Going Far or Staying Close? Transnational Mobility among Southeast Asian Students in Islamic Studies

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Abstract

This article discusses eleven Southeast Asian students' transnational mobility in order to obtain higher education at an Islamic university in Jakarta. A life story approach has been used and semi-structured and interviewee-oriented interviews have been carried out in the field, as well as on the internet. The focus is not only on the students' individual experiences, such as educational background, strategies in mobility, prevailing life conditions, educational objectives, and future plans, but also on why they chose international Islamic studies in Jakarta and how they evaluate the education offered there. Gender constitutes an overall empirical and analytical aspect of this article, taking into account the prevailing gender order, or norm, in the students' homelands and families, as well as gender regimes, or relations, in the educational and social environment in Jakarta. These students have mixed backgrounds regarding nationality, class, parents' education, gendered and religious norms, and previous contacts outside of their homelands. All, however, accumulate social capital in the transnational social fields or networks-physical and digital-that they take part in during their time in Jakarta and after they finalised their studies. All the students plan for further studies or a working career, and a majority of the students intend to return-or have already returned-to their home country, while a few prefer a third country. They can be defined as so-called temporarily uprooted locals, with an even spread on a scale from localism to cosmopolitanism in their individual identity formation.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • gender, identity formation, Islamic education, Jakarta, Transnational mobility
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-129
Number of pages21
JournalTRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes