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International students’ disconnecting from and reconnecting with diverse communities: Fluidity of the self in sojourns abroad

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Abstract

If language, or more precisely discourse, is a way to preserve, cross or subvert existing boundaries (Fought C, Language and ethnicity: key topics in sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006) of identity, the expressions of national, ethnic and cultural disconnecting by international students do not occur in a vacuum. These expressions must be considered as acts of reconnecting with new, imagined communities in greater or lesser ways. They often reveal how the individual navigates between two entities, i.e. the home- and the host-represented ‘cultures’. The formulation of a disjuncture from a particular community by a student is often associated with existing explicit or implicit representations of the ‘other’ entity, as well as an urge to adjust his/her discourse to the interviewer. When, how and why this occurs is here analysed in order to gain a better understanding of the identity positioning of international students in scientific research. Using a fluid intercultural approach (Dervin F, Impostures interculturelles. L’Harmattan, Paris, 2012) to analyse the discourses of international students from diverse backgrounds in or from Malaysia, I highlight how disconnecting has to be systematically associated with reconnecting. Data come from focus group discussions and interviews conducted with 20 international students in Malaysia and Malaysians who studied abroad. I argue that it is important to take into consideration the context in which disconnecting was formulated, insisting on the identification of the interviewer by the participant.

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APA

Machart, R. (2017). International students’ disconnecting from and reconnecting with diverse communities: Fluidity of the self in sojourns abroad. In Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education (Vol. 6, pp. 185–203). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2601-0_11

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