9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Euroidentities. The Evolution of European Identity: Using biographical methods to study the development of European identity. Part II Building II, C2.02

Cross-cultural experiences and exchanges: capacities and identifications

Europe has become a widely open cultural space for various exchanges in multiple fields of everyday human conduct. Thus understanding of the ways these cross-cultural exchanges which occur within the context of various activities relate with or affect individual identity building as well as identifications on a broader scale of Europe, is assumed to gain increasing theoretical as well as practical significance. More specifically, the paper discusses adult individuals? immediate personal experiences in another country they have moved to for different reasons and under various circumstances of their lives; be it a carefully designed individual strategy or an adventurous move. The paper therefore observes, in particular, how people perceive such culturally heavily loaded time-space transformations linking their entire life experiences in actual physical as well as in symbolic terms. It is argued that regardless of an initial motivation for moving individuals tend to get involved in an enlarged circle of activities beyond field boundaries - an inevitable effect of relatedness between fields of human conduct (a parallel to career studies) as well as of inter-field convertibility of individual capacities. The originally Bourdieusian convertibility thesis suggests an attempt to build the analysis of European identities on the study of capacities gained in the experience of cross-cultural exchanges.
The paper draws on the preliminary analysis of the data collected in Estonia within the framework of EU FP7 ?Euroidentities?. The selected biographies, avoiding stereotypical approaches, represent individuals having moved to Estonia since after the last profound political change in the nineties.