Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN15_07a_H: Global Socialization and Citizenship
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sylvain Beck, GEMASS
Location: HA.1.2
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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International Students’ Narratives: Cosmopolitan Rites without a Story

Pierluca Birindelli

University of Helsinki, Finland

Studying abroad is a growing and institutionalized practice. To find out what young people are really getting out of it we need to hear their stories and explore the implications of the educational travel within the broader context of their lives. This paper presents preliminary findings about the significance attributed by international master students in Helsinki and in Florence to their educational, cultural and overall life experience abroad. Analysis of 50 autobiographical-autoethnographical essays reveals that most of the subjects had no previous familiarisation with or exposure to clear-cut narratives about the destination country and city. We can indeed find a series of related images, but not sufficient to constitute a leading narrative for their life experiences in North or South Europe. The trace of a well-defined script derived from a structured story, such as a book or a movie, is absent. It is instead possible to catch a glimpse of a vague cosmopolitan narrative. This story, constructed on a global scale by different actors and institutions, is partially disconnected from the society and culture of the countries of destination or provenance. The story upholds the validity of studying abroad for both instrumental and expressive reasons. And the practice seems to constitute a liminal and transitional space-time: an institutionalized rite of passage towards adulthood and global citizenship. It’s an undefined story without exemplary characters, so it’s up to the individual student to find heroes and villains along the way to construct his or her idea of who is a good citizen of the world.

Bye-bye Europe – young European professionals living the ‘global’ in Singapore and Tokyo

Helena Brigitte Hof

Waseda University, Germany

Entering the labor market in Europe has become increasingly challenging, even for middle-class EU citizens with tertiary degrees. Having accumulated ‘global skills’ like foreign language proficiency and intercultural competence, a growing part of Europe’s young educational elite is leaving the continent.

The paper is based on a qualitative study of 70 young, mainly Caucasian Europeans. It investigates how those who grew up with cosmopolitan values and a positive notion of mobility become mobile beyond European borders. These young Europeans forge their ways to Singapore and Tokyo, two global cities which seem to promise more than familiar and crisis-ridden Europe. Lured by job and lifestyle opportunities, they hope to encounter the ‘cultural and racial other’. Yet, they soon find themselves to be ‘othered’. Having limited work experience and moderate incomes, and being neither Chinese nor Japanese native speakers, these young professionals have emerged as a growing migrant community on both city scenes. Yet, very few return to their home countries. Having followed them for several years allows to not only reveal their drivers and motivations to leave Europe as well as to depict their daily life in Asia, but also, to explore how their perception of Europe has been changing over time.

The study traces these Europeans’ bonds to ‘home’ and how instead of returning many plan to move on. It asks if the Erasmus culture and positive notion of overseas experience on the CV is pushing Europe’s youth out – and how their cosmopolitanism manifests in culturally and racially different Asia.

Changing meaning of citizenship in the narratives of denizens living in Poland

Katarzyna Andrejuk

Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

The presentation will explore the changing meaning of the citizenship status for third country nationals residing in an EU member state. It will focus on the group of long-term immigrants in Poland who intentionally do not apply for naturalisation even though they fulfill the legal conditions. Examined will be the causes and personal motivations of the decision to not apply for the host country's citizenship. The most important reasons include: privileges associated with the current legal status (permanent residence permit, EU long-term residence permit); lack of acceptance of dual citizenship in the country of origin; advantages associated with the citizenship of the sending state. The presentation will be based of the original empirical material (in-depth interviews) collected during the fieldwork in Poland between 2014 and 2017.

Globalisation, differentiation of cities, and the ‘weight’ of the built environment

Andrea Glauser

University of Lucerne, Switzerland

In urban sociology, it is a widely shared assumption that globalisation in the sense of translocalisation ‘has not ironed out differences’ but rather has led to a diversification of urban forms (Herzog 2015: 9; Soja/Kanai 2007). Furthermore, it is stressed that the dynamics of homogenisation and heterogenisation do coexist, as globalised patterns are adopted and reconfigured in specific local constellations (Czarniawska 2010; Schmid 2015). This contribution focuses on architecture, more specifically on the globalised high-rise building type, and explores the role of the built environment in such processes of local adaptation and ‘translation’. I will argue that the role of the built environment is widely ignored yet crucial to understanding path dependencies regarding urbanisation. Its ‘weight’ is certainly not an immediate effect of the ‘materiality’ of architecture but rather the outcome of how built forms are involved in social practices. The discussion is based on case studies about Paris, London, and Vienna and sheds light on the reproduction and reinterpretation of the zone of former city walls.

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