Volume 11, 2019
Germán D. Fernández-Vavrik
Newleavers and Educational Institutions
Revisiting Schutz’s Research on Strangers with an Intercultural Approach
As a consequence of the explosion of enrollments, higher education institutions have been confronted by new categories of students the last forty years. In this paper, cultural and political dimensions of the integration of students into educational institutions will be explored. The focus will be on the experience of what I called “newleavers,” namely, people who are leaving their environment of origin without knowing if they will return. The contradictory commitments and challenges faced by newleavers will be studied with a sociological approach based on intercultural, phenomenological and praxiological research. To sketch an analysis of the experience of newleavers in general, I will explore strangeness and uprooting in an educational setting; the research is based on the experience of Huarpes students at the University of Cuyo, in Argentina. I claim that newleavers who keep ties with their environment of origin develop an “ethnographic stance,” namely, a moral posture and a cognitive perspective allowing them to critically identify rules, norms, and values, by comparing environments and groups.