Parental Gate-keeping in Diasporic Indian Families: Examining the Intersection of Culture, Gender and Consumption

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Abstract:

Stories of familial memories, histories and daily life, from sixteen daughters of diasporic Indian families living in Britain, are used to examine how culture, gender and consumption are negotiated within family settings. The differing gate-keeping roles played by parents, children and grandparents within families, in resisting or promoting the negotiation of cultural boundaries, have not been examined before. This provides a crucial opportunity to examine the changing pattern(s) of power, identity and gender roles in ethnic families; the gap in research on gender roles within the family; the family as part of a social system; the cultural embeddedness of family relationships; and the family at a more disaggregated level. These daughters' stories identified the polarisation of parental positions over a number of key issues, notably language, media and consumption (e.g. food, alcohol, clothing); showed the importance of understanding gender as performance across the family/societal boundaries; and demonstrated the centrality of communities and networks in supporting and restraining different interpretations of culture, consumption and gender by mothers and fathers.

Keywords: CONSUMPTION; CULTURE; DAUGHTERS; FAMILY STORIES; GATE-KEEPING; GENDER; MOTHERS AND FATHERS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725706778935628

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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