First-generation circular migrants involved in the upbringing of their grandchildren: the case of Turkish immigrants in Germany

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Following retirement, older immigrants increasingly tend to engage in circular migration. This back-and-forth movement introduces a variety of challenges affecting the nature of grandparenthood as well as grandparental involvement in the upbringing of grandchildren. For circular migrant grandparents, maintaining intergenerational relationships requires them to overcome not only geographic distances, but also linguistic and cultural differences. In families with circular migrant grandparents, intergenerational conflict often springs from disparate generational exposure to acculturation processes, producing divergent aspirations within the first and second generations regarding the upbringing of the third generation. This study explores how first-generation Turkish circular migrant grandparents attempt to raise grandchildren who reside in Germany by implementing ‘cultural and instrumental transfers’. This study undertakes a qualitative approach: semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of first-generation Turkish circular migrant grandparents (N = 40). The analysis finds that child-care assistance is characterised by intergenerational conflict – rather than solidarity or altruistic support – between the first and second generations. Moreover, through transnational arranged marriages, as a cultural transfer, and inter vivos gifts, as an instrumental transfer, grandparents encourage their grandchildren to return to Turkey permanently.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAgeing & Society
StatePublished - Jul 18 2019


  • child care
  • circular migration
  • Germany
  • grandparenting
  • intergenerational conflict
  • Turkey


  • Psychology
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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