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The Australian National University

Ms Gabrielle Desilets

Position: PhD candidate in Anthropology


Research Interests: Social change, urban anthropology, migrations, immigration and population movements, cosmopolitanism and transnationalism, nationalisms and post-nationalisms, pluralism and multiculturalism, late-modernity, issues of identity construction and notions of belonging

Thesis title: Transnational Mobility and Cosmopolitan Identifications: The case of adults ‘Third Culture Kids' (ATCKs)
This project is grounded in the fast growing anthropological literature on globalization. More particularly, it focuses on the cultural consequences of mobility and on the transnationalization of an increasing number of person's lives engendered by the advent of late-capitalism along with advancements in technologies of transport and communication in the past decades. Its main focus is on the construction of cosmopolitan identifications among people who identify as adult third-culture-kids (ATCKs). ATCKs are highly mobile individuals who self-identify on the basis of having been raised and having lived in different countries and culture since early childhood, generally because of their parent's occupation (Pollock and Van Reken 1999).

In my work, I focus on the ethical, cultural and political dimensions of cosmopolitanism, which is understood as a disposition of openness , “an orientation and willingness to engage with the other” (Hannerz 1990:239) and to celebrate cultural diversity rather than homogeneity. It is a cultural competence, a personal ability to make one's way into diverse ways of life and systems of meaning.

My fieldwork takes place in two ‘ Global Cities ' (Sassen 2001); Melbourne and Singapore . I will look at the institutionalization of cosmopolitan values (intercultural understanding, knowledge and competence) through ‘international education', conducting fieldwork in two schools offering the Diploma Program of the International Baccalaureate (IB). Indeed, international schools appear as nodes around which globally mobile families revolve, thus as important sites to recruit potential participants. Subsequently, because of the prevalence of the Internet as a prime information and communication media, especially for globally mobile people; another segment of my research will take place Online, interacting on social networking sites, blogs and forums for TCKs and the for the schools' communities. In addition to providing essential data and resources, these networks serve as platforms to form associative groups and organise face-to-face meeting in which I will participate.



Désilets, Gabrielle. ( Under evaluation ). 2010. “ Stratégies cosmopolites : vers un meilleur « vivre ensemble » au sein de la communauté baha'ie de Montréal  ». Revue Diversité Urbaine. Montréal. ( ).

Désilets, Gabrielle. 2010. “ Valuing ethnic and linguistic diversity within the Baha'i community in Montreal: an ethnographic study ”. Paper presented in the workshop: “ Home outside the home? Building inclusive public spaces”. Twelfth National Conference Metropolis, under the theme of Immigration and Diversity in Montreal from 18-21 March 2010.

Désilets, Gabrielle, 2009. “ Le cosmopolitisme dans la foi Baha'ie : vers la négociation d'une identité internationale ”. Masters Thesis (Fr.). Electronic document accessible online: .

Désilets, Gabrielle, 2009. « Le rôle de la mobilité internationale et des liens transnationaux dans la construction du cosmopolitisme baha'i ». Round Table at 11 th Edition of CEETUM Symposium, Theme: Liens transnationaux : échanges et circulation . Montréal, le 2-3 avril 2009.

Désilets, Gabrielle. ( Accepted ). «  Cosmopolitanism in the Baha'i community of Montreal  ». Working Paper Series, Diversité Urbaine, Montréal. ( )

Désilets, Gabrielle, 2008. The Baha'i Faith: Transcending Ethnicity in Favour of Global Unification. Round Table at CASCA Conference (Canadian Anthropology Society) “Ethnography: Entanglements and Ruptures”. May 8 th -10 th 2008, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

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