Responsible Adults-in-the-Making: Intergenerational Impact of Parental Migration on Indonesian Young Women's Aspirational Capacity
Khoo, Choon Yen
Yeoh, Brenda S.A.
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In the developing economies in Southeast Asia, labour migration is increasingly seen not simply to generate income to meet short-term livelihood needs but to secure the family's future, often by investing in children's education. While much work has been done studying the impact of parents' remittances on children's wellbeing including education access, the impact of parental migration on children's (educational) aspirations has received less attention. Viewing youth as social actors, this paper interrogates how they make meaning of their parents' migration, and how this consequently influences their decisions to activate, delay or reshape their hopes and plans for their own educational and work trajectories. With the increasing feminisation of labour migration in Southeast Asia where gendered regimes in care and domestic work make it easier for women to work overseas, this paper focuses attention on the aspirations of young women at the cusp of adulthood from a migrant-sending area in rural East Java, Indonesia. These young women's 'navigational capacity' (Appadurai, 2004) is not only shaped by tangible obstacles such as the lack of sufficient resources, but is also more subtly moulded by an emerging discourse of self-responsibilisation in the making of 'dutiful daughters'. Drawing on conceptualisations of multiple 'logics of aspiring' operating within spatial contexts (Zipin et al., 2015), we show how young women unsettle, inflect and challenge the normative linear education-work transitions by expressing their desire to replace their parents in accessing labour migration as a livelihood option, and reflect on the dialectical relationship between agency and aspirations.
CitationKhoo, C.Y. and Yeoh, B.S.A. (2017) 'Responsible Adults-in-the-Making: Intergenerational Impact of Parental Migration on Indonesian Young Women's Aspirational Capacity', Geoforum Volume 85, October 2017, Pages 280-289
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