Toward Traditional or Atypical Parenting: Mediated Communication in Chinese Transnational Families

Hong Chen


Drawing on a two-year ethnography of Chinese migrants (mainly undocumented and low-skilled workers) in Britain, this article uses the technofeminist approach to probe how migrants of different genders negotiate their parenthood via mediated communication with their left-behind families. Three patterns of distant parenting have been adopted by these migrants: extending traditional parenting, ambivalence toward mediated parenting, and escaping from gender expectations. This article highlights the gendered (dis)empowerment associated with media use when migrants parent from afar. It also pinpoints the underlying cause of such (dis)empowerment by delving into the specific socio-technical context where migrants of different genders are embedded. Notably, the transnational family structure, migration status and generation, and patriarchal ideology contribute to the shaping of mediated transnational parenting.


transnational family, transnational parenting, Chinese migration, gender, ICT

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