Growing Up: Institutionalized to globetrotting

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High mobility interrupts the development of a shared history with others.

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A highly mobile childhood produces a collection of life experiences that are fragmented by the geographical and social displacement brought about by each move, which affects identity development. They use the concept to identify a set of characteristics that are often, though not always, shared by those who experience a high level of mobility during childhood such as root- lessness, restlessness, and unresolved grief due to loss of relationships.

By identifying a set of common characteristics, the concept of Third Culture Kids weaves together the fragmented experiences that occur with different sets of people in disparate places into one continuous life story. It narrates a sense of continuity for individuals in spite of the multiple moves that they or their friends make. The concept of Third Culture Kids narrates an imagined history among people who may not personally know each other Anderson Coherence Despite Cultural Hybridity The TCK concept also enables a sense of coherence for the fragmented identities of those who grow up in multiple cultural milieus by narrat- ing and thus normalizing cultural mixing.

Anne-Sophie Bolon, who I quoted at the beginning of this introduc- tion, is a case in point. The nation-state remains the dominant point of reference in constructing difference and imagining communities An- derson Languages and accents are not merely practical tools of communication for they signify membership to specific sociocultural groups Bourdieu and Thompson One of the most researched issues on Third Culture Kids is their experience of cultural marginalization upon repatriation to their coun- try of citizenship. Richard Downie found that American citi- zens raised overseas who repatriated for college had to set aside their transnational experience in order to fit in because mainstream Amer- ica would only validate or could only relate to one aspect of their iden- tity—the American part.

He was fluent in French, but not in English. Nathan said of that particular move: So we went back to the States. I could not read, write, speak English. So they were very confused. So they gave me an IQ test.


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I did extremely poorly on it, as you can imagine, because it was in English. They learn to pick up the cultural cues, languages, accents, and mannerisms of their surroundings so as to blend in with the dominant culture. By the time I met Nathan, he was fluent in English and sounded distinctly American. Yet, knowing how to play the game of acting out certain parts of their identity at different times in order to fit in does not necessarily mean that they like playing the game.

Some struggle to accept that their identity is multiple, fragmented, and negotiable Ang ; Hall They feel as though they are putting on different personas. They may also appear to those around them as inauthen- tic Pollock and Van Reken []. Nathan recounted, My parents, after one year, moved to Germany.

We moved to an inter- national school, where, for the first time in my life, I was actually with other international kids, TCKs. Everything else, I had been with French kids … and … not really understanding who I was as an American. Pretty negative experience when I went back to eighth grade in America. Understanding that … actually helped me. This helped settle some things in me. Was I retarded, was I less than intelligent? But all of a sudden being given an identity, and surrounded with kids who had a similar identity, even though all of them had a dif- ferent story, which is a part of the beauty of being a TCK is that our differences are actually the thing that unites us.

Email correspondence, 19 December Due to his mixed background, he felt that in some contexts he was too masculine and too black for those around him, while in other contexts he was not masculine or black enough.

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Identifying as a TCK provides a sense of co- herence amid fragmentation by normalizing experiences of repeated geographic, cultural, and social displacement and ambivalent feelings about belonging. It dissolves the seeming contradiction between coher- ence and fragmentation by reconstructing fragmentation as hybridity. As an insider construct, TCK narrates a form of hybridity that at once challenges the notion of singular, bounded identities as it enables a sense of coherence for otherwise fragmented experiences by situating them within the larger sociohistorical context of a globalizing world.

In contrast, TCKs feel they do not have to explain themselves in detail to be under- stood when speaking to fellow TCKs. Salamon did not self-identify as a TCK, he was the child of European migrants to the United States and had taught at the international school as an expa- triate teacher for over two decades. He was familiar with the transna- tional experiences of his students. Although TCKs come from diverse backgrounds, their shared ex- perience of mobility and cultural displacement offers a platform for mutual intelligibility to the extent that their differences become mo- mentarily suspended.

