The Emotional Cost of Migration: An Examination of Video Information Content between Families in North Carolina and Guanajuato

Sergio Chavez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper draws on video communication between migrants in North Carolina and their family members in Guanajuato, Mexico shot during the summer of 2008. The paper has a two-fold purpose. First, I outline the main themes that emerged from the family videos. Second, I then focus on how migrants and their family members make sense of the emotional costs of family separation. The findings suggest that the costs associated with the decision to migrate, while embedded in the household or family, are highly contested. Moreover, I argue that the costs of migrating are an ongoing contestation process among migrants in the U.S. and family members abandoned in Mexico.

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Presented in Session 135: Determinants of Migration and Immigration