Going to school in 'Disneyland': Imagining an international school community in Indonesia

Danau Tanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


© Scalabrini Migration Center 2016.Across Asia, English-medium international schools have been established to cater to children of expatriate workers, serial migrants and affluent local families. These schools market themselves as 'international' by drawing on the multinational composition of their student body. Yet, the methodological nationalism of much of the existing research rarely addresses the structural inequalities promoted by these schools. In contrast, this article uses methodological cosmopolitanism and postcolonial perspectives to draw attention to the way socio-economic privilege, and its frequent racialization as 'white,' turns the international school environment into an imagined community that normalizes Western expatriate perceptions of 'home,' which in turn relegates the host country, Indonesia, to the background of a temporary life overseas. A year-long ethnographic research showed, however, that the diverse transnational backgrounds of the students challenge the boundaries of the international school bubble to show that binary notions of home/away and migrant/native are constructed rather than self-evident.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-450
Number of pages22
JournalAsian and Pacific Migration Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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