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Walking on Uneven Paths

The Transcultural Experience of Children entering Europe in the Years 2000


Rossella Ragazzi

What can we learn from children traversing the liminal and transient time-space of migration? How do migrant children and their caretakers navigate educational systems in Europe today? How is it to be captive in an inner city classroom? How do children’s body language and verbal dominant languages interface? How does a child become mediator between their family and the educational institutions? This anthropologically grounded study, integrated by ethnographic film excerpts and based on a culturally-reflexive approach to the use of media in the research practices, explores the transcultural experience of migrant children between 6 and 13 years, by closely analysing the particular codes, rhythms and practices of educational systems in Ireland and France. The children’s experiences are represented in both the film sequences and the written text, in the form of their personal, shared viewpoints about cultural diversity, biographical accounts and social practices in the family and at school. These are experiences which they have worked through, from a time preceding migration and to the present. The film captures the sensibilities of migrant children and invites the reader/viewer to embark on these somewhat uneven paths.
Contents: Framing Migration and Childhood: An Anthropological Film Approach – The Intercultural Classroom in Paris – In the Migrant Family Home: The Intergenerational Performance of Cultural Identity – The Agency of Migrant Children: Five Narratives.