1 Health Promotion, The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University2 The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University3 Childhood, Youth and Family Life Research, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University
Children in visibly ethnically mixed households
Overlooked Childhoods in the Nordic States characterised by Homogeneity: Children in visibly ethnically mixed households The research about immigrant children in Scandinavia almost completely overlooks a category of children of mixed parentage, though the recent globalisation has led to increase in their numbers through increased global marriages and formation of intimate relations across national and ethnic borders (Williams, 2010). Such marriages and children challenge notions of ‘us’ and ‘others’ as they represent mixing of different ethnicities. Are these children migrants or are they natives? Are they not both at the same time? One consequence of overlooking their multiple belongings and identities, with limited research about them and their families, no policy focus in the educational and social institutions especially psychosocial services, is that their potential resources are not developed. Resources which could benefit societies in these times of economic crises , where globalisation entails interconnections across nations. This paper deals with particularly challenges related to these children , at the internal- people (family, personal) level as well as external – state, societal level. It is primarily based on empirical projects conducted in Denmark.The project focuses on the visible ethnically different families (Phoenix, 2011), where the couples are formed across the ‘colour’ divisions- one partner is native Danish, while the other originated from South Asia (India, Pakistan). Additionally , a similar project about children of mixed parentage is invoked (Bang, 2011). The theoretical framework of the project is interdisciplinary, combining cultural psychology with everyday life, transnationalism, and different ways of experiencing, negotiating, and reconstructing borders between ethnic groups. The main methodological issues involved in qualitative research interviews are delineated. Under the results, different strategies used by the participants for coping with the differences, identity formation and experiences of exclusion, racial discrimination are presented through analyses of participants’ narratives. The results emphasise the transformed perceptions of ethnically mixed children – from patholisation to combination of aspects from both belongings as well as uniqueness. Lastly some implications for persons, parents , state especially psychosocial services are presented.
visibly mixed parentage; internal and external aspects; interdisciplinary approac h h; implications for the s tate; psychosocial services