Accepted Papers:

Does it matter where am I from? Opportunity structure of different categories of third culture kids  


Agnieszka Trąbka (Pontifical University of John Paul II)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper aims at analyzing the role of structure (country of origin, host countries, socio-economic background, schools attended) and agency in life trajectories of different categories of Third Culture Kids. It is based on narrative interviews with adult TCKs of different nationality.

Paper long abstract:

In most debates the category "Third Culture Kids" is treated as homogenous. Accepting the assumption that due to certain amount of similar experiences they all identify with the concept, I would like to focus in this paper on the different categories of TCKs. I believe that this perspective will shed a new light on the analytical use of the concept Third Culture Kids. Basing on 53 narrative biographical interviews with adult TCKs of different nationality (Polish, American, German, Chinese…) I would like to analyze the role of structure and agency in their biographies. By the influence of structure I mean macro- and microsocial factors such as the country of origin and host country, socio-economic background, policy of parent's employer, parents' educational strategy, schools attended etc. Due to these factors the experience of mobility may be different for TCKs coming from the United States, Central-Eastern Europe or India. Very often my interview partners in early adulthood noticed that these factors influenced their life trajectories and their opportunity structure. One of the most challenging parts of their biographical work (Schütze 2008) was therefore to gain or re-gain the sense of agency and control over their lives.

Panel P096
Child migrants or 'third culture kids'? Approaches to children and privileged mobility (ANTHROMOB)