Consuming Childhood: "Lost" and "Ideal" Childhoods As a Activation for Migration (Social THOUGHT & COMMENTARY‪)‬

Anthropological Quarterly 2008, Fall, 81, 4

    • 14,99 lei
    • 14,99 lei

Publisher Description

In the introduction to her well-known edited volume, Children and the Politics of Culture, published in 1995, Sharon Stephens argued that fears of a "crisis" in childhood emerged in the 1970s and 1980s with a new, and more penetrating, phase of global capitalism. Media images suddenly brought affluent Westerners--who subscribed to an ideal of childhood as a protected safe space--face-to-face with the conflicting realities of childhood in many developing nations (Stephens 1995: 8). The symbol of the endangered child embodied modern fears of economic exchange encroaching upon ever-more intimate, and previously uncommodified, spheres. Childhood, imagined as a universally idyllic and sheltered stage of development, had fallen victim to the merciless quest for profit. More than a decade later, Stephens' cultural analysis seems unusually prescient. With ever-increasing global movements of people and capital, this discourse of "lost childhoods" has only intensified. In the industrialized West, pundits and the media lament the fates of children in other countries--motherless babes, toddlers sold into indentured servitude, and children trafficked as sex slaves (see Fass 2007). Normative Western discourses of the family have long portrayed the fate of women and children as inseparably interlinked (Malkki and Martin 2005: 220). It should not be surprising, then, that the discourse of "lost childhood" travels in tandem with the feminization of migration, as women--many of them mothers--are increasingly migrating in larger numbers. The phenomenon of "diverted mothering" has led to what Rhacel Parrenas (2005) calls a "crisis of care" in the western industrialized core, and now in the peripheral countries from which their nannies immigrate (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2001; Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila 2001; Parrenas 2001, 2005). Powerful moral discourses saturated with normative ideas about gender and generation bewail the breakup of the nuclear family in labor-exporting regimes such as that of the Philippines (see Parrenas 2005). At the same time, there is no denying that the idyllic notions of motherhood and childhood that shape these laments are historically and culturally contingent. They are predicated upon bourgeois, and largely Western, norms that are increasingly globalized (Stephens 1995).

GENRE
Non-Fiction
RELEASED
2008
22 September
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
29
Pages
PUBLISHER
Institute for Ethnographic Research
SIZE
230.6
KB

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