07 SES 14 A, Transnational Educational Spaces
The theoretical framework for the symposium is a transnational research perspective that was developed within studies on migration in order to overcome the ‘methodological nationalism’ of the social sciences (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2002). Since the second half of the 1990s, the intersection of migration research and sociology of the family has given rise to the new international research focus on transnational families and children(Mazzucato and Schans 2011). But until now the educational careers of children from transnational families remain only a marginal subject of analysis. In response to this desideratum, the symposium will bring together researchers who investigate transnational social practices that belong to the domain of education. The presented findings demonstrate that educational careers of transnational children are often characterised by transitions not only between national contexts and school systems, but also between socio-cultural and socio-economic environments.
Ten years ago, at the European Conference of Educational Research (ECER 2004), Agnès van Zanten in her keynote discussed the growing influence of ‘educational globalization’. For future research, she raised the question of new social inequalities between families that do and those that do not have access to international educational strategies (van Zanten 2005). Today the term ‘transnational education’ appears to be reserved for social elites. Research in the field of transnational education focuses on academic careers at universities (Russel and Findlay 2012, p. 264), and there is another emphasis on private international schools that may be considered part of a globalised educational market (Adick 2005). Private international schools promise their clients the accumulation of “transnational human capital” (Gerhard and Hans 2013). Typically, the discourse on transnational educational strategies of social elites does not explore the extent to which non-elite migrant families also promote the acquisition of such capital. A few studies indicate that transnational mobility may be a strategy of social advancement also for young people from non-elite migrant families (Fürstenau 2008). Mainstream schools, however, rarely prepare their students for transnational careers. If teenagers from social minorities manage to turn their migration-related multilingual competencies into cultural capital on the labour market, then this success is mainly due to their transnational language biographies and to informal language courses offered by their ethnic communities, rather than to formal schooling. Many migrant families invest time and money in their children’s future providing opportunities for studying heritage languages and for mobility within transnational social spaces.
As an interim result, we may note that the conceptual meaning of transnational educational spaces differs according to the particular research perspective and the empirical phenomena on which the research is based. On the one hand, transnational educational spaces are analysed as a result of transnational educational provisions for social elites. On the other hand, they are defined in connection with the educational careers of children from transnational families that move within transnational social spaces. In analogy to Smith’s and Guarnizo’s (1998) distinction, these subjects of research may be identified as transnational education “from above” and “from below”. So far, there is hardly any connection between scientific research on transnationalisation in education “from above” and “from below”, but a comprehensive concept of transnational educational spaces ought to take into account both processes (Fürstenau 2008). The crucial questions of whether and in which ways these processes (from above and from below) influence each other and how they impact on public education within nation-states will be discussed in the symposium by the examples of empirical studies from various transnational migration contexts.
Adick, C. 2005. Transnationalisierung als Herausforderung für International und Interkulturell Vergleichende Erziehungswissenschaft. Tertium Comparationis 11 (2): 243-269. Fürstenau, S. 2008. Transnationalität und Bildung. In Soziale Arbeit und Transnationalität, eds. H.G. Homfeldt, W. Schröer, and C. Schweppe, 203-218. Weinheim: Juventa. Gerhards, J., and S. Hans. 2013. Transnational Human Capital, Education, and Social Equality. Analyses of International Student Exchange. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 52 (2): 99-117. King, R., and A. Findlay. 2012. Student Migration. In An Introduction to International Migration Studies, eds. M. Martiniello, and J. Rath, 259-280. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Mazzucato, V., and D. Schans. 2011. Transnational Families and the Well-Being of Children: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges. Journal of Marriage and Family 73 (4): 704-712. Smith, M. P., and L. E. Guarnizo. 1998. The Locations of Transnationalism. In Transnationalism from Below. Comparative Urban and Community Research V6, eds. M. P. Smith, and L.E. Guarnizo, 3-31. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Wimmer, A., and N. Glick Schiller. 2002. Methodological Nationalism and Beyond: Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences. Global Networks 2 (4): 301-334. Zanten van, A. 2005. New Modes of Reproducing Social Inequality in Education: The Changing Role of Parents, Teachers, Schools and Educational Policies. European Educational Research Journal 4 (3): 155-169.
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