14 SES 08 A, Intergenerational Learning in Context
Research on intergenerational relationships has a particularly salient role in contemporary European family studies, as families are constituted by a multitude of cross-generational linkages. The family itself is perceived as the primary agent for transferring the values, behaviours and culture of one generation to future generations (Hanks et al., 2004). Previous research on intergenerational relationships concentrated on the evaluation of intergenerational programmes that include activities engaging older adults and children (Kaplan, 2001). However, there is little research on how intergenerational relations are being changed due to family migration. The geographical distance due to migration creates new circumstances that affect the perception of connectedness between family members and roles within it, especially when it comes to parenting and intergenerational learning (Orellana, 2001; Parrenas, 2005). Geographical proximity and frequency of contact have been identified as important factors influencing the feeling of closeness between family members (Creasey and Kaliher, 1994; Sanders and Trygstad, 1993). Family migration impacts on family roles and opportunities for learning about one’s culture and equally about the host culture, which is key to the process of integration. Previous research on migrant families shows that lack of understanding of the host culture, as well inability to speak or read the language, limit adults’ ability to support their family (Phua at al., 2008). Also, roles of ‘expert’ in a culture adopted traditionally by adults may be challenged by migration, where adults become often ‘novices’ in the new place, as children learn the language quicker and expand their social networks faster, especially through peer relationships and school.
This research is focusing on the intergenerational learning (between parents-children, children-parents, children-grandparents) about home and new host culture practices within the families of new Polish migrants living in urban Scotland. The project explores the processes of intergenerational learning in Polish migrants, the largest group of migrants arrived in Scotland since 2004, through which children as well parents learn to live in the new culture, while still preserving cultural links with their homeland. By analysing the ways in which each generation contributes to the learning of the other about the new culture, but also about the culture left behind, the project identifies the key characteristics of such learning exchanges. It also examines how initiatives in family learning need to adapt to support best an increasing segment of Europe’s population, that of transnational families. The study provides new knowledge more widely on how families learn together, especially when separated by distance, and what mediators they use in this respect. The research brings together perspectives from sociology, education and childhood studies to produce a unique perspective on intergenerational learning in the context of family migration. It uses theories of social and cultural capital (Baron et al., 2000; Helve et al., 2007) to examine how children’s social networks, old and new, are used in the processes of family learning and how adult-child interactions are shaped by the social milieu of their interactions (real or virtual).
Baron, S. et al. (2000) Social capital: Critical perspectives, Oxford University Press. Creasey, G.L., and Kaliher, G. (1994) Age-differences in grandchildren's perceptions of relations with grandparents, Journal of Adolescence , Vol. 17, pp. 411-426. Hanks, Roma St., and Ponzetti Jr., James J.(2004) Family Studies and Intergenerational Studies, Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Vol. 2, No 3, pp 5 — 22 Helve, H. et al. (2007) Youth and social capital, Tufnell Press. Home Office (2009) Accession Monitoring Report May 2004 – March 2009, London Kaplan, M. S. (2001) School-based Intergenerational Programs. Hamburg, Germany: UNESCO Institute for Education, 2001. http://www.unesco.org/education/uie/pdf/schoolbasedip.pdf Orellana, M.F. et al. (2001) Transnational childhoods: The participation of children in processes of family migration, Social Problems, 48 (4), 572-591. Parrenas, R. S. (2005) Children of global migration: Transnational families and gendered woes, Stanford University Press. Phua V., Ch.,, Kaufman, G. (2008) Grandparenting Responsibility Among Elderly Asian Americans, Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Vol. 6, No 1, pp 41 — 59 Sanders G., Trygstad D., (1993) Strengths in the grandparent-grandchildren relationship. Activities, Adaptation and Aging, Vol.17, pp. 43-53. Vertovec, S. (2009) Transnationalism, Routledge: Taylor and Francis.
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