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Transnational Student Mobility in Higher Education in Asia - An interdisciplinary study of young people's strategies and living conditions

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
1 409 191
Project period
2011 - 2015
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

This interdisciplinary project studies the transnational mobility of higher education within Asia by taking a perspective that situates individuals at the centre. It investigates young people’s strategies, experiences, and visions. The project has been carried out by six researchers from Lund University and Gothenburg University who represent various disciplines: Islamic studies, sociology, anthropology, and history. By viewing the subject ”from below” through the use of life stories as its research methodology, the group has approached transnational mobility in a unique way. The project also fills another gap, since inter-Asian education mobility has been given little attention. The project has contained sub studies based on fieldwork and data collection in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Syria, Thailand, and Turkey.

The research group has collaborated in the development of theory and methodology. We have used a so-called soft comparison, contrasting the material in order to generate mutual interpretative advantages. Particular interest has been paid to power hierarchies based on class, ethnicity, gender, and religion.

The project has employed the concept of social transnational fields and has drawn its theoretical inspiration from cultural, migration, global, and gender studies, as well as postcolonial theory. The academic importance of the project lies in its theoretical and methodological approach, but also in the empirical data it has generated.


Marie Carlson, responsible for a case study in Istanbul/Turkey, where students (from Georgia, China, Azerbajan), studying international relations, were interviewed.
Project leader: Leif Stenberg, director Center Middle East Studies, Lund University.


Carlson, M. & B. Jacobsson (2016) “’Why don't you think of Malaysia?’ - Narratives on Educational Migration, Emotions, and Social Capital among Transnational Students”. TRaNS: Trans – Regional- and National Studies of Southeast Asia, Cambridge Journal, Volume 4, No 1, 2016, pp. 41-63.