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Walking on Uneven Paths: The Transcultural Experience of Migrant Children in France and Ireland

Rosella Ragazzi

External Examiner: Professor Lucien Taylor, Harvard University, USA
Date Awarded: 2005
Rosella Ragazzi SEPR graduated thesis 2005


This thesis foregrounds the application of anthropological documentary methods and ethnographic investigation in examining the world of child immigrants and the cross-cultural dilemmas they encounter upon entering the formal educational system of the ‘host’ country – in this case a primary school setting in Dublin and Paris. The specificity of the primary school classroom as an ethnographic site facilitates a sustained audio-visual examination of immigrant children as they work to re-build their identities in a new and unfamiliar environment. Such a richly textured space opens up potential avenues of exploration for the researcher: what for example can intercultural pedagogy learn from the child who is dealing with two or more languages and for whom the past and present have been unexpectedly and irreversibly transformed? How are embodied cultural memories from the past carried and expressed in the immediate present? How are the values of the ‘host’ culture transmitted and what pressures, if any, are placed on immigrant children to prematurely verbalise their personal stories? How do immigrant children dramatise between themselves and with their teachers the conflicted dynamics of their cultural transformation? How does the cinematic process generate a milieu for young migrant actors, to be multi-vocal?