The article explores how foreign students discover and experience the space of their hosting city, as reflected by their discourse about the common landmarks and places of the urban space. Our study concerns a specific social group that is in-between a local inhabitant and a tourist staying only a short time in a city – students in the situation of mobility. To study in what ways these students talk about the city, how they position themselves in respect of its space, adopting different viewpoints, we analyze, by a series of interviews conducted with them, how their discourse reveals the process of the appropriation of the hosting space. We examine first how the cognitive appropriation process of a city space is reflected in students’ discourse in general, in what elements it appears and also how it is constructed and developed during the interview. We focus then on the answers to the question concerning a postcard representing Tartu where the discourse of students reveals the best the in-between status of the foreign students, standing between an exterior observer and an “expert” of the city. