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Accepted Paper:

Negotiating the boundaries, exercising authorship: A Critical approach to Education for refugees.  
Helia Rahbarikorroyeh (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

This study addresses the issue of adult education for refugees and its potential employment in fighting exclusion in socio-economic spheres by focusing on how, through the self-authorship of education, refugees can exercise agency in confronting the more persistent structural barriers.

Paper long abstract:

This study looks at how education can be employed as an instrument in the hands of refugees in negotiating the inclusion-exclusion boundaries and how, through the self-authorship (McPherson 2015) of education, refugees can exercise agency in confronting the structural barriers.

While education policies play a substantial role in determining the spaces of inclusion and exclusion that refugees must navigate, it is also important to assess their effectiveness in the light of the role of dominant discourses of neoliberalism, state racism and racist populism in shaping the "types" of citizens that refugees are expected to be (become) (Ahmed 2004), and the socioeconomic spaces they are expected (permitted) to occupy in society.

Through a set of ethnographical methods including participatory observations, interviews and arts-based workshops in a language learning centre for Syrian refugees in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, this study seeks to have a closer look at the dialogue between the educational policies and its practice by refugees in a context of exclusion and self-authorship.

The findings of the study shed light on a critical approach to education for refugees and the role of self-authorship in fighting the structural barriers.


• Ahmed, Sara. (2004). The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Oxon: Routledge.

• McPherson, Melinda. (2015). Refugee women, representation and education: creating a discourse of self-authorship and potential. Oxon; Routledge.


Helia Rahbarikorroyeh is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Aberdeen. She completed her degrees at the University of Tehran and Stockholm where she worked as a journalist and blogger

Panel P152
From good immigrants to good citizens: mapping the space of conditional inclusion
  Session 1 Wednesday 15 August, 2018, -