You can't escape from it : its in your blood : naturalizing ethnicity and strategies to ensure family and in-group cohesion
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Ethnography. - London, 2000, currens
, p. 373-393
University of Antwerp
This article studies the construction of ethnicity within majority and minority families and more in particular the strategies developed to ensure intergenerational continuity via an in-depth analysis of the narratives of Belgian-Flemish-, Italian- and Moroccan-origin parents in Flanders, Belgium. Parents were asked to discuss the upbringing of their children and the main elements they want to transmit, with a focus on their ethno-cultural identity. These narratives shed light on how parents perceive themselves, their children and other groups in society, and, more importantly, what these perceptions entail for the upbringing of their children. This article studies the strategies developed to ensure ethno-cultural continuity within the family and/or ethnic group, and discusses in which way these strategies become logic in the eyes of these parents. The analysis shows how internalized perceptions and dispositions about ones ethnicity, cultural background and religious affiliation influence strategy development to ensure linguistic and religious continuity and family cohesion, given the specificities of the social context. Overall, parents try to make sense of the burden of ethno-cultural continuity they feel resting upon their shoulders, but the article discusses how minority and majority parents perceptions and strategies tend to differ according to ones social location and to power differences.