Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in by Sarah Lamb

By Sarah Lamb

The proliferation of outdated age houses and extending numbers of aged dwelling by myself are startling new phenomena in India. those developments are with regards to large in another country migration and the transnational dispersal of households. during this relocating and insightful account, Sarah Lamb exhibits that older people are leading edge brokers within the methods of social-cultural switch. Lamb's research probes debates and cultural assumptions in either India and the U.S. concerning how top to age; the correct social-moral courting between members, genders, households, the industry, and the nation; and methods of discovering that means within the human lifestyles course.

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Sample text

As the narratives go, the problem regarding working women is not so much that work makes a woman unable to provide care for her parents or parentsin-law in her home, but rather that she (because of the independence and agency she derives from employment) will be less likely to agree to serving her parents-in-law. “Broken” families refer most often not to those separated by divorce as in the United States, but to multigenerational, joint families that have fractured into nuclear units. One reason there does not seem to be a great deal of anxiety currently in India surrounding the impact of maternal employment on the child is that the child almost always remains living at home with the parents,42 even if maternal care is supplemented by that provided by a servant, nanny, or crèche.

In his ethnography of middle-class life in Kathmandu, Nepal, Mark Liechty writes of “one of the paradoxes of global modernity at the turn of the millennium, a paradox whereby a ‘Western’ model or image of modernity is simultaneously the object of intense local desire and always out of reach, seemingly by definition an unachievable condition for those in the ‘non-West’” (2002:xi). Though undoubtedly true for many, this stance is not a dominant one held by the largely elite, middle- and upper-middleclass older Indians on whom this ethnography focuses.

I remarked that I was very interested in meeting the daughter, as I had barely ever seen any sign of Aging and the Indian Diaspora the children of old-age-home residents. The daughter has a brother, I mentioned, so maybe I’ll be able to find out from her why her brother doesn’t look after his parents? My driver, a middle-aged man of four children approaching their marriageable years, promptly and pensively replied: Oh, madam, these days children (chelera)1 have become such a way that they just don’t (emni, for no particular reason) look after their parents.

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