Culture Brokering: A Qualitative Exploration of Orthodox Christian Iraqi Immigrant Families
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The process of acculturation can be complex, stressful, and overwhelming for immigrant families (Rumbaut, 1994). As such, children are asked by their parents to assist with the acculturation process, often times in situations that are complicated or not age-appropriate (McQuillan & Tse, 1995). This role is often referred to as culture broker (e.g., Trickett, Sorani, & Birman, 2010). Culture brokering entails the participation of parents and their children; parents request the assistance, and the children, engage in various activities to provide that assistance. Extant literature on culture brokering has only studied the phenomenon from the perspective of the child, without much focus on the ways in which cultural characteristics, such as the gendered nature of family dynamics, influence the culture-brokering role, or how culture brokering shapes family dynamics, such as the issue of role reversal between the parents and their children. Therefore, the current study explored: (1) culture brokering from the perspectives of both parents and their children, (2) how culture brokering is related to family dynamics, (3) cultural influences that may shape the culture broker phenomenon, and (4) if and how culture brokering activities have changed over time. Semi-structured interviews with a sample of Orthodox Christian Iraqi immigrant parent-child dyads were conducted to provide information about culture brokering that is not presently evident in the empirical literature. The parent and child findings provide unique and often times divergent perspectives regarding the culture-brokering phenomenon. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.