Rethinking Gentrification in the Era of Global Education

Authors: Shanshan Jiang*, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Topics: Urban Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism, Qualitative Research
Keywords: gentrification, global education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2016, international students in the U.S. topped one million, of which 67 percent were self-supported (Institute of International Education, 2016). As an increasing number of middle class and upper middle class students, particularly from newly industrialized countries in Asia, study in the U.S., their educational, social and cultural needs developed in home country have been transforming the local goods and housing in U.S. university towns. In particular, cities, universities and real estate developers have flocked to build luxury residences for this population, expecting high returns on their investment. In Madison, Wisconsin, expedited gentrification spurred by the high-end apartment construction booms have not only altered low-income residents’ living experiences, but also invigorated racializing practices that cemented segregation within the city. This ethnographic research investigates how the global educational mobility, co-facilitated by nation-states, universities, and corporations, responds to and reshapes local housing and the established social relations. It specifically focuses on the educational migration of middle class students from the rapidly urbanizing city of Shenzhen, China, to the gentrifying Midwestern city of Madison in the U.S. Building on literature of neoliberalism, globalization of education , performativity of space, and race and racialization, this project examines how the wealth and values produced in one city reshape and are reshaped by those in another. Moreover, it unveils how this global education trend operates amid the flow and flux of other factors, such as “racializing” or othering practices that both the local residents and the elite Chinese students exercise to reconstruct cities.

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