(University of Leuven)
Paper Short Abstract:
An auto-ethnographic account of moving back to a host nation as a grown up. The paper scrutinizes the conflicting paths shaping 3rd culture identities and questions the need for a child to affiliate itself culturally with a nation state or region
Paper long abstract:
Being a self-proclaimed 3rd culture kid, the paper is an auto-ethnographic account of moving back to one of my childhood host countries as an adult. Reflections here include the imaginaries of ones' history and its' shaping of identity. By confronting the past, the concept of "truth" is put under scrutiny as imagination clashes with reality. The divergence between, as a child, observing a culture from behind the privileged bars of a gated community to immersing into it as an adult, questions the extent to which 3rd culture kids are influenced by their host culture vs the bubble of international schooling, country clubs and plane rides. Also highlighted here are the often conflicted emotions and strongly felt ties 3rd culture kids produce to (some) of their host nations. Despite the "shallowness" that is often there due to the aforementioned "bubble", many informants (including myself) view their ties to host nations as far more profound than ties to parents' homelands. The un-rootedness of (extreme) 3rd culture life (children of diplomats for instance) is often under scrutiny in parenting debates, yet these debates do not reflect that in shaping of identity and ones' culture one does not need the nation-state or nationalistic/regional affiliations. A third culture kid transitioning to a grown up cosmopolitan can chose his or her culture based on interests and affinities and the internet plays a powerful tool in the up-rooting of traditional cultural formations.
Child migrants or 'third culture kids'? Approaches to children and privileged mobility (ANTHROMOB)