Abstract


GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 1, Issue 1, May, 2015

Juggling Two Rich Cultures: How Diasporic Mom Bloggers Negotiate the Hyphen

Author: Sarkar, Sucharita

Category: Research

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Abstract:

The ‘in-between-ness’ of the diaspora is a flux where the diasporic subject has to constantly negotiate between acculturation and nostalgia. This negotiation is intrinsic to the construction of identities—of the self, of the community and of the ‘other’. For the diasporic Indian mother, this process is complicated by normative expectations of a ‘good mother’. She has to transmit the cultural legacies of the country of origin (through food, language, dress, rituals) as well as to equip them to engage with the culture of the country of destination in

enabling ways. Although the Indian diaspora has been divided into two distinct phases – the colonial-era sugar diaspora and the post-colonial masala diaspora – the mother’s role in postcolonial diasporas retains traces of older patriarchal constructs and the ‘burden’ of motherhood, despite changes influenced by generational and geographical shifts.

In this context, the paper attempts to investigate selected blogs written by diasporic Indian mothers located in the United States as sites of identity re-negotiation for self and family.

These blogs use multiple strategies to engage with the hyphenated and complex identities of diasporic subjects. The blogs function as archives that record and perpetuate cultural markers of the homeland; as coping strategies against alienation; as a shared nurturing resource for rearing children as global citizens; as sites of empowerment by writing the self. But are these blog

spaces still colonised by hegemonic patriarchal assumptions about motherhood? Or do such blogs resist such assumptions only to be re-colonised by commercial compulsions? Through discourse analysis of the authorial blog-posts and readers’ comments, the paper aims to critique

how diasporic mom-bloggers negotiate maternal agency, mother-work, and the politics of identity and difference, searching for balance.

Keywords: Blogging, diaspora, hybridity, Indian, mothering

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