At the collective level, habitus facilitates a sense of mutual intelligibility through a shared set of dispositions.

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Furthermore, if habitus is internalized structures, then it follows that an individual and group of individuals can internalize a multiplicity of structures that affect them differently depending on the context. Introduction 17 The literature that utilizes the concept of Third Culture Kids and takes it for granted often mistakenly assumes that mutual intelligibil- ity signifies the inconsequentiality of differences.

Growing Up: Institutionalized to globetrotting

These examples and others assume that transnational social spaces are neutral and that transnational experiences by default produce internationally minded cosmopolitans see also Fail, Thompson, and Walker ; Ferstad ; Wurgaft In fact, mutual intelligibility is situational. While some research suggests that young people may not automatically transcend difference by virtue of their trans- national upbringing, these works are still few and far between Allan ; Konno ; Sparrow It narrates transnational belonging by acknowledging the sense of mutual intelligibility that arises out of a shared experience of transnational social spaces, which is characterized by mobility and some sense of hybridity.

The concept is the response of a group of people, with a set of shared experiences, to a world where mobility and the transnationality of economic, political, and social realms are increasingly becoming the norm for many. Benedict Anderson argued that nationalism had helped build an imagined community in Indonesia among an otherwise ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse set of people through a shared sense of history.

In this changing world, the TCK concept has gained traction because it offers a transna- tional narrative for imagining a community among a growing popula- tion with a transnational upbringing that is deeply affected by mobility. It tends to be applied prescriptively and is unable to adequately address the diversity and sociocultural inequality that exists among those who par- ticipate in transnational social spaces because it was never designed for such use. It was not designed to understand the political dynamics that occur among them as a social group.

In contrast, this book shifts the analysis from the individual to the group by using an anthropological approach that is self-reflexive and considers the sociohistorical context of this population. The TCK concept finds its historical origin in a time of postcolonial turbulence when nationalism was taking hold across the globe in the s and 60s. As Useem studied the adults, she noticed that her own children and those of other Americans growing up in India were practicing a culture that was unlike that of young people growing up in the United States for they had been influenced by their experience of growing up overseas.

Useem subsequently turned her attention to the children growing up in the educational school setting of the third culture Useem ; Useem and Downie However, categories derived from methodological nationalism are unsustainable in a field where identities are a messy business—complex, shifting, and overlapping Hall More recently, Gene H.


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Bell-Villada and Nina Sichel traced the genealogy of the Third Culture Kid experience back to the colo- nial era, when European imperial powers sent their people overseas to serve in colonial outposts. In their introduction to a collection of mem- oirs, essays, and research, Bell-Villada and Sichel ibid. The conflicting emotions described in the TCK literature are not unique to children of white colonial expatriates or mobile profession- als.

Scholars have written extensively on the impact of cultural dis- placement and hybridity on the formerly colonized, many of whom were equally mobile whether by choice or otherwise. In fact, the expe- riences of TCKs of non-Western background reveal a historical conti- nuity with westernized local elites of former colonies and children of migrants in settler countries and former colonial metropolitan centers, but their stories have remained invisible in the TCK literature. Anthropological studies that have applied a postcolonial analysis to people who live transnationally as adults show that colonial discourses continue to influence the ways in which Western expatriates perceive and interact with host-country nationals Fechter ; Leggett The literature on expatriate and local children in the context of transnational spaces is similar.

Much of this educational and psycho- logical literature uses Third Culture Kids as an analytical concept and fails to take the sociohistorical context and sociocultural inequalities within the third culture community into consideration, as previously discussed. There is also an emerging body of anthropological work in this field. Others fo- cus on local children attending international schools Peterson ; Imoto These studies tend to acknowledge the TCK concept only in passing, as though they were at a loss as to what to make of a con- cept that is highly popular but analytically flawed.

