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Transnational mobility of higher education within Asia – Strategies and educational conditions among young people related to gender, ethnicity and class

Conference paper
Authors Marie Carlson
Monica Lindberg
Bengt Jacobsson
Ann Kull
Leif Stenberg
Published in GEA – Gender and Education Association Conference April 11-13, Göteborg. Theme: Gender and Democracy: Gender Research in times of change
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords education, gender, Asia, transnational mobility, life stories
Subject categories International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Social Anthropology, Educational Sciences, Sociology

Abstract

Transnational mobility in higher education within Asia – Strategies and educational conditions among young people related to gender, ethnicity and class. This workshop mainly invites to a methodological discussion within an ongoing interdisciplinary project focusing on inter-Asian education mobility – a theme that so far has been given little attention even though access to education has long been the reason for migration and mobility. Many Asian youths travel abroad and study in their neighbouring countries - however, the interest has most often been on the increased numbers of young people from Asian countries who obtain higher education in Western countries. By taking a perspective that situates individuals at the centre this study investigates young people’s strategies, experiences and visions in different Asian contexts. Particular interest is paid to power hierarchies based on class, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Theoretical the project employs the concept of social transnational fields and draws inspiration from cultural, migration, global, and gender studies, as well as postcolonial theory. Six researchers are involved in the project and carry out fieldwork among students who study in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East, Thailand and Turkey and the students come from neighbouring Asian countries. The research group collaborates in the development of theory and methodology. Disciplines represented in the study are Islamic studies, sociology, anthropology and history. The students’/the subjects’ experiences are in the centre of the research and through the use of life stories as its research methodology, the research group approaches transnational mobility in a unique way. Furthermore a so-called soft comparison is used, contrasting the material in order to generate mutual interpretative advantages. The academic importance of the project lies in its theoretical and methodological approach, but also in the empirical data it generates. The overall aim of the project is dealing with the transnational space and values that govern the various study options and strategies – how students regard the “homeland” and “host” country – the importance of gender, ethnicity and how students are affected by mobility as part of the their own social, political and religious context. At the workshop all six researchers in the project will present some preliminary results based on recent field data and discuss what kind of themes and intersecting aspects we are trying to involve when approaching the students in using life stories. Likewise discuss possibilities/difficulties in conducting a multi-sited interdisciplinary study. In addition to the researchers in the project we hope for at least 10-20 persons to participate in the discussion.

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