Raising Global Families: Global Parenting and Class Inequality in Taiwan

Sep 24 12:00–1:30pm
Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge

Book Talk

Lan Pei-Chia (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, National Taiwan University)
Chair: Andrew Gordon (Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University; Acting Director, Harvard-Yenching Institute)

Co-sponsored with the Sociology Department, Harvard University

Based on in-depth interviews with ethnic Chinese parents from more than a hundred families in Taiwan and Boston, my new book Raising Global Families examines how parents navigate transnational mobilities and negotiate cultural boundaries to cope with uncertainties and insecurities in the changing society and globalized world. I coined the term “global security strategies” to describe their childrearing practices that often lead to the unintended consequences of magnifying parental insecurity. This talk focuses on the distinct strategies of “global parenting” across the class spectrum in Taiwan. The professional middle class employ divergent educational strategies to pursue cosmopolitan parenting: some prefer international school and prioritize global competitiveness while some others choose Western-influenced alternative curriculums to orchestrate children’s natural growth. By contrast, working-class Taiwanese men seek wives from China and Southeast Asia to escape the marriage squeeze, but the transnational connections of immigrant mothers are hardly recognized as a valuable cultural capital by the state and school until the recent “New Southbound Policy.”

About the speaker: Pei-Chia Lan is Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Director of Global Asia Research Center, and Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences at National Taiwan University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, a Fulbright scholar at New York University, and a Yenching-Radcliffe fellow at Harvard University. Her major publications include Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan (Duke 2006, ASA Sex and Gender Book Award and ICAS Book Prize) and Raising Global Families: Parenting, Immigration, and Class in Taiwan and the US (Stanford 2018).