However, none fo- cus on the social dynamics that occur among the various seemingly disparate groups—children of Western expatriates, other expatriates, and locals—in politically imbued transnational social or educational spaces. Most studies follow the lives of members of one or two partic- ular nationality groups. Others analyze either expatriate children or local children, but not both because they are treated as belonging to two distinct categories. In summary, the Anglophone literature on participants of transna- tional spaces has been unable to integrate the perspectives and expe- riences of its diverse population under one analytical lens for three reasons.

First, it uses the nation-state as its analytical starting point and assumes the mutual exclusivity of the national and transnational, leading to the use of binary frameworks.

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Second, it uses a Eurocentric perspective that fails to take the sociohistorical context into consider- ation. Third, the scope of research has been limited by methodologies that overlook the social processes involved in becoming international. Meanwhile, Mary Hayden notes that the growing popular- ity of international education and the internationalization of national education means that national and international education are merg- ing.

Children of the local elite, particularly in former colonies, are also attending international schools and national educational spaces are becoming more diverse and transnational Rizvi This book treats the national and transnational as mutually constitutive in order to analytically integrate the perspectives and ex- periences of Westerners, locals, and other non-Westerners who inhabit transnational spaces Smith ; Delanty I define transna- tional spaces as social spaces wherein multiple national and transna- tional discourses converge.

The national and transnational economic and cultural hierarchies intersect in the transnational spaces of inter- national schools to affect the perceptions and experiences of young people. This represents an analytical shift from methodological nationalism to methodological cosmopolitanism in the study of a diverse group of people Beck and Sznaider This shift enables us to bring a diverse group of trans- national youth into one analytical space.

For Africans, they were similar to the native Bambara groundnut that could only be consumed boiled. So, boiling peanuts became a usual way to eat them. They were also added to stews, or pounded to thicken cooking juices of pot dishes. The peanut was satisfying and tasty, so naturally it became a West African favorite, of course spreading to East Africa.

Eventually via Africa, the peanut landed in North America, of course to the southern states where farming dependent on slave labor was flourishing.

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In the southern states, just as in Africa, boiling peanuts became a traditional habit during harvest time. Later in hard times, it was also a sustenance food. The folk song Goober Peas was popular with Confederate soldiers of the southern United States during the American Civil War, an obvious sign it had been the sole pleasurable food they had. The globetrotting journey of the peanut was not limited to the traffic between Africa and America. The Portuguese introduced it to Asian countries, where it was much welcomed. It became an important oil source in India, is much favored in Malaysian and Indonesian cooking and in China, apart from being used in stir-fry, it is deep fried as a much-loved snack.

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Since one cannot stop nibbling on peanuts like a monkey, it is sometimes also called a monkey nut. Now, peanuts range from small tiny pea-sized ones to quite big lima-bean sized ones. The definite time when it was first cultivated in Turkey is unclear. As the plant favors hot climatic conditions, its cultivation had to be in warmer regions. The first cultivation attempts on a large scale began with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in the s.

When tracing the history of peanuts in Turkey, I have noticed the strange habit of boiling peanuts in some villages close to the provinces of Antalya and Mersin, major agricultural regions in coastal Mediterranean Turkey. This practice is never seen in other parts of Turkey; peanuts are always enjoyed roasted as snacks. Suspecting an African connection, I looked at the demographic changes in the villages, only to discover the origins of peanut-boiling communities do have an African connection. There has never been large scale extensive farming in the Ottoman period, but in the later periods, larger farms in Mersin, Antalya, and the Dalaman region are known for using African work forces, easily reaching the Mediterranean coasts of Anatolia from North Africa with trade ships coming from the port of Alexandria.

It was not institutionalized slavery, but communities of Black Africans lived in those regions working on farms, and of course remained there, becoming Turkish citizens when Turkey was declared a republic. Today, the Osmaniye province, tucked between the Mediterranean and southeastern Turkey, claims to be the peanut capital of Turkey, having also received a geographical appellation of origin for their now localized peanut.

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