend of transnational families due to the rapid increase of cross-border migration of individuals striving for better employment, education and marriage opportunities. Due to restrictive immigration and citizenship policies, transnational families often need to go through a stage whereby members of the family possess different legal statuses and/or are geographically separated. However, transnational families in the existing literature have rarely been examined through the lens of mixed-statusness. While individuals with precarious legal status are situated in disadvantaged socio-economic positions, citizen members in a mixed-status family may also be affected by the effects of legal precarity spilled over from the non-citizen members. This might be especially true in the Asian context where the culture of collectivism and familism are predominant and family members are intimately interdependent. Using four case studies of East and Southeast Asian transnational families, this multidisciplinary panel seeks to advance the scholarship of transnational families by examining 1) how state policies have created a liminal space that legally detains migrants, prohibiting them from obtaining long-term residency, subsequently prolonging the state of mixed-statusness of transnational families, and 2) how transnational families have strategically reconfigured to respond to the state-imposed mixed-statusness, i.e. the politics of ‘doing family’. Together, the papers show how the lens of mixed-statusness is useful for unraveling the ways state power operates beyond the individual level to affect the family collectively as well as the interplay between state control, family agency and intergenerational and gender power dynamics in transnational families.