Resilient family meshwork. Thai–German migrations, translocal ties, and their impact on social resilience

Simon A. Peth / Patrick Sakdapolrak

In: Geoforum 114, 19-29


Social resilience becomes particularly apparent in difficult times. In many rural regions people face multiple insecurities ranging from environmental change to losses of income and social conflicts. In such situations people often see migration as a path towards a better life – but is migration always the best solution or is it creating new challenges and insecurities? In recent years the nexus between migration and social resilience has increasingly been discussed. While many publications have been looking at in-situ impacts either at the places of origin or the destinations of migration little has been said about the translocal dimension of social resilience. In this paper we will take a look at translocal family networks between rural Thailand and Germany. The aim is to better understand the role of migration and translocality for social resilience. Based on a 10-month multi-sited research process with a mixed-methods approach we found that families with stronger translocal ties are more likely to increase their social resilience. However, this research also shows that it is important to disaggregate social resilience and to raise the question: resilience of whom?