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Accepted Paper:

'Why are you not crying?': The case of funerals in Ghana for young people's transnational relationships  
Gladys Akom Ankobrey (Maastricht University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses young people's experience of attending funerals in Ghana as a case to show the importance of trips to Ghana in their transnational lives. The empirical data sheds light on the meanings young people attach to their relationships with family and (parents') country of origin.

Paper long abstract:

Most studies on transnationalism analyse young people's experiences in relation to their parents' migration. Partly as a result of this, young people appear as passive in the wake of their parents' movements. Hence, there is little known about young people's transnational experiences through their own mobility and the meanings they attach to these. Drawing on 18-months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in The Hague and Ghana, this paper explores the dynamic nature of young Dutch Ghanaians' transnational attachments. We show the importance of trips to Ghana in young people's transnational lives by using their experience of attending funerals in Ghana as a starting point. Funerals occupy a central role in Ghanaian society and thus offer key opportunities for young people to gain knowledge about cultural practices and their relationships with family members in Ghana. We shed light on the complex ways in which young people acquire transnational resources through their mobility trajectories. These entail cultural and familial connectedness, and the ability to compare experiences in multiple international contexts. Rather than simply reproducing transnational linkages and orientations, young people recreate these according to their own needs. The study findings highlight the need to analyse youth's mobility trajectories in their own right as this allows for better understanding of the impact of migration on their lives.

Panel P144
New horizons: second generation perspectives on experiences of migration