‘Everywhere Is Home’: Paradox of Homing and Child Upbringing Among Nigerian-Chinese Families in China

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:10
Oral Presentation
Kudus ADEBAYO, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Femi G. OMOLOLU, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
The rise of China in Africa has facilitated flows of diverse nature, including the movement of people. As with Chinese in Africa, Africans are settling in Chinese cities and establishing families through unions with local women. As part of an ongoing study on the settlement experiences of Nigerians in China, this article explored how Nigerian-Chinese couples construct and embrace contradictory notions of home through practices of child upbringing. Using data from several hours of life history interviews and repeated home and office visits and social hangouts with families, the article analysed the delicate nature of China as a home to mixed-families and their children, and highlighted the socioeconomic and political uncertainties that foreclosed Nigeria homeland as a possible alternative. The study showed how parents in this form of union mould their children to become more Chinese through increased involvement in school activities while simultaneously rejecting the notion of China as home with decisions around children schooling choices and everyday lessons on mundane social behaviours like walking and management of personal space. This contradiction was explored within the context of social and institutional arrangements that exclude not only foreigners but also internal Chinese women migrants in Guangzhou city. In conclusion, whereas mixed-parents anticipated that China's rising global profile would have positive sociocultural ramifications, their parenting styles, hope and aspirations for their children suggest a tension in expressed optimism about China as a home.