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Global Youth


An interdisciplinary research centre that examines what it means to grow up in a global world


Youth mobility webinar series week 3: Australia

By UCL Global Youth, on 12 April 2021

To view a recording of this webinar, visit our Youtube channel.

On Tuesday 18 May, 2021, 9am UK time. Register for this event on Eventbrite.

Temporality in Mobile Lives: Contemporary Asia-Australia Migration and Everyday Time

In this week’s seminar, Dr. Shanthi Robertson explores the lives of middleclass Asian young people who arrived in Australia during the first decades of the 21st century on temporary visas. Belonging to a generation for whom ‘global’ life experience (often in the form of transient mobilities for study and work rather than classical settler migration) has become culturally normative, these mobile young people have specific expectations about how their mobility will facilitate their trajectories into adult life. However, as the paper seeks to show, these aspirations and imaginaries of transnational mobility play out in diverse and uneven outcomes, particularly in the unfolding of migrants’ biographies over time, as well as in their everyday lived experiences of time in different places.

Drawing on extensive narrative interviews and visual ethnographic material, this paper focuses on how experiences of cultural, social and embodied time are shaped by the migration process. Using the concept of ‘chronomobilities’, which draws on ideas of ‘time-regimes’ (the macro and mesoscale temporal conditions that shape contemporary social life) and ‘time-logics’ (the way individuals narrate and make meaning of their lived experiences of time) the analysis reveals how migrant experiences and biographies are changing under the socio-temporal conditions of modernity and how multiple lived experiences of time structure relations to work, place and intimate life.

About the author:

Shanthi Robertson is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and an Institute Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, specializing in migration and diversity, youth studies and urban social change. She has completed an Australian Research Council (ARC) fellowship on Asian temporary migrants to Australia and is currently Chief Investigator on three ARC Discovery and Linkage projects that focus on: the economic, social and civic outcomes of transnational youth mobility for young people moving into and out of Australia for work, leisure and study; the role of autonomous technology in the social inclusion of migrants living with disability in Sydney; and the changing social civic practices in Sydney suburbs with high numbers of Chinese heritage residents. Her most recent publications appear in Geoforum, Current Sociology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Journal of Youth Studies. Her second book, Temporality in Mobile Lives: Contemporary Asia-Australia Migration and Everyday Time, was published by Bristol University Press January 2021.

This series is hosted by the UCL Centre for Global Youth and co-organised by Dr. Avril Keating (Director of the Centre), Dr Sazana Jayadeva (University of Cambridge) and Rachel Benchekroun (UCL-IOE). The series is funded by IOE International.

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