CITIZENSHIP AS EXPERIENCE: THE LIVES AND LABOURS OF OVERSEAS INDONESIAN SCHOLARS

Inditian Latifa, Annisa R. Beta

Abstract

The “brain train” has emerged as a predominant narrative in developmentalist discourse portraying overseas scholars as unencumbered individuals riding the train from developing to developed countries for social and economic mobility. In this article, we problematize the metaphorical use of “brain” to describe overseas scholars as self-serving calculative individuals by approaching the scholars as subjects whose practices are contingent in specific geopolitical constructs and shaped by hierarchies of emotions. We take into account the individual stories of Indonesian scholars who currently work in Western academic institutions and look at the interplay between emotions and notions of citizenship as experienced and practiced by the scholars. The article contends that emotional relationships with the nation, despite notions of deterritorialization of citizenship, is difficult to escape for it endures and retains its presence despite vulnerabilities and struggles the scholar has to deal with. Further, the tenacity of the scholars‟ experiences in the territories they inhabit today not only question the notion of brain train, but also challenges the notions of nation and citizenship imagined and aggressively mobilized by the nation-state.

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