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Mothers on the MoveReproducing Belonging Between Africa and Europe$
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Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226389745

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226389912.001.0001

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Raising Cameroonian Families in Berlin

Raising Cameroonian Families in Berlin

Chapter:
(p.91) 4 Raising Cameroonian Families in Berlin
Source:
Mothers on the Move
Author(s):

Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226389912.003.0004

This chapter investigates mothers’ socially reproductive work forging belonging for their children through transmitting family ties and attitudes. It reveals the inherently unfinished nature of culture and belonging. Through their child-rearing practices and their cultivation of social networks, migrant mothers attempt to provide their children with guidance and stability in a world of global mobility. They seek to instill in their children a proud sense of having roots, traditions, and extended family ties. Simultaneously, mothers work hard to develop children’s emotional dispositions and life skills that facilitate global mobility. This chapter shows the multiple strategies mothers use to meet the dilemmas of childrearing—foremost of which is the management of flows along affective circuits. Language learning becomes simultaneously an indicator of cultural retention and integration in a new place. Mothers strive to keep children Cameroonian by correcting their distorted perceptions of Africa, teaching respect for elders, adapting old secular rituals (for newborns) and creating new ones (the school-starting party). The phrases “I have a German child” and “Where do you come from?” express mothers’ ambivalent feelings about their children’s socialization in Germany as well as the limits to their acceptance by broader (non-immigrant) German society.

Keywords:   childrearing, cultural transmission, emotion, family ties, global mobility, immigrant integration, language learning, secular ritual, social reproduction

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