Vanessa Fong - Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard University
Citizens of the developed world can enjoy developed world privileges in almost any country-even if they’re not citizens of that country or even of any developed country. My talk examines how and why only-children who grew up in the People’s Republic of China tried to become such developed world citizens through study abroad. I look at how they made decisions about transnational migration, and how their decisions illustrate how the global neoliberal system shapes and is shaped by the experiences, agency, and lifecourses of individuals. My research is based on 33 months of participant observation between 1997 and 2007 in Dalian, China, and on 13 months of participant observation between 2003 and 2006, among 16 of the youth I met in China who went on to study in Australia, Britain, Ireland, or Malta, as well as 85 of their roommates, classmates, and co-workers in those countries, most of whom had also recently left China to study abroad.