Accepted paper:

'Those children with rights!': parenting cultures, family expectations and the making of British-Ghanaian children

Authors:

Emma Abotsi (British Sociological Association/ The British Library)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the experiences of British-Ghanaian children who assert themselves as rights-bearing subjects within the transnational parenting practices of Ghanaians in the UK.

Paper long abstract:

Through examining the experiences of children, parents, care-takers and educational professionals involved in the transnational parenting practices of Ghanaians in London, UK, this ongoing ethnographic study aims to illustrate how children portray themselves as rights-claiming subjects. Access to childcare and the cultural development of their children pose major challenges for my participants which has led some of the parents to opt for sending their children to their relatives and/or boarding schools in Ghana for a few years at a time. While the parents feel this practice enables the children to internalise values from their parents' Ghanaian background such as respect, connections to their kin group and family obligations, I argue that the parents, care-takers and educational professionals involved in the practices have reconfigured the children's experience of being in Ghana to produce a distinctive and syncretic British-Ghanaian vision of childhood. The form of British-Ghanaian childhood developed by the adults is manifested through the juxtaposition of instilling Ghanaian values with practices such as preferential treatment, in which the children become (in a sense) more valuable than Ghanaians. The children are not passive in this process; rather, they simultaneously shape and draw on this sense of distinction which the adults have constructed around them as they seek to sustain their sense of different personhood during their stay in Ghana.

panel P012
Independent child migration in an interconnected world