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Title: Navigating the terrains of transnational education: Children of Chinese 'study mothers' in Singapore
Authors: Huang, S. 
Yeoh, B.S.A. 
Keywords: China
Migrant children
Social navigation
Study mothers
Transnational education
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Citation: Huang, S., Yeoh, B.S.A. (2011-06). Navigating the terrains of transnational education: Children of Chinese 'study mothers' in Singapore. Geoforum 42 (3) : 394-403. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper demonstrates the value of child-centred migration studies which highlight children's role in shaping the migration journeys of their families, as well as their own projected journeyings. It examines the case of children from China who move to Singapore, an aspiring global education hub, expressly for the purpose of an overseas education that will facilitate longer-term migration. and life goals. Focus is given specifically to the children of 'study mothers' or peidu mama (literally: 'mothers accompanying their children who are studying'). Through interviews with the teenagers and the conceptual optic of 'social navigation', our paper demonstrates that children are resilient and creative beings able to navigate the twists and turns of their immediate trajectories, as well as develop their own goals and projected destinations for their futures. The paper calls for a refinement in the way we understand children's mobilities. First, in arguing that their spatial journeying across the terrains of transnational education cannot be decoupled from their process of social becoming and emotional development from passive followers to active negotiators, we wish to disrupt hegemonic discourses and dominant representations of children in migration as simply 'migrant's children' and restore them to the status of 'migrant children'. Second, adopting the concept of social navigation as an analytical lens allows us to highlight the fluid ways that young people think about their futures and the different pathways by which they can get there. This leads us to conceive of social and cultural capital accumulation through transnational education as a process with many more degrees of provisionality than what is often presented in the literature as a 'strategic project' with a fixed and abstract goal. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Source Title: Geoforum
ISSN: 00167185
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.01.010
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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