Abstract

The paper is aimed at the identification of the impact of transnational family context on the transformation of fatherhood roles in families of Ukrainian migrants with an accent on gender specificities of the dynamics of institution of fatherhood. It analyzes fatherhood functions of both migrant men and those left behind. A narrower objective is to trace the dynamics of masculinity of males from transnational families. An analytical instrument to study the transformation of the institution of fatherhood is the concept of “patriarchal dividends” and as a variety of it the concept of “fatherhood dividends” is being introduced. The paper draws from the findings of a multi-cited field research focused on the study of gendered implications of Ukrainian labour migration using a mixed-method approach, accompanied by the analysis of secondary theoretical sources and media overview. It covered in-depth interviews with 25 experts in migration and gender studies, social policy, etc., semi-formal interviews with 43 Ukrainian labor migrants, members of their families and extended migrants’ networks (neighbors, relatives, co-workers), participant and nonparticipant observation in this target group of research. The paper shows that transnational way of life may entail the process of “devaluation of masculinity” in families of Ukrainian migrant women. The paper identifies the model of transnational fatherhood practiced by migrant man as “ATM fatherhood”, and singles out the following three models of fatherhood, practiced by fathers left behind: Peter Pan model, househusband model, Father Theresa model.

Keywords: Ukrainian migrant men, fathers left behind, transnational families, institution of fatherhood, masculinity, patriarchal dividends, fatherhood dividends