Mobile students, flexible identities and liquid modernity: disrupting Western teachers' assumptions of 'the Asian learner'

Doherty, Catherine A. & Singh, Parlo (2007) Mobile students, flexible identities and liquid modernity: disrupting Western teachers' assumptions of 'the Asian learner'. In Palfreyman, David & McBride, Dawn L. (Eds.) Learning and teaching across cultures in higher education. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke and New York, pp. 114-132.


This chapter examines international students’ accounts of their educational journeys and their personal motivations using interview data collected from Asian international students enrolled in preparatory TESOL programs in an Australian university. A selection of these interview accounts are analyzed to demonstrate how these students carefully negotiate the contradictions and possibilities of globalizing times, their investments in diverse cultural capitals, and the restrictive cultured identities made available to them in the internationalized university. We argue that Asian international students may at times strategically take up essentialist versions (Spivak, 1990) of Asian learner identities that are discursively constructed and influential in Western TESOL practices. At the same time, these students also disrupt such narratives of Asian learner identities that circulate in TESOL classrooms, and offer alternative imaginings through discursive re-articulations (Hall, 1996a). Both of these tactics may be used strategically by students to further their project of appropriating new resources as they travel across transnational educational routes. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications of new theorizations about the flexible identities of mobile students under conditions of liquid modernity for educators in internationalized education.

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ID Code: 12153
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: internationalisation, international students, academic mobility, autoethnography, social class, HERN
ISBN: 9780230542839
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Palgrave Macmillan
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:56

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