The reconstruction of 'Parental Capital' in migration. A network approach
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (40 minutes)
Convention Center - 2104 B
In this paper, we are showing how the reconstruction of new ‘cultural capital’ is closely intertwined with the specific configurations of immigrant parent’s networks. Particular networked configurations create specific contact zones that impact upon the way parents are able to learn about parenting in the new country. Drawing upon a vision of learning as networked (Jones & Steeples, 2002; Ünlüsoy, et al., 2013; De Haan, e.a., 2014) we argue that these networks create particular challenges and opportunities for the formation of new knowledge and information about parenting. In total 25 in-depth ego network interviews were administered with a group of Moroccan mothers who are all active in migrant grass-root organizations but differed in educational level, professional affiliation and years of residence in the Netherlands. Discourse analyses were combined with a quantitative data analyses. While the quantitative network analyses focused on the structural and compositional characteristics of the networks, the discourse analyses focused in particular on their strategies of use. Questions for this analyses were: “When and how do mothers consult others with regard to parenting?” and “How can we compare and understand the different kinds of information exchange in the different clusters in their networks?” and “How do parents deal with and make use of the specific configuration of their networks in reconstructing their parental capital?”. In our definition of social network, we are drawing up Bourdieu’s notion of social capital who defines social capital as the “contacts and group memberships which, through the accumulation of exchanges, obligations and shared identities, provide actual or potential support and access to valued resources” (1993: 143). In addition to this, we assume, as Levitt & Glick Schiller (2004) have argued, that these networks of relationships, especially in the case of immigrants, are not confined to national boundaries, and can take multiple different forms depending on the networking practices of immigrants. Contrary to the commonly held notion that parents either live in closed ethnically based networks or have entered new social spaces while giving up the bonds with their traditional communities, the results show that parents are able to do both and apply diverse strategies to live in between and make use of multiple worlds for their learning. Being in touch with a more traditionally oriented community does not automatically imply that knowledge building practices concur with the values and practices of that community. While some experience the pressure of diversity as a burden, others make actively use of the diversity to select, reject and combine multiple influences. The study shows how parents as learners make differently use of the contradictions and tensions in their social environment for their learning and it reveals how particular networked communities facilitate these learning processes. From a practical and social policy perspective, the paper contributes to community-based perspectives of parenting against the backdrop of the rise of more clinical/therapeutic or behavioral approaches in this domain. It foregrounds the learning processes of immigrant parents as the mayor point of departure for any professionally lead program or training against approaches that start from particular curricula based on effective parenting.