Mediating Cultures: Parenting in Intercultural Contexts

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This book explores the communication challenges faced by parents as they raise children who are bi-cultural, multi-cultural, or are adopted from a heritage other than the parents. Each contributor views the family as a site of intercultural dialogue and mediation, and uses compelling studies throughout to examine the parents who creatively balance cultural influences within their families. Using television depictions of parents on Modern Family and All-American Muslim to the everyday activities of mixed-ethnicity and international families, Mediating Cultures reports the communication strategies employed by the parents as they strive to create affirming relationships between children and their heritages. This collection brings together two largely separate literatures of family communication and intercultural communication studies with accessible yet context-driven studies to explain how families integrate multiple cultural heritages and perspectives.

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About the Author:

Alberto González is professor of media & communication at Bowling Green State University.

Tina Maria Harris is professor of Speech Communication at the University of Georgia.

Review:

With a few notable exceptions, cultural diversity has been overlooked and neglected in family communication literature. I am delighted to see the publication of Mediating Cultures, which focuses so clearly on filling this void. The chapters are all situated at the nexus of intercultural communication and family communication, and this is a welcome addition to the field. (Lynn H. Turner, Marquette University)

Communication scholars González (Bowling Green State Univ.) and Harris (Univ. of Georgia) make a long overdue contribution to their discipline with this collection. Covering topics from parenting in the White House to parenting in ABC's Modern Family, this thought-provoking volume examines significant contemporary intercultural and family communication issues. The ten essays coalesce to form a coherent narrative that goes from micro- (section 1) to macro-level (section 2) communication to address parenting in intercultural contexts. The collection's key contribution is to extend the discussion from a black/white racial/cultural binary to bi- and multicultural persons. Representing a wide breadth of cultural and intellectual perspectives, the contributors include both veteran scholars (e.g., Jennifer Willis-Rivera and both the editors) and emerging scholars (e.g., Natalia Rybas, Suchitra Shenoy). Of particular significance is Kimberly Moffitt's essay about the Obamas; as the first multicultural family to inhabit the White House, the Obamas are hyper-scrutinized and their actions carry weight that shapes the US's collective psyche. Such influence includes their parenting practices as a multicultural family. Missing is discussion of parenting in the Native American population, a group social sciences continues to neglect. A good resource for those interested in family and interpersonal communication, media studies, and critical cultural studies. Summing Up: Recommended. (CHOICE)

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