This panel broadens the analytical framework of 'child migration' to include those economically and socially privileged and critically considers the theoretical framework of 'third culture kids'. The papers present ethnographic studies and theoretical reflections on privileged child migrants.
The relationship between children and transnational mobility is often conceptualised in two rather disparate frameworks. The first focuses on comparatively disenfranchised or disadvantaged children -independent child migrants, those who move with their migrant families or children 'left behind'- and debates tend to focus on how their welfare, education or livelihoods are affected by mobility. At the same time, a rather different paradigm is invoked in relation to comparatively affluent and privileged children: the notion of 'third culture kids' (Pollock and van Reken 2001) is perhaps the most influential one in this respect. For anthropologists, however, this is a problematic term as it seems to assume static cultures. Moreover, despite a wealth of educational literature on this topic, studies are rarely underpinned by in-depth ethnographic research that extends beyond international schools to include family, peers, or host societies. The aim of this panel is to broaden the analytical framework of 'child migration' to include those economically and socially privileged and to critically consider the theoretical framework of 'third culture kids' and its applications. We also want to address, both analytically and empirically, the presumed privilege of expatriate children. We welcome ethnographic studies of privileged child migrants leading to theoretical reflections on these issues.