MOTHERS ACROSS BORDERS: A TRANSNATIONAL ANALYSIS OF PARENTING BETWEEN INDIAN MOTHERS IN EDISON AND KOLKATA
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This dissertation addresses the central question- How are parenting methodologies across the sending and receiving nations shaped by larger macro forces embedded in economy and labor market forces? In order to answer this key question this project analyzes interviews with 59 middle-class mothers in Edison, New Jersey and Kolkata, India. This project contributes to the larger scope of immigration and transnational studies while placing them at the cross section of globalization of economy, labor market and education. The first chapter examines extensively the schooling systems in Edison and Kolkata and the ways it shapes parenting methods in these two locations. The key argument in this chapter focuses on the influence of the education system upon mothers in Edison and Kolkata and the ways they maneuver the schools. In the subsequent chapters I compare and contrast between support groups and community networks that help mothers in Edison and Kolkata navigate everyday child rearing challenges. The central puzzle that these chapters solve is: why immigrant mothers in an individualistic society resort to community and on the contrary mothers in Kolkata that belong to a more traditional society resort to commercial parenting schools instead of extended family to support everyday child rearing? The primary reason is embedded in the globalization of the labor market and economy. The immigrant mothers in Edison, who immigrated to the US as spouses of elite professionals in a globalized economy were confronted with the challenges of parenting in a foreign country. They resorted to community support to help them negotiate everyday parenting challenges. On the other hand in Kolkata the rapid changes in the field of employment an education had forced mothers to resort to commercial agencies for parenting support. Finally the dissertation concludes by returning to the central research questions and briefly states the central findings along with raising avenues for future research.