06 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Exhibition
General Poster Session during Lunch
The concept of transnationalism is an analytical paradigm to analyze cross-border practices of individuals, groups, organizations and policies. Using this approach, actors become visible in their mobilities and are not reduced to national spheres of action by a methodological nationalism (WIMMER/GLICK SCHILLER 2002). The importance of the nation state is not negated here, but gets complemented by a wider perspective, which allows capturing local, regional, national and transnational spaces in their interactions (GLICK SCHILLER/LEVITT 2006).
This paper focus on the interactions between actor’s transnational knowledge emergence and transformation in different local, regional, national and transnational spaces and the new forms of knowledge that are constituted here. Our paper can be seen as an attempt to overcome the traditional understanding of knowledge as a closed 'box', because it is involved in many different ways of cross-border processes in which it is generated, transformed and used.
An approach which systematically combines questions of transnationalism with questions of knowledge has not been developed so far.
We would like to highlight on the basis of two empirical case studies how certain forms of transnational knowledge get generated by transmigrants and how they are used as cross-border socio-economic resource. The concept of knowledge is thereby defined in an action-theoretical perspective as a source that enables people to act and to create their lifeworlds (KOCH 2006).
The cases of two transmigrants in Germany show that actors cross national borders to design professional and/or common knowledge as coping strategies in the context of their transnational lifeworlds: Mrs. Assogba acquires knowledge to professional uses with the aim to establish an Afro Hair Salon in Germany and to fulfill a long cherished career aspiration. While it is not possible to learn the specific Afrohairstyles in Germany because of the lack of Afro Hair schools on site, she travels in her African home country and to London and Paris, where the Afro Hair Business is more established, to learn the techniques and to adapt the knowledge she needs to open a salon in Germany. Mr. Savinov is generating a specific knowledge through his migratory labour between Germany and the republic of Moldova. He acquires a certain theoretical and technical knowledge about house building in Germany which he transforms to his home village in order to build a new house with a higher standard of living. In adoption to the circumstances in his village, he develops new ways of for example establishing a water supply system. In this context, he creates new strategies of income which also base on generated transnational knowledge for financing his project.
Till today, the acquirement and use of knowledge of actors who are not categorized as „highly-skilled“ and not involved in any knowledge networks or scientific communities does get overlooked in research about cross-border knowledge processes. This is problematic as it is exactly this kind of knowledge, which is particularly relevant to the agency of actors at different spatial and social, economic and political contexts and of course for the discipline of Educational Sciences.
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