Ioana Țîștea

My doctoral research at Tampere University is a study of educational knowledge production ‘about’, ‘for’, with and by minoritized people in a Nordic/Finnish context through reflexivity, autoethnography, and genealogy. Firstly, I analyze the uses of reflexivity in minority-related Nordic educational research with the aim of addressing inequalities in knowledge production. Secondly, I analyze my own reflexivity by critically reflecting on my journey of ‘becoming’ an autoethnographer, which started with observing my participation with my classmates in a migrant integration course for one year in Oulu, Finland. Thirdly, I construct a genealogy of the production of educational knowledge for the ‘integration’ of minoritized people in Finland in order to show how ‘integration’ discourses are historically constituted.

My mother gave birth to me in November 1989, three weeks before the communist regime collapsed in Romania. It was a metaphoric end of history, a collective dive into ideological snaps and changes, the uncertainty of what was to come. It was also the beginning of a new life, full of hopes and fears. This new life was discursively, economically, and geopolitically framed as ‘transition’ from socialism to capitalism. In my mother’s eyes, this new life was embodied in her daughter, and later also in her son, born one year and a half later.

The historical rupture that took place during 1989 in many postsocialist countries constitutes a metaphorical border that cuts across those who came into the world during that rupture, including myself. We were later socialised and educated in line with that rupture, within a ‘transition’ discursive framework, in a system that devalued our histories and our parents’ socialist pasts. We, members of the newer generations, often responded to these devaluations by ridiculing our socialist histories and by internalising inferiority complexes that manifest through taking for granted neoliberal capitalist modernity as the only valid modernity to which we must adapt. By reflecting on memories with/lived-by members of my family who grew up during socialism, I can reconcile with a socialist past that I have only heard/read about and thus regain a sense of personal and mutual coherence.