Accepted Papers:

A culture of their own? Lifestyle migrant children in Goa, India  


Mari Korpela (Tampere University)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper illustrates that lifestyle migrant children in Goa, India, create a culture of their own. The paper argues that in order to develop the concept of TCKs, one should pay careful ethnographic attention to children's agency and everyday practices.

Paper long abstract:

Increasing numbers of "Western" families are involved in a lifestyle where they spend several months a year in Goa, India, and the rest of the time in the parents' native countries and possibly also in some other places. The lifestyle choice is motivated by a search for "a better quality of life" and a wish to embrace certain countercultural values. This paper focuses on the children's experiences. First of all, I argue that we should extend empirical studies on TCKs to include expatriate families that are not as clearly elite as those in diplomatic service or working in other well-paid professions. Secondly, I argue that the "Goa kids" are creating cultural practices of their own. Their parents allow them much agency in Goa and consequently, the children create a cultural and social space and practices that are distinct from those of the lifestyle migrant adults as well as from those of local Indians. I claim that in order to develop the concept of TCKs, it is important to pay ethnographic attention to children's agency and everyday practices. I also point out that we should question the assumption that the parents of TCKs feel an unproblematic belonging to their native cultures. Paying attention to the children's ethnic origins may not be a useful framework and one should take into account other cultural aspects that may be much more significant for the children and their parents. The paper is based on an extensive ethnographic study on "Goa kids".

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