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 “Family timing” and reflexive learning in highly skilled international mobility. The case of Swedish medical professionals
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the paper, we discuss how a “family timing” may be a crucial factor in international mobility and result in reflexive learning outside the occupational context. The paper is based on narrative interviews with Swedish physicians and molecular biologists. In the stories, the family often creates a kind of inertia and complication for working abroad. The interviewees’ dreams of career development, learning new theories and methods or “making a difference” in the world must be negotiated with a partner pursuing his/her own career, as well as the rest of the family. But mobility is also regarded as an amazing opportunity for the whole family to learn about new cultural and social contexts, even though the prolonged stay abroad means both hardships and benefits and there are a lot of logistics and practicalities to take care of. We discuss the informants’ experiences of how international mobility influences gender roles and the ideals of dual careers, equal relationship and a respectful parenthood, vital parts of the image of Swedish middle class. For the specialists, a proper “family timing” and different strategies for “family adjustment” are vital aspects in for evaluating the stay as successful – even a rewarding job and excellent professional learning may fall short if the children or partner are miserable. The stay abroad is, however, regarded as a time for both professional learning and a valuable learning for the whole family, questioning the taken for granted and acquiring social and cultural skills and extended reflexive knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
highly skilled, mobility, family, family timing, learning, gender, parenthood
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120135OAI: diva2:926804
International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences's (IUAES) Inter-Congress "World anthropologies and privatization of knowledge: engaging anthropology in public to be held in Dubrovnik", 4th to 9th May 2016
Available from: 2016-05-09 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2016-05-09

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Wolanik Boström, Katarzyna
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Faculty of ArtsDepartment of culture and media studies

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