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CEAS ICEA Series: "Time and Migration: How Aging Taiwanese Immigrants Remake Intergenerational Intimacy"

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 5:15pm

Ken Chih-Yan Sun, Villanova University

Annenberg 110

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How do long-term migrants negotiate their needs as they grow older? How does transnational migration create a context of incorporation that shapes later-life transitions? Based on life history interviews with 58 older Taiwanese immigrants in the U.S. and 57 return migrants in Taiwan, together with two years of ethnographic observation in both societies, I examine the experiences of older migrants grappling with later-life choices, cultural expectations, and intergenerational responsibilities. Focusing on older migrants – all of whom have spent decades pursuing educations, establishing careers, and raising families in the U. S. – this talk will focus on the trajectories through which aging migrant populations navigate the time-migrant nexus as they reconstruct intergenerational intimacy. Aging immigrants, I argue, transform cultural ideals of aging and family in response to changes in their social worlds across life stages. I offer the concept reconfigured reciprocity to analyze the processes through which aging immigrants fashion cultural logics of intergenerational relations to sustain connections with their children and their children’s families. While a small portion of these older immigrants embraced ethnic traditions regarding elder care, most transformed reciprocal relationships with their immediate kin.Ken Chih-Yan Sun is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University.   His research interests include families, migration, life stage, inequalities, and globalization. He is the author of Time and Migration: How Long-term Taiwanese Migrants Negotiate Later Life (Cornell University Press, 2021).  He also published his works in Social Problems, Journal of Marriage and Family; Global Networks; Sociological Forum; Qualitative Sociology; Ethnic and Racial Studies; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; Symbolic Interaction; Identities; Journal of Family Issues; and Current Sociology. He is working with Peggy Levitt, Erica Dobbs, and Ruxandra Paul on a new book project, titled Transnational Social Protection: Transforming Social Welfare in a World on the Move.