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Love, family and friendship across borders

Love, friendship and family ties reach beyond borders. Through migration and mobility, people on the move build connections that spread across geographies and take a variety of forms. New relationships develop in receiving societies, weaving together migrant communities and binding locals and migrants. Children of migrant and mixed families grow up navigating two cultural universes, and often crafting their own. As these new ‘roots’ unfold, migration also shapes the ties with those in the place of origin and creates new forms of kinship solidarity and transnational care, from remittances to family group chats, reinventing the ways in which we ‘do family’. 

At the same time, borders and distance are also agents of separation. Border and deportation policies that tear families and loved ones apart have become common in many countries. In other cases, borders arise and harden between family members, who adapt to and resist the new barriers in their daily lives, and navigate reunion after walls fall. 

In this issue, we reflect on stories of connection and distance across borders, looking into the political and social dimensions of migration, family, love, and friendship. Some of our authors use academic lenses to shed light into the everyday lives of Syrian refugee mothers, or the implications of family reunification policies; others share with us a glimpse into their own family stories.

As this issue marks Routed Magazine's first anniversary, we want to thank all our writers once again for their generosity. Their voices are very much needed in today's world - and we couldn't ask for better fellow travellers along the route.

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For the love of family: The Filipino/a nurse diaspora

A foreigner at home

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Love in exile

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The trail of three brothers: A story of mobility and fixity from Liverpool Chinatown

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Love, a central catalyst for my international mobility

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Dostema: A conversation with my friend

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Finding ‘Home’ across borders: Upholding love, care and culture in my transnational family

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The human heart: The invisible baggage of migration

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The worldly wander of a Somali passport

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A relationship beyond borders: The emotional impact of Brexit

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Poesía del Exilio a Tres Voces - “Desnudas”

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1 family, 2 countries, 3 borders: Children and youth expressions of love in spaces of family separation

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Networking for motherhood: The experiences of young Syrian refugee mothers

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Compulsory strength: Maternal love in circumstances of exile and displacement

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A virtual red lollipop for my grandchild

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Life as a long-distance couple: arguments and arrangements between Mexico and the US


Family reunification within the European family

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Family reunification of unaccompanied minors: Realities of the European asylum system

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The border toll: Relationships at the Irish border in the age of Brexit

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Love beyond labels: Resettlement in Amish country

Previous issues:

Routed #7: Citizenship, nationality and belonging

In a world of increasing mobility and global connections, citizenship continues to be one of the most important political issues of our time. From classical theories to contemporary lived experiences, the boundaries between citizens and non-citizens have shifted, constituting new spaces, new politics, and new ways of understanding the fabric of society. In this issue, we look at the politics of becoming a citizen or staying a foreigner; and the ways of crafting and navigating the ties of belonging to a diaspora, a migrant community, and a receiving society. Read more here.



Routed #6: Seeing like a poet: Migration​ through the creative lens

In the messy world of migration politics, art has the power to stir debate, promote action and open our imaginations to new political possibilities. Borrowing its title from James Scott's seminal book, his monographic issue focuses on forms of art that allow us to see migration ‘like a poet’: revealing the emotions and tensions inherent to both the migrant condition and the ways in which migration is understood and acted upon.  Read more here.

Routed #5: Historical mobilities: Looking beyond the here and now of migration​

With the media dominated by popular narratives of migration crises, it is easy to focus on the here and now of migration and lose track of context, especially the historical one. This risks reinforcing the notion of the exceptionalism of the current situation and discourses that overestimate the impact and the scale of the issue; yet migration is far from being a new phenomenon. ​This issue looks beyond the current headlines to how migration and mobility have been present throughout history. Here, we put the migration stories of today into the context of the past, highlighting similarities and differences, bringing to light forgotten stories, and showing how our ‘today’ is influenced by the ‘todays’ of the past. Read more here.

Routed #4: Climate change and mobilities


Across the world human-induced climate change is transforming the planet’s environments and ecosystems and affecting migratory movements of people and animals. At the same time, migratory movements can transform local environments by putting pressure on finite resources and exacerbating the conditions for environmental damage. In this context, the phenomenon of ‘climate refugees’ has emerged prominently among other forms of mobility. Politics has also taken on transnational dimensions with social movements mobilising between continents calling on their respective governments to do more to reduce fossil-fuel dependency. Read more here.

Routed #3: Immobility of migration

While migration is often synonymous with movement, in reality, many people ‘on the move’ struggle to realise their aspirations and remain stuck. When movement is not an option, migration creates spaces of immobility filled with tensions, resignation, suffering, struggles and waiting. These include makeshift camps, processing centres, jails, workhouses and boats stuck in ports. In turn, people use their agency to reshape these and other immobile spaces that emerge in the process of migration. Read more here.

Routed #2: The new world politics of movement

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted in December 2018, became a milestone in the history of migration politics. It represents an effort to ‘regularise’ migration, which has been lauded by many members of the international community. At the same time, it has provoked an unprecedented level of far-right populist backlash, causing many states to withdraw from the agreement. Read more here.

Routed #1: Roots & Routes

In our first issue, we question existing perceptions of migration as a binary choice between roots and routesstaying and moving, belonging and leaving, being stuck and running free. Are we humans really faced with such a dilemma? How do politics, markets, and cultures create it and reshape it? What are its consequences over people's lives, and how do migrants think of themselves in the light of it? What alternative ideas are emerging? Read more here.