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Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

Study Abroad Experiences as Processes of Forming, Negotiating, and Resisting Neoliberal Subjectivities

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Title: Study Abroad Experiences as Processes of Forming, Negotiating, and Resisting Neoliberal Subjectivities
Author(s): Furukawa, Chie
Contributor(s): Choi, Hee Jung; Cheng, Benjamin
Subject(s): ANTH499 S08 East Asian students neoliberalism study abroad
Abstract: The purpose of this research is to explore how East Asian students at the IEI (Intensive English Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) give meanings to their study abroad experiences, particular focusing on how the narratives of our interviewees are informed by neoliberalism. Based on semi-structured interviews with 8 IEI students and 1 former IEI instructor, our group was able to see how East Asian students in IEI program fit in the neoliberal subjectivity by aiming for becoming competitive skilled, competitive workers and accumulating cultural capital with global/American experiences and gain packages of “quality education.” These creations/ reproductions of neoliberal discourses are mediated by the IEI, as not only an educational but a market-oriented institution. At the same time, however, we were intrigued by the emergence of subtle contradictions, resistances, and negotiation, which demonstrated that study abroad participants are not always passive followers of the neoliberal current, but rather constantly negotiating both macro and specific micro situations of their life context.
Issue Date: 2008
Series/Report: Anth 499, East Asian Youth and Global Futures, Prof. Nancy Abelmann and Prof. Karen Kelsky: East Asian youth have experienced perhaps the world’s most compressed development as well as the world’s most aggressive globalization policies. This course examines how youth in East Asia (China/s, Japan, and the Koreas) are making their way in our globalizing world, focusing in particular on the transformations in work, education, recreation, gender, and sexuality brought about by neoliberal economic restructuring in the region. Topics studied include the insecure job market for young people, consumerism, globalized pop culture phenomena such as Pokemon, the Korean wave, and Internet gaming, emergent LGBT communities, etc. Students are encouraged to focus their research projects on aspects of the U. of I. student life that reflect the experiences of East Asian youth in a global market. The U of I offers a fascinating window on East Asian youth because of the many college (and pre-college) students who make their way here – as well as the movement of “Amercian” youth to East Asia. Through participation in the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), students will conduct local field research that reveals the global processes at issue. The course syllabus is available at:
Type: Text
Publication Status: unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS: 2008-06-06

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  • Globalization and the University
    This collection examines the influence of globalization on the university and the university's place in a burgeoning world market for higher education.

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