Different from All the “Others”: Mobility and Independence among Greenlandic Students in Denmark

Janne Flora

Abstract

Contrary to popular belief, Greenlandic students do not always study in Denmark because they have no other choice. Many choose to study abroad and regard their time there (in Denmark and beyond) as part and parcel with their education, stating that education is not only for their own social mobility but also contributes to Greenland’s future of independence from Denmark. The article is based on a small survey and follow-up ethnographic interviews in 2011 and 2012. Through the analytical lens of cultural citizenship and “the right to be different,” this article explores how students navigate the field of tension between stereotypes about Greenlanders and Danes, belonging, distance, (im)mobility, and the future of a nation. It argues that students’ assertion of their own difference can be seen as a rejection but also an embrace of Danish, as well as Greenlandic, cultural and legal citizenships.

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