Experiences abroad: Youth, Mobility and Normativity
An increasing number of programs promote youth mobility as a way to gain international experiences by being temporarily abroad. For a long time, youth-mobility was framed by an “employability” discourse of self-optimization. Nowadays, this “pedagogical” practice is (re)charged with expectations to bring about global citizens. Yet, others need to move from the “periphery”.
“Experiences abroad” methodologically focuses on the subjectivities involved in mobility, turning it an heuristic instrument to ent|grenz|en related practices but distinct discourses. Thus, bringing different perspectives into dialogue. Thereby, we want to discuss, which norms are underneath these programs? How does mobility (re)produce subjectivities, leading to political orientations? Does the “pedagogization” prevent irritating experiences ofthe "self"? To which extend do these practices stabilize new inequalities, especially by setting a standardized norm of being young? Why do “we” frame mobilities so differently?
Beiträge des Panels
Youth, peripherality and the mobility discourse: a view from Sardinia
Young people who have grown up in peripheral locations may regard mobility as a particularly crucial resource in the transition to adulthood, one which has been aligned with a normative discourse for some time now. However, intervening at a crucial stage in the lifecourse, mobility may be a source of further inequalities. In the proposed presentation, I first focus on reconstructing the significance of spatiality for young people in peripheral areas of Europe, where a discourse of mobility superimposes itself on both national and local traditions of migration. In such contexts, young people’s aspirations may be liberated by a sense of belonging to one place; however, this doesn't not necessarily mean to be in simple contraposition to mobility (Cuzzocrea 2018). Last but not least, the immobility brought about by the Covid 19 pandemia has complicated such a dialectic.
Being attentive to different configurations of ‘peripherality’, I then concentrate on Sardinia as a case study, reflecting on recent mobility programmes for young people. Policies are often inspired by a need to allocate young people in the labour market. Thus, attention needs to be drawn to the risk that these programs might foster exclusion (of those unwilling to leave) rather than inclusion, that ‘virtuous’ circulation (successfully taking off in a globalized Europe) may be left unaccomplished and that forms of local engagement are in the end sacrificed in the name of a fashionable cosmopolitan appeal.
Experiences of alienness as a value in itself? Perspectives on conflictuous self-constructions in Franco-German youth encounters
The planned contribution focusses on narrative and performative constructions of national identities as a part of self-concepts based on qualitative research data from interviews and participant observations gathered in international, Franco-German youth encounters. Under the perspective of Erving Goffman’s frame-analysis (1986) the participants’ narrations on confusion or confirmation of their imagined national identities (Anderson 1996) will be regarded. Goffman’s interactionist view emphasises the context-dependence as well as the contingency of identity concepts in a reciprocal relation between interaction partners. Along this line, Alois Hahn points out that the institutional context – the framing –, in which self-concepts are being constructed, appear to be essential for their constitution (Hahn 1987).
Accordingly, international youth encounters can be re-constructed as framings that pre-structure interaction processes and therefore contain the potential to alienate constructions of the self. As these programmes work with Be|grenz|ung in several conditions of participation they aim to create Ent|grenz|ung in the way of thinking and interacting of young people. At this point, questions on the role of the political agenda of international programmes and the executing organizations arise. Which suggestions on possible outcomes of youth encounters on individual development are evocated? What could be their chances and challenges regarding experiences of alienness today?
Racialized experiences of belonging and processes of subjectivation in the context of postcolonial ‘Development Mobility’ of young adults
This contribution focuses on experiences of belonging and their relation to processes of subjectivation and “Bildung” in the context of postcolonial ‘development’ mobilities of selected young adults (weltwärts). Building on recent research that highlights the continuing racialization of orders of belonging and their relevance for the production of subjectivities (e.g. Amelina 2020; Mecheril 2016), the focus is on how ‘race’ pervades these mobilities. To this end, my qualitative research focuses on how differently positioned young adults, within the same mobility programme, recount their experience as (non-)racialized subjects. A first focus, then, is on how these young adults explain and narrate their mobility and what they were doing within it, trying to trace discursive representations of the meaning of ‘voluntary development’ mobility (in Germany). Secondly, I focus on what kinds of racialized subject positions and active positionings in a racialized order become visible within these narrations, also looking for what can be learned about the racialization of the contexts of mobility in question as well as about their relation to each other. Thirdly, and against the background of the reconstructed positions and positionings, the research focuses on where and why processes of ‘Bildung’/politization of orders of belonging, i.e. active stances against racialization processes, are (not) taking place.
Decolonising internationalisation of higher education through study abroad? An empirical study with international students from the Global South
Around the globe, universities are intensifying processes of internationalisation. Until today, internationalisation of higher education was mainly considered as a westernized neoliberal imperative, but within the last years, it has started to gain momentum as part of the process of decolonising universities and their internationalisation practices. In line with the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a call for developing a more inclusive and social internationalisation through, for instance, paying more attention to the qualitative dimension of internationalisation such as global citizenship development (de Wit & Altbach 2021). Global Citizenship Education (GCE) is guided by values such as non-discrimination, respect for diversity, solidarity for humanity and global social justice (e.g. Abdi et al. 2015; Andreotti 2021; Stein et al. 2020). In this contribution, I present the results of an empirical study where I interviewed international students from different countries from the Global South about the meaning of their study abroad experiences for their life course. The autobiographical-narrative interviews were analysed using documentary analysis. Using decolonial theory as a theoretical lens, the aim is to discuss the potential of study abroad for building global citizenship as a decolonial approach to internationalisation-as-mobility practices.
Normativity on the move: pre-service teachers’ educational internships abroad
Throughout the past few decades, there has been a call for an increasing internationalization of teacher education, as teachers need to be “globally minded” (Kissock & Richardson 2009) in order to teach in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world (Leutwyler et al. 2017; Sieber & Mantel 2012). One way of supporting this is by engaging pre-service teachers in outgoing mobility such as educational internships abroad (Mahon 2010). Much research indicates that such educational internships have positive outcomes, such as intercultural competence (e.g. Cushner 2007), competent and professional teachers (Abraham & Brömssen 2018), and development of global awareness (Klein & Wikan 2019). In this presentation, I question whether and how normative assumptions about the educational outcome of student mobility possibly create blind spots in terms of missing other effects, both positive and negative, that student mobility can entail. This, I argue, can have the unintended consequence of maintaining knowledge hierarchies and existing power structures. For instance, my research points to pre-service teachers carrying and acting upon specific ideas of ‘good’ pedagogy, schooling, and teaching while undertaking an educational internship abroad and thus enacting imagined hierarchies of ‘who knows best’. During the presentation, I develop this argument by presenting insights from my doctoral research, which focuses on pre-service teachers’ experiences with outgoing mobility.