Date: 05 Oct 2011

Family Child-Raising and Educational Strategies Among European Mixed Couples

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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to cast light on children’s upbringing and education in families of mixed EU nationality living in Lisbon. After a brief introduction, I will dedicate the first two parts to the theoretical contextualization of European mixed couples as a new family arrangement born of EU social integration; as to entail, thereafter, an attentive reflection on issues related to transnational children’s upbringing. Qualitative evidence from 24 in-depth interviews with three different groups of couples (Portuguese women married to European men; Portuguese men married to European women; married non-Portuguese European couples of different nationalities) is then presented and discussed. The findings reveal that when certain variables – children’s language capabilities, type of school, and social networks – are taken into account, three types of educational strategy emerge: a family assimilation strategy, a bi-national family strategy and a peripatetic family strategy. I conclude with a critical appreciation of the role these family strategies play in the research on child-raising among migrants and minorities in environments involving cultural heterogeneity.