Dervin [Abstract]

The repression of us- and we-hoods in European exchange students’ narratives about their experiences in Finland     [Full text]

 Fred Dervin [1]

Abstract: This paper is based on a postmodern approach to identity, i.e. identity is seen as unfixed, transient and contextually created. Through the narratives of French Erasmus exchange students on their daily lives in Finland, I demonstrate how they express, enact and co-construct multiple and unstable identifications with the various groups they interact with (us-/we-/they-hoods). Due to their specific status in the host country (they are ‘passing’ foreigners), Erasmus exchange students experience what can be described as “être-ensemble”. But what are the impacts of such a context on the ways the students talk about themselves and others (Finns, people from their own country and other Erasmus students)? The Erasmus programme is often portrayed by students themselves but also policy makers and researchers as a time of strong communal and intercultural experiences. Is this a postmodern myth? Based on interviews with Erasmus students from the Turku campus (south-western Finland), the analysis of pronoun uses and represented discourses in French will help to provide some answers to the complex question of identification.

Keywords: Identification, discourse analysis, Erasmus, Finland, togetherness

[1] Department of French Studies, University of Turku,