Accepted paper:

Change the world or change myself? Reflections from an international school in China


Michal Assa-Inbar (Hebrew University of Jerusaelm)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will introduce the call for change as an ideal value in the global arena. The talk will examine the role of the call-for-change discourse, its characteristics and the modes of its implementation in order to create a unified and collective identity in an educational global site.

Paper long abstract:

Globalization Theory broadly deals with the question of whether a defined identity of global citizenship has evolved, or is the particular and local or national identity still the central one. In this lecture I will employ the anthropological perspective in order to shed light on the practical dimensions of this general and theoretic question. This paper will elaborate on the creation process of a 'Citizen of the World'. More specifically, I will explore how the call-for-change as part of a larger, engaging discourse on 'Global Issues' in an international school, is represented formally by the school and perceived in practice by the students. Based on Ulrich Beck's conceptualization of World Risk Society (1992) and The cosmopolitan look (2006), this paper wishes to unfold the way the call-for-change works to implement a cosmopolitan awareness and hence create a common perspective while at the same time challenging Beck's view. These ideas will be examined in light of data collected in ethnographic study on daily life at an international school in China. Working as a 'Globalization laboratory', this school operates as a site where abstract values of global change receive concrete meaning and a specific interpretation in a defined place. The paper will be based on a workshop for high school students, conducted by a representative of a Canadian organization, aiming to 'change the world', and working particularly in the area of child labor. In addition, written responses of the students to the workshop will be analyzed as well.

panel P056
Obsession with change