A tenuous belonging: international students, multiculturalism and the manifestation of cosmopolitanism in local schools
conference contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ruth ArberRuth Arber
This paper is concerned with the ‘imagination of community within local/global contexts such as those of Australian schools, at the beginning of the 21st century. In particular, it explores the ways that school community representatives in urban and rural Victoria, Australia discuss the presence of international students within their school communities and the consequences of these understandings for the ways that these students can belong. The paper argues that recent and globalising changes, particularly the impact of international students within schools, have meant that school communities understand the presence of others and therefore themselves in new ways. Arguments derived from mono-cultural and multicultural thought, always ambivalent, take on new forms as school representatives are concerned with a more individualistic and market driven world shaped within a cacophony of local/ global tensions. The paper concludes that in the tenuousness of belonging within local/global communities such as those of Australian schools, understandings of community and its outsiders need to be understood in relation to the contradictory but increasingly pervasive logics of cosmopolitan discourse.