Being tied to the nation state or ethnic group the

This preview shows page 63 - 66 out of 340 pages.

being tied to the nation-state or ethnic group. The children of such expatriates are often referred to as third culture kids (TCKs). The literature on TCKs is largely non-academic, based mostly on first-hand experience and anecdotes, and it is published for the purpose of relaying TCKs’ experience to the world, as well as to TCKs themselves. However, I choose to review this literature because it captures some of my participants’ experiences, and also because the TCK concept is used by international school administrators.
51 Third Culture Kids Background The term third culture kids was coined by sociologists John and Ruth Hill Useem in the 1950s (R. H. Useem, 1993). The term third culture developed out of their study of Americans who lived in India (e.g., J. Useem, 1966; R. H. Useem, 1966). John Useem (1966) defined the concept of first culture represented social patterns of those Indians who interacted with the Americans; second culture as the social patterns of Americans who lived and worked in India; and third culture signified “patterns which are created, shared, and learned by men [ sic ] of the two different societies who are personally engaged in the process of linking their societies, or sections thereof, to each other” (p. 147). According to Pollock and Van Reken (1999), the Useems also referred to third culture as “interstitial culture” and “cultures between cultures.” Most relevantly for present purposes, they referred to the children who had grown up in such cultural situations as TCKs (R. H. Useem, 1993). When the Useems were conducting their research in India, expatriates lived in more clearly defined communities and often kept physical and social distance from the host culture. However, there is now more variation in expatriate lifestyles, as well as different degrees of variation in the way that people interact with the host culture, making the difference between the above-mentioned “cultures” more difficult to determine (Pollock & Van Reken, 1999). For this reason, Ruth Useem (Useem & Cottrell, 1996) has updated her definition of third culture as “a generic term [used] to discuss the lifestyles created,
52 shared, and learned by people who are in the process of relating their societies, or aspects thereof, to each other” (pp. 23-24) and now defines TCKs as “children who accompany their parents into another society” (p. 24). Updated Conceptualization Pollock and Van Reken (1999), the authors of the widely cited, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing up Among Worlds , conceptualized the modern-day TCK as: a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. (p. 19) Other terms that characterize similar kinds of people and their experiences include “military brats,” “missionary kids,” “global nomads,” and “transculturals,” with the last

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture