family migration 1607

migrant families use different strategies which
involves partners joining or moving together,
and how these different strategies influence the
post migration labor market status of both
partners. Moreover, the above studies clearly
adhere to Halfacrees (2001) call for scholars to
be more reflexive when establishing taxonomic
classifications of family migrants.
Second, ideas from social theory are now
more fully embraced by scholars of family
migration. One fruitful development has been
a more critical perspective of the gendered
dimensions of family migration, linked to cri
tiques of the substantive relevance of human
capital hypotheses to explain tied migration. A
pioneering work here is Halfacrees (1995)
commentary of how and why female tied
migrants are, in part, reproduced through the
structuration of patriarchy. This structura
tionist reading of family migration explicitly
draws upon the writings of Anthony Giddens
and Sylvia Walby, and demonstrates how the
orizations of family migration can be usefully
informed by wider social theories. In a similar
vein, other recent studies have provided
insights of the ways in which diverse familial
arrangements and relations mediate family
migration. Important accounts include Cookes
(2001) investigation of the effects of the onset
of parenting and childrearing, and the presence
and different numbers of dependent chil
dren; Bailey et al.s (2004) assessment of how
childcare and the care of elderly family mem
bers allow and constrain family migration; and
Bonney et al.s (1999) examination of the impli
cations of marriage events and the rise of coha
bitation on family migration. All of these
studies incorporate a deeper level analysis of
the impacts of gendered power relations, and
gender role ideology and task allocation on
family migration decision making and behavior.
A third development, and linked to the
above, has been the implementation of post
positivist, inductive approaches within studies
of family migration. Recent theory building
endeavors have involved the use of in depth,
qualitative research methods and the gathering
of rich qualitative data to tease out the deci
sion making processes and behavior of family
migrants. In the British context, for example,
Hardill et al. (1997) and Green (1997) utilize
biographical methods to explore the complex
intra familial negotiations, compromises, and
tradeoffs which take place between male and
female partners within dual career couples.
These studies draw attention to the importance
of non economic and cultural concerns (e.g.,
locational and residential preferences) within
family migration decision making processes,
particularly quality of life aspirations, and stress
that family migration is not always motivated
by labor related issues. In doing so, recent qua
litative studies also reveal that family migration
is not a straightforward, neat event. Rather,
family migration is identified as a complex and
experiential process, which involves many com
promises, stresses, and anxieties for family
members. One particular benefit of such quali
tative research is that it is possible to more
accurately assess changes in the pre and post
migration status of family migrants, therefore
providing a precise understanding of the effects
of family migration when compared to quanti
tative studies using cross sectional data sets
(e.g., US and UK Censuses).
The above three interconnected develop
ments have undoubtedly enabled scholars to
capture the diversity of the processes and
effects of family migration. However, one gen
eral commonality between recent findings is
that family migration often has a negative
impact on womens labor market status. On
the whole, the female tied migrant thesis is
reaffirmed by recent studies; although it is
important to note that many of the interpreta
tions are based on short term measures (i.e.,
within one year of move) of post migration
labor market participation. Indeed, in a cross
national study of the effects of subnational
family migration on the labor market status of
female partners in the US and UK, Boyle et al.
(2002) reveal that the socioeconomic effects are
remarkably similar for women in both contexts,
despite major institutional and ideological dif
ferences. Likewise, studies in the Netherlands
and Sweden point to family migration having a
negative effect on womens labor market status.
It would appear, therefore, that despite rising
levels of female employment in Europe and
North America, family migration continues
to be detrimental to womens labor market
participation.

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