Growing up Cosmopolitan? Children of Western Lifestyle Migrants in Goa, India

Korpela, Mari
May 2014
Collegium;2014, Vol. 15, p90
Academic Journal
An increasing number of Western families lead a lifestyle whereby they spend half of the year in Goa, India, and the rest in the parents' countries of origin. Such people can be defined as lifestyle migrants. In this article, I discuss the phenomenon in terms of cosmopolitanism. I ask whether lifestyle migrant children in Goa (3 to 12-year-olds) are growing up in a cosmopolitan way. I show that the parents say that for their children their lifestyle is a great advantage: their transnationally mobile life makes the children sociable and cosmopolitan. The views and practices of children and young adults who have grown up in Goa, however, show that although they appear cosmopolitan in some respects, in other respects they do not, and deeming them cosmopolitan depends on how we define the term. The lifestyle migrant children and young people do not necessarily reach out across cultural differences but their horizons are not narrowly national either. I argue that lifestyle migrant children in Goa are multilingual, sociable and flexible in adapting to life in different places but that their engagement with the Indian other is limited. Therefore, they are cosmopolitan, but it is cosmopolitanism on limited, Western terms.


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