Phantasmagoria of the global learner: Unlikely global learners and the hierarchy of learning

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  • 1 Cornell University ndoerr@ramapo.edu
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Abstract

Though the concept ‘global learner’ has become a buzzword in education, few have critically analysed it. This article examines three types of ‘unlikely global learners’ who are not usually considered global learners even though they could be, according to a current definition: Māori–English bilingual students in Aotearoa/New Zealand; an American student who studied abroad in the U.K. in ways not valued in the dominant study-abroad discourse of immersion; and immigrant English-as-a-Second-Language students in the U.S. I analyse what their erasure as global learners tells us, arguing that the notion of global learner acts as what Walter Benjamin calls a phantasmagoria that masks the power relations involved. Though critical of ‘global learners’ as a globalist concept, I call for expanding the notion in order to engage with current transformations in education.

Contributor Notes

Neriko Musha Doerr received a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Cornell University. Her research interests include politics of difference, language and power, and education in Japan, Aotearoa/New Zealand, the United States, and during study abroad and alternative break trips. Her publications include Meaningful Inconsistencies: Bicultural Nationhood, Free Market, and Schooling in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Berghahn, 2009) and Constructing the Heritage Language Learner: Knowledge, Power, and New Subjectivities (Mouton de Gruyter, 2013). She currently teaches at Ramapo College in New Jersey, U.S.A. E-mail: ndoerr@ramapo.edu

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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