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Transnational Turkish Student Mobility - Narratives on identity and gender related to educational visions. ECER 2014 Porto - European Conference on Educational Research

Conference contribution
Authors Marie Carlson
Bengt Jacobsson
Published in ECER 2014 - European Conference on Educational Research. 1 - 5 September 2014 , Porto
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords Transnational Student Mobility Narratives
Subject categories Social Anthropology, International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


Access to education has long been the reason for migration and mobility. This contribution, which focuses on a reflexive identity project of a Turkish woman trying to realize her educational goals, is part of an ongoing interdisciplinary multi-sited research project containing six sub-studies (Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Myanmar/Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, India, Malaysia and Thailand). The overarching aim of the project is to study transnational mobility of higher education within Asia from the perspective of the individual. Through a bottom-up perspective, and with a focus on life story as method, the study pay attention to transnational mobility and the way it influences new “global citizens” in Asia (Doherty & Singh, 2005). The transnational perspective (Vertovec, 1991) draws attention to trans-boundary mobility in which individuals, through daily activities and social, religious, economic, and political relations create social fields that transcend national borders (Levitt & Glick Schiller, 2004). Youth is further seen as a trans-national and political category in relation to social spaces and structures (Marginson & Sawir, 2005) – the use of social media is central. The concept of social transnational fields is applied rather than viewing nation states as independent and autonomous (Gargano, 2009). Within the fluidity of globalisation the concept of ‘eduscapes’ can be used for schools/education across the world with increasingly common structures, values and educational processes. In this context young people are negotiating culture-framed pasts, the complex present and contingent futures. Theoretically the project draws inspiration from cultural-, migration-, ethnicity- and gender studies (e.g. Appadurai, 1991; Kell & Gillian, 2008; Phoenix & Pattynama, 2006; Yval-Davies, 2006). Within the project a so-called soft comparison (Puskas, 2009) is used with life stories as a common methodology for all six sub-studies with a special interest in power hierarchies based on class, ethnicity, gender and religion. All together about 50 students have been interviewed. In this paper we will especially discuss the concept of capital (Bourdieu, 1977) in our analysis but also use sociology of emotions (Scheff, 1990) when discussing aspects of identity. In the paper especially one young Turkish woman will tell about her background and experiences being an example of student mobility within Asia and struggling for attending the European educational arena through applications for a PhD position at a European university. The student’s educational journey has been difficult within Turkey with many obstacles with all her family involved. After studies in Malaysia for a master thesis she is back in Turkey engaged with trying to get access to higher education within Europe. In the project as a whole there are many students talking about trying to reach Europe through their studies abroad in Asia.

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