Redefining Family: Transnational Girls Narrate Experiences of Parental Migration, Detention, and Deportation

Rachel M. Hershberg, M. Brinton Lykes


This exploratory narrative inquiry examines the lives of four Central American females with one or more U.S.-based undocumented migrant parents. Each participant is between 10 and 16 years old and is part of a transnational family living between the U.S. and Central America. Their narratives provide a window into transnational girls' experiences at the intersections of gender, ethnicity, family role, and legal status. Specifically, through thematic narrative analysis we learn about each girl's position in her transnational family, her encounters with U.S. immigration and deportation systems, and her experiences with domestic abuse or male desertion. Based on findings, this study urges social scientists and educators to attend to girls' transnational family experiences, including how they contest and make meaning of their own or their relatives' migrations and returns and the gendering of familial and migration processes.



girls; family; migration; deportation; transnationalism; narrative inquiry

Full Text:


Copyright (c) 2012 Rachel M. Hershberg, M. Brinton Lykes

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.