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Unpacking distinction within mobility: social prestige and international students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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  • Embargoed (until 10/08/20)


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This paper investigates the complex ways in which young people engage in social distinction within international mobility. The study offers novel conceptual and empirical insights by examining how distinction and social advantage is reproduced through short‐term student mobility from the Global North to the Global South. In doing so, it elucidates the iterative process of distinction‐making within mobility and argues that young mobile people negotiate a tension between different forms of distinction. Specifically, it unpacks and conceptualises distinction into dual categories—collective and individual—and suggests that students alternate and waver between these categories in order to both validate and elevate their position within a mobility hierarchy. The paper also considers how particular places are viewed as more distinctive and affording greater gains in cultural and symbolic capital. It concludes with future interrogations and ways forward for research on international mobility and distinction.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2190
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number5
Early online date10 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Distinction, Symbolic capital, Cultural capital, International study, Mobility, Global South

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