The Diasporization of Educational Space: An Ethnographic Exploration of Power and Educational Experience within Iranian Supplementary Schools in London

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Reza GHOLAMI, Keele University, United Kingdom
This paper ethnographically explores the shifting power dynamics and alternative educational experiences which emerge when mainstream national (British) educational spaces become ‘diasporized’ through the educational practices of UK Iranians in the form of supplementary schools. Within the context of increasingly socio-ethnically diverse and educationally diversifying Iranian supplementary schools in London, I examine what types of spatial action constitute a ‘diasporization of space’ and what impact this has on the educational and self experiences of diverse children and young people. I posit that a great deal can be learned both theoretically and pedagogically by studying educational space and practice through the lens of diaspora studies. Chiefly, I argue that diasporization of national educational spaces gives off a unique type of ‘democratic energy’ which transcends both national and ethnic/diasporic structures and has the capacity to produce educational experiences which account more readily for the multiplicity/multi-modality of students’ subjectivities and can pave the way for more global or indeed cosmopolitan models of education. The paper draws on data from my ongoing research among UK Iranians which is funded by the British Council.