"People who don't live what we live, don't understand"

Youths' experiences of hypermobility

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

This qualitative PhD study examines the lived experiences of eight young individuals who moved from one country to another several times during their childhood because of their parents’ profession, hence the term hypermobility in the title. As international, work-based mobility is increasing, it is of critical importance to observe how it affects childhood in general and how the children experience it in particular. The various socio-emotional aspects related to children’s hypermobility – often overlooked in discourses surrounding internationalization – are examined.
This interdisciplinary study is situated in the field of intercultural education and guided by the following research question: How do children relocating with their families experience hypermobility? The data were gathered in Prague in 2013 with one-to-one semi-structured interviews that were conducted in English with eight youths (13 to 17 years old) who had moved internationally several times during their childhood and who had a “mixed” parental heritage. The interviews were complemented with self-chosen photographs and a life-grid. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA, Smith, Flowers & Larkin 2009) was used as the methodological and analytical framework for the study.
Four master themes emerged from the analysis as the predominant topics regarding the informants’ experiences of hypermobility. The themes disclose 1) the pervasive feelings of ephemerality and uncertainty outlining the youths’ everyday lives and relationships, 2) the different strategies the youths’ deploy to cope with the psychological strain related to the major life changes, 3) the ways the youths resort to multivoiced biographical narratives as a way to understand and describe the self, and 4) the feelings of connectedness that are grounded in self-created imageries, personal memories and (trans-generational) family narratives. In addition to the master themes, the role of international schools is discussed as significant in the youths’ identity and worldview development and as an environment where the youths’ complex life trajectories are normalized and validated.
The rising calls for closed borders and nationalism necessitate increasing awareness of the diverse ways of being and belonging in societies and communities. Although based on a small sample of informants, this study opens a window for examining one way of inhabiting this world through the experiences of young mobile individuals. The findings enhance the current understanding of what it is like to grow up in the midst of international relocations in a world predominantly defined by sedentary norms and majority. The study’s conclusions should also prove to be particularly valuable to parents who consider or pursue an international career and for educators who work in schools with a high student turnover.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTurku
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-7167-37-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-7167-38-0
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Youth Research
  • Third Culture Kids
  • International mobility
  • Expatriation
  • International education

Cite this

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title = "{"}People who don't live what we live, don't understand{"}: Youths' experiences of hypermobility",
abstract = "This qualitative PhD study examines the lived experiences of eight young individuals who moved from one country to another several times during their childhood because of their parents’ profession, hence the term hypermobility in the title. As international, work-based mobility is increasing, it is of critical importance to observe how it affects childhood in general and how the children experience it in particular. The various socio-emotional aspects related to children’s hypermobility – often overlooked in discourses surrounding internationalization – are examined.This interdisciplinary study is situated in the field of intercultural education and guided by the following research question: How do children relocating with their families experience hypermobility? The data were gathered in Prague in 2013 with one-to-one semi-structured interviews that were conducted in English with eight youths (13 to 17 years old) who had moved internationally several times during their childhood and who had a “mixed” parental heritage. The interviews were complemented with self-chosen photographs and a life-grid. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA, Smith, Flowers & Larkin 2009) was used as the methodological and analytical framework for the study.Four master themes emerged from the analysis as the predominant topics regarding the informants’ experiences of hypermobility. The themes disclose 1) the pervasive feelings of ephemerality and uncertainty outlining the youths’ everyday lives and relationships, 2) the different strategies the youths’ deploy to cope with the psychological strain related to the major life changes, 3) the ways the youths resort to multivoiced biographical narratives as a way to understand and describe the self, and 4) the feelings of connectedness that are grounded in self-created imageries, personal memories and (trans-generational) family narratives. In addition to the master themes, the role of international schools is discussed as significant in the youths’ identity and worldview development and as an environment where the youths’ complex life trajectories are normalized and validated.The rising calls for closed borders and nationalism necessitate increasing awareness of the diverse ways of being and belonging in societies and communities. Although based on a small sample of informants, this study opens a window for examining one way of inhabiting this world through the experiences of young mobile individuals. The findings enhance the current understanding of what it is like to grow up in the midst of international relocations in a world predominantly defined by sedentary norms and majority. The study’s conclusions should also prove to be particularly valuable to parents who consider or pursue an international career and for educators who work in schools with a high student turnover.",
keywords = "516 Educational sciences, Youth Research, Third Culture Kids, International mobility, Expatriation, International education",
author = "Saija Benjamin",
year = "2017",
month = "8",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-952-7167-37-3",
series = "Publications / Migration Institute of Finland",
publisher = "Siirtolaisuusinstituutti",
number = "16",
address = "Finland",

}

"People who don't live what we live, don't understand" : Youths' experiences of hypermobility. / Benjamin, Saija.

Turku : Siirtolaisuusinstituutti, 2017. 140 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

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T1 - "People who don't live what we live, don't understand"

T2 - Youths' experiences of hypermobility

AU - Benjamin, Saija

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N2 - This qualitative PhD study examines the lived experiences of eight young individuals who moved from one country to another several times during their childhood because of their parents’ profession, hence the term hypermobility in the title. As international, work-based mobility is increasing, it is of critical importance to observe how it affects childhood in general and how the children experience it in particular. The various socio-emotional aspects related to children’s hypermobility – often overlooked in discourses surrounding internationalization – are examined.This interdisciplinary study is situated in the field of intercultural education and guided by the following research question: How do children relocating with their families experience hypermobility? The data were gathered in Prague in 2013 with one-to-one semi-structured interviews that were conducted in English with eight youths (13 to 17 years old) who had moved internationally several times during their childhood and who had a “mixed” parental heritage. The interviews were complemented with self-chosen photographs and a life-grid. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA, Smith, Flowers & Larkin 2009) was used as the methodological and analytical framework for the study.Four master themes emerged from the analysis as the predominant topics regarding the informants’ experiences of hypermobility. The themes disclose 1) the pervasive feelings of ephemerality and uncertainty outlining the youths’ everyday lives and relationships, 2) the different strategies the youths’ deploy to cope with the psychological strain related to the major life changes, 3) the ways the youths resort to multivoiced biographical narratives as a way to understand and describe the self, and 4) the feelings of connectedness that are grounded in self-created imageries, personal memories and (trans-generational) family narratives. In addition to the master themes, the role of international schools is discussed as significant in the youths’ identity and worldview development and as an environment where the youths’ complex life trajectories are normalized and validated.The rising calls for closed borders and nationalism necessitate increasing awareness of the diverse ways of being and belonging in societies and communities. Although based on a small sample of informants, this study opens a window for examining one way of inhabiting this world through the experiences of young mobile individuals. The findings enhance the current understanding of what it is like to grow up in the midst of international relocations in a world predominantly defined by sedentary norms and majority. The study’s conclusions should also prove to be particularly valuable to parents who consider or pursue an international career and for educators who work in schools with a high student turnover.

AB - This qualitative PhD study examines the lived experiences of eight young individuals who moved from one country to another several times during their childhood because of their parents’ profession, hence the term hypermobility in the title. As international, work-based mobility is increasing, it is of critical importance to observe how it affects childhood in general and how the children experience it in particular. The various socio-emotional aspects related to children’s hypermobility – often overlooked in discourses surrounding internationalization – are examined.This interdisciplinary study is situated in the field of intercultural education and guided by the following research question: How do children relocating with their families experience hypermobility? The data were gathered in Prague in 2013 with one-to-one semi-structured interviews that were conducted in English with eight youths (13 to 17 years old) who had moved internationally several times during their childhood and who had a “mixed” parental heritage. The interviews were complemented with self-chosen photographs and a life-grid. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA, Smith, Flowers & Larkin 2009) was used as the methodological and analytical framework for the study.Four master themes emerged from the analysis as the predominant topics regarding the informants’ experiences of hypermobility. The themes disclose 1) the pervasive feelings of ephemerality and uncertainty outlining the youths’ everyday lives and relationships, 2) the different strategies the youths’ deploy to cope with the psychological strain related to the major life changes, 3) the ways the youths resort to multivoiced biographical narratives as a way to understand and describe the self, and 4) the feelings of connectedness that are grounded in self-created imageries, personal memories and (trans-generational) family narratives. In addition to the master themes, the role of international schools is discussed as significant in the youths’ identity and worldview development and as an environment where the youths’ complex life trajectories are normalized and validated.The rising calls for closed borders and nationalism necessitate increasing awareness of the diverse ways of being and belonging in societies and communities. Although based on a small sample of informants, this study opens a window for examining one way of inhabiting this world through the experiences of young mobile individuals. The findings enhance the current understanding of what it is like to grow up in the midst of international relocations in a world predominantly defined by sedentary norms and majority. The study’s conclusions should also prove to be particularly valuable to parents who consider or pursue an international career and for educators who work in schools with a high student turnover.

KW - 516 Educational sciences

KW - Youth Research

KW - Third Culture Kids

KW - International mobility

KW - Expatriation

KW - International education

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-952-7167-37-3

T3 - Publications / Migration Institute of Finland

PB - Siirtolaisuusinstituutti

CY - Turku

ER -

Benjamin S. "People who don't live what we live, don't understand": Youths' experiences of hypermobility. Turku: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti, 2017. 140 p. (Publications / Migration Institute of Finland; 16).