29. september 2014

Converting experiences in communities of practice: 'educational' migration in Denmark and achievements of Ukrainian agricultural apprentices

This article looks at ‘educational’ migration instigated by the Danish programme of agricultural apprenticeships, which since the late 1990s has brought many young Ukrainians to rural Denmark. It discusses discrepancies between the logic of achievement implied by the programme’s ideology on the one hand, and Ukrainian apprentices’ aspirations to social mobility on the other hand. In this way, the article questions the concept of ‘community of practice’ that has been used to describe the formation of a social persona sharing the values of this community. Using ethnographic case studies of former apprentices, I argue that while apprenticeships often fail to produce a shared social and professional identity within a community of practice, there are many ways in which the experiences afforded by Danish apprenticeships lead to (sometimes unforeseen) achievements.

Vera Skvirskaja: "Converting experiences in ‘communities of practice’: ‘educational’ migration in Denmark and achievements of Ukrainian agricultural apprentices" in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, July 2014