For the Love of "Home": The Transnational Lives of 1.5 and Second-Generation Ghanaian-Canadians
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Second generation transnationalism is a growing subfield in migration studies, which aims to explain the ways in which migrants children participate in the homeland environment. This dissertation examines the transnational practices of 1.5 and second generation Ghanaian-Canadian adults using a transnational social field theoretical framework. The project is guided by three core questions: i. What are the sites through which a transnational social field is developed for the 1.5 and second generation? ii. How does the existence of this transnational social field inform the 1.5 and second generations desire to return to Ghana? iii. What is the reality of the return experience and how are 1.5 and second generation identities, senses of belonging and of home articulated and/or contextualized in the homeland? Through qualitative interviews with 32 young adults, the project determined that Ghanaian diaspora youth are engaged in a cross-border transnational network, which is first cultivated in childhood through community building practices. Many of the participants in this study continued to negotiate their cultural identities as adults with mixed results. Certainly, while some youth continued to build community among their co-ethnic peers, often times, youth were less active in the traditional cultural spaces that their parents had created. Secondly, those participants who return to the homeland are motivated by a composite range of factors, including emotional longing, resistance to Canadian racism, patriotism, the desire for career advancement and a perception of improved quality of life. In actuality, second-generation returnees confront an intricate social context in the homeland, including the realization of their complex belonging both here and there. The project argues that 1.5 and second generation Ghanaian-Canadian young adults are engaged in a dynamic and multi-sited negotiation of their cultural identities as a natural consequence of growing up in a transnational social field. For my participants, this negotiation manifested in frequent trips to the homeland, aspirations for homeland return and strategies to preserve their cultural identities in Canada.