‘That’s the Lady I Call Grandma!’: Vietnamese Children, Czech Grandmothers and the Meaning of Grandparenthood in the Biographies of Both Cover Image

„Můžeš prostě říct, že máš babičku“: Vietnamské děti, české babičky a význam prarodičovství v jejich biografiích
‘That’s the Lady I Call Grandma!’: Vietnamese Children, Czech Grandmothers and the Meaning of Grandparenthood in the Biographies of Both

Author(s): Adéla Souralová
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Family and social welfare
Published by: Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i.
Keywords: grandparethood; grandchildhood; caregiving; kinning

Summary/Abstract: Vietnamese immigrant parents in the Czech Republic often hire Czech nannies for their children. The nannies are usually recently retired women who welcome the opportunity for daily (paid) activity. Close daily contact between a nanny and a child leads to the formation of kinship ties: the nanny becomes the child’s grandmother, and the cared-for child becomes the nanny’s grandchild. Drawing on in-depth interviews the author examines these intergenerational relationships and focuses on how the nannies and the children understand these relationships in the context of their biographies. To this end the author poses two questions: How does the kinning process between nanny and child occur? What is the meaning of the established kinship ties for the Czech grandmothers and their Vietnamese grandchildren? The main argumentation is based on the assumption that children need grandmothers and women need to be grandmothers. The author argues that both of these needs are fulfilled in the daily practice of caregiving and thereby in the formation of strong emotional ties that in many respects override the biogenetic ties. In this particular case study, paid caregiving is found to give rise to new kinds of kinship relations and to enable women and children to be active parts of an intergenerational relationship. The unique case of ties between migrant families and Czech/native-born women also serves as a potential way of reconceptualising grandparenthood, grandchildhood, and intergenerational relationships.

  • Issue Year: 51/2015
  • Issue No: 05
  • Page Range: 815-844
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Czech