Potentials of the Transnational Educational Space Between Germany and Turkey

Our interim findings at this point indicate that nowadays many different actors of various age groups and social statuses criss-cross back and forth between Germany and Turkey for a variety of reasons. In line with the increasing variety of both actors and reasons for migration, migration research in general has ceased to focus exclusively on labour migration and has taken up the new phenomena occurring in the context of globalization and transnationalization. However, to date, social practices in the field of education, their preconditions within and impact on transnational spaces have seldom been in the focus of migration studies (cf. Fürstenau in this volume with reference to Faist et al 2013). Likewise, with few exceptions, educational research has not yet demonstrated a suitably sustained interest in the educational careers of children and young people in the context of transnational migration (cf. Fürstenau 2005). Hence, this volume sets out to deliberately explore the transnational educational space between Germany and Turkey as an intersection between migration research, educational science, and discourses related to school and teaching, as well as disciplines like language and intercultural education.

People who take or have taken their family to new places of residence are faced with the question of schooling and educational options for their children. Against the backdrop of high-speed realities and the unprecedented mobility of people, the concept of transnational educational spaces has been slowly emerging and is still in need of a solid foundation and could benefit from further empirical investigation. Christel Adick (2005) and Sara Fürstenau (2008) have contributed considerably to this new field of research through their detailed analysis of educational offers, options and choices in the context of globalisation, internationalization and transnationalization (for a more detailed account refer to Fürstenau in this volume). Both authors favour an approach which includes transnational education both from “below” and from “above” (with reference to Smith und Guarnizo 1998). As opposed to national and international educational spaces, transnational educational spaces have emerged beyond the nation-state paradigm: “Even though state schools have hardly contributed to the constitution of transnational educational spaces, they are challenged and (…) influenced by processes of transnationalization” (Fürstenau in this volume). Hence, along with Adick (2005), we are using the term 'transnational educational spaces' as an umbrella term to encompass two dimensions pointing into two different directions. In Adick's words this includes so-called “transnational education from above” which comprises of educational offers for the children of elites which includes the small but privileged groups of the mobile elites whose children usually attend private international schools and universities with the aim of accumulating “transnational human capital” (cf. Gerhard and Hans 2013). As we will show later, this dimension of transnational education is often characterized by internationalization, rather than transnationalization. Adick (2005) refers to the counterpart to this elitist internationalization/transnationalization process in education as “transnational education from below”. By using this phrase, Adick points to the transnationality in education processes of usually lower classes, namely in the educational biographies of children with amigration background who usually grow up in multilingual settings but attend mainstream state schools.

However, regarding Pries' typology of migration (emigration/immigration, return migration, diaspora-migration and transnational-migration) outlined above, it has to be stressed that all types can be involved in transtionalization from “above” and “below”. Needless to say, an accumulation of particular types can be observed in the categories international/transnational education from “above” and “below”. While children of transnational migrants can be found in both categories in the German-Turkish space, children within diaspora-migration processes or children of relatively non-mobile elites are typically engaged in international/transnational education processes “from above”. In contrast, children of emigrants/immigrants and return migrants are more frequently agents of so-called transnational education “from below”.

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