06.12.2023 - 10:00
Labor, Mobility and Migration Guest Lecture by Yu-chin Tseng
Students, Workers or Cash Cows? The Double-Commodification of Southeast Asian Students in Taiwan | Wed, December 6, 2023, 10 am CET
Hybrid event – Room LE 736 (Campus Duisburg) and online via Zoom
Yu-chin Tseng ist Researcher at the Department of Chinese Studies, University of Tübingen.
Zoom Link: https://uni-due.zoom-x.de/j/69068738996?pwd=Y2lUKytPVVNwTGlYTEN0bkovMkJQQT09
For information on the whole lecture series please refer to:
International student flows in higher education between Asian countries have increased rapidly over the last decade. Building upon recent work on shifting patterns of intra-Asia student mobility and the labour migration in Asia, this lecture examines a unique case that is the convergence of these two, the government-led student-worker scheme, International Program of Industry-Academia Collaboration (IPIAC) in Taiwan. The IPIAC targets Southeast Asian students and provides opportunities for students to study in Taiwan while having vocational internships as an essential part of the degree program.
Drawing on interviews with Southeast Asian students studying in Taiwan and faculty members of Taiwanese universities, this research first gives accounts to the main factors that facilitate this unique practice: the neoliberal transformation of higher education and the labour market in Taiwan, and kinship and social networks that influence students’ choice of studying in Taiwan. The economic ties between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries, including business investments, Taiwan’s reliance on contracted labour migration from certain Southeast Asian countries, and businesses in Taiwan largely relying on migrant workers to provide affordable labour, have laid the ground for the practices and popularity of the student-worker scheme. Furthermore, the aim of this research is to make an innovative inquiry on the ‘double commodification’ of the student-worker scheme in Taiwan, where students are treated as commodities on both the higher education and the labour markets. The author argues that the IPIAC is the convergence of student mobility and contracted labour migration, and it responds to both the high demands of the fee-paying students and the cheap labour forces through the process of double-commodification of students in an invisible way, which corresponds to the growing trend of seeing students as more affordable and flexible labour.
Yu-chin Tseng was appointed Junior Professor at University of Tübingen in 2018, and since then she has been serving as co-director of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT). She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Essex in 2015. Her research interests lie in the area of gender, mobility, and intimacy in the context of Asia and Europe. Her current research comprises three main streams: the health behaviours and wellbeing of international students in Taiwan and in Germany; intimate mobilities and their correlation with states in Asia; China’s digital public diplomacy and its outreach to overseas Chinese in Europe. She has published widely on the topics of marriage migrants, gender and family, and China’s public diplomacy. Her latest publication, China’s Twitter Diplomacy in Germany: Practices, Reactions, and Discrepancies, was published in the Journal of Contemporary China in 2023.