Representations of transnational childhoods and childhoods abroad in Lithuanian media discourse
More details
Hide details
Institute of Sociology and Social Work, Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Lithuania
Submission date: 2023-06-02
Final revision date: 2023-09-30
Acceptance date: 2023-10-05
Online publication date: 2023-11-16
Publication date: 2023-11-16
Corresponding author
Irma Budginaite-Mackine   

Institute of Sociology and Social Work, Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Universiteto str. 9, 01513, Vilnius, Lithuania
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2023;62(3):1-23
The Lithuanian population has been highly mobile since joining the EU. Consequently life across borders has become a common experience for many children and young people from/in Lithuania. This article first examines the extent to which Lithuanian media (2006-2021) captures the experiences of Lithuanian children living abroad and of those who remain in Lithuania when their parents emigrate. It then focuses on a subsample of news items which portray mobile and transnational childhoods as “vulnerable” and in need of protection, building on the concepts of “family troubles” and “troubling families” (Ribbens McCarthy et al., 2013). The findings reveal that the constructions of childhoods in the migration context are grounded in two powerful imaginaries – one linked with migration and the other tied to the notion of family. The increasing diversity of family forms challenges the strong imaginary of the national-bound single household family unit as the norm and reveals the media’s power in defining “good families” and “appropriate” childhoods.
It would like to thank the editors of this special issue, participants of panel on mobile and migrant childhoods organized by Charlotte Melander, Oksana Shmulyar Gréen and Kerstin von Brömssen in 2022 at Nordic Migration Conference, colleague Anna Wojtynska and anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on the earlier versions of this paper that helped me to significantly improve the manuscript. In addition, I would like to thank Irena Juozeliūnienė (Vilnius University) for continuous collaboration, as idea for this article emerged from our earlier research on transnational mothering and transnational families.
This publication was prepared while implementing the postdoctoral research project no. 09.3.3‐LMT‐K‐712‐23‐0155, which has received funding from the European Social Fund under a grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT)
Adams, L., & Kirova, A. (2006). Global migration and education: Schools, children, and families. Routledge.
Amrith, M. (2021). The linear imagination, stalled: Changing temporal horizons in migrant journeys. Global Networks, 21(1), 127–145.
Anderson, B. (2012). Where’s the harm in that? Immigration enforcement, trafficking, and the protection of migrants’ rights. American Behavioral Scientist, 56(9), 1241–1257.
Archard, D., & Skivenes, M. (2009). Balancing a child’s best interests and a child’s views. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 17(1), 1–21.
Balabanova, E., & Balch, A. (2010). Sending and receiving: The ethical framing of intra-EU migration in the European press. European Journal of Communication, 25(4), 382–397.
Batuchina, A. (2014). Children’s perspective on parental involvement in the emigration country. Education in a changing society, 1, 167–173.
Bird, W. (2013). Absent voices – children in the media: young and mediated. Rhodes Journalism Review, (33), 27–30.
Brüggemann, M., & D’Angelo, P. (2018). Defragmenting news framing research: Reconciling generic and issue-specific frames. In Doing news framing analysis II. Routledge.
Casalini, B. (2016). Politics, justice and the vulnerable subject: The contribution of feminist thought. Gênero & Direito, 5(3), 15–29.
Daukšas, D. (2020). Baimės atmosfera ir (ne)saugūs namai: (I)migrantų iš Lietuvos Norvegijoje atvejis. Lietuvos etnologija: socialinės antropologijos ir etnologijos studijos, 127–147.
Duque-Paramo, M. C. (2013). Colombian families dealing with parents’ international migration. In Ribbens McCarthy, J., Hooper, C.-A. and Gillies, V. (eds). Family troubles? Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people. The Policy Press, 209–222.
Eberl, J.-M., Meltzer, C. E., Heidenreich, T., Herrero, B., Theorin, N., Lind, F., Berganza, R., Boomgaarden, H. G., Schemer, C., & Strömbäck, J. (2018). The European media discourse on immigration and its effects: A literature review. Annals of the International Communication Association, 42(3), 207–223.
Ennis, L. R. (2014). Intensive mothering: The cultural contradictions of modern motherhood. Demeter Press.
Gu, X. (2022). ‘Save the children!’: Governing left-behind children through family in China’s great migration. Current Sociology, 70(4), 513–538.
Hollekim, R., Anderssen, N., & Daniel, M. (2016). Contemporary discourses on children and parenting in Norway: Norwegian Child Welfare Services meets immigrant families. Children and Youth Services Review, 60, 52–60.
Lind, J. (2019). Governing vulnerabilised migrant childhoods through children’s rights. Childhood, 26(3), 337–351.
Loftsdóttir, K. (2017). Being “the damned foreigner”: Affective national sentiments and racialisation of Lithuanians in Iceland. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 7, 117–139.
Lubbers, M., Scheepers, P., & Wester, F. (1998). Ethnic minorities in Dutch newspapers 1990-5: Patterns of criminalisation and problematisation. Gazette (Leiden, Netherlands), 60(5), 415–431.
Morgan, D. H. J. (2019). Family troubles, troubling families, and family practices. Journal of Family Issues, 40(16), 2225–2238.
Mulhall, A. (2016). Queer in Ireland: ‘Deviant’ filiation and the (un) holy family. In Queer in Europe (pp. 99-112). Routledge.
Orellana, M. F., Thorne, B., Chee, A., & Lam, W. S. E. (2001). Transnational childhoods: The participation of children in processes of family migration. Social Problems, 48(4), 572–591.
Poole, E., & Richardson, J. E. (2010). Muslims and the news media. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Popović, S., & Kampić, K. (2017). Media coverage of children in care and „out-of-home” care: Content analysis of Croatian daily newspapers. Medijska istraživanja: znanstveno-stručni časopis za novinarstvo i medije, 23(1), 127–148.
Phoenix, A. (2019). Situating children’s family troubles: Poverty and serial migration. Journal of Family Issues, 40(16), 2310–2329.
Radziwinowiczówna, A., & Galasińska, A. (2021). ‘The vile Eastern European’: Ideology of deportability in the Brexit media discourse. Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 10(1), 75–93.
Ribbens McCarthy, J., & Edwards, R. (2011). Key concepts in family studies. Sage Publications.
Ribbens McCarthy, J., Edwards, R., & Gillies, V. (2000). Moral tales of the child and the adult: Narratives of contemporary family lives under changing circumstances. Sociology, 34(4), 785–803.
Ribbens McCarthy, J., & Gillies, V. (2018). Troubling children’s families: Who is troubled and why? Approaches to inter-cultural dialogue. Sociological Research Online, 23(1), 219–244.
Ribbens McCarthy, J., Gillies, V., & Hooper, C.-A. (2013). Family troubles? Policy Press.
Ribbens McCarthy, J., Gillies, V., & Hooper, C.-A. (2019). “Family Troubles” and “Troubling Families”: opening up fertile ground. Journal of Family Issues, 40(16), 2207–2224.
Rupšienė, L., & Rožnova, A. (2011). Lietuvos darbo migrantų galimybės apmokėti mokyklinio amžiaus vaikų mokymosi ir neformaliojo ugdymosi užsienyje išlaidas: kaitos aspektas. Tiltai, (3), 367–378.
Šutinienė, I. (2009). Lietuvių imigrantų požiūriai į lituanistinį vaikų ugdymą. Filosofija. sociologija, 20(4), 310–317.
Šilėnienė, B., & Koblova, V. (2017). Lietuvių imigrantų vaikų integracijos problemos Norvegijoje. Švietimas: politika, vadyba, kokybė, 9, 114–131.
Ślusarczyk, M., & Pustulka, P. (2016). Norwegian schooling in the eyes of Polish parents: From contestations to embracing the system. Central and Eastern European migration review, 5(1).
Sime, D., & Fox, R. (2015). Home abroad: Eastern European children’s family and peer relationships after migration. Childhood, 22(3), 377–393.
Shostak, N. (2006). In search of Cinderellas, in Naples and beyond: Popular culture responses to labor migration from Ukraine. Spaces of identity, 6(2), 185–205.
Tereškinas, A. (2011). Imigrantai Didžiosios Britanijos, Ispanijos ir Norvegijos spaudoje. In V. Čiubrinskas (Ed.), Lietuviškasis identitetas šiuolaikinės emigracijos kontekstuose (pp. 71–86).
Thomas, N., & O’Kane, C. (1998). When children’s wishes and feelings clash with their best interests. International journal of children’s rights, 6(2), 137–154.
Vassenden, A., & Vedøy, G. (2019). Recurrence, eruptions, and a transnational turn: Three decades of strained relations between migrants to Norway and the child welfare services. Child & family social work, 24(4), 582–591.
Walsh, J., Khoo, E., & Nygren, K. (2022). ‘Everyday bordering’ in England, Sweden and Bulgaria: Social work decision-making processes when working with migrant family members. Journal of international migration and integration, 23(1), 343–361.
Woodhead, M. (2015). Psychology and the cultural construction of children’s needs. In Constructing and reconstructing childhood (pp. 54–73). Routledge.
Wolf, D. L. (2002). There’s no place like “home”: Emotional transnationalism and the struggles of second-generation Filipinos. In Peggy Levitt & Mary C. Waters (Eds.), The changing face of home: The transnational lives of the second generation (pp. 255–294). Russell Sage Foundation New York.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top