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Internationalised School Teachers’ Experiences of Precarity as Part of the Global Middle Class in China: Towards Resilience Capital


The purpose of this study was to explore three International School Teachers’ experiences as part of the Global Middle Class (GMC) in China. This group is worthy of study, as their numbers are increasingly growing, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. However, little has been written about the negative aspects of sustained global mobility or how individuals, as opposed to families, accrue and deploy cosmopolitan capital for social advantage. In-depth interviewing was employed in order to bring into focus the participants’ experiences of prolonged mobility. In addition to highlighting the precarious aspects of being part of the GMC, the study also identified and illustrated a new form of capital that emerged during data collection and analysis, which was labelled ‘resilience capital’. Resilience capital is produced when teachers take a more positive attitude towards negative or precarious experiences, utilising them in order to develop skills, dispositions and endurance which also can be converted into more traditional economic and cultural forms of capital.

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  1. In this paper, I make a distinction between International School Teachers (ISTs) who teach in more traditional international schools, and Internationalised School Teachers who teach in internationalised schools. This is done to recognise that the contexts in which these two groups work are significantly different which will impact upon the prevalence of precarity and the nature and availability of social and cultural capital.


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I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for feedback on an earlier draft. I would also like to thank Dr. Cora Lingling Xu and my dear friend Giovanna Comerio for additional feedback and encouragement. Recommended listening whilst reading the article: Red Moon/Dónde Está La Playa/Seven Years of Holidays by The Walkmen.

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Correspondence to Adam Poole.

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Poole, A. Internationalised School Teachers’ Experiences of Precarity as Part of the Global Middle Class in China: Towards Resilience Capital. Asia-Pacific Edu Res 29, 227–235 (2020).

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  • Internationalised School Teachers
  • Internationalised/international schools in China
  • Global middle class
  • Resilience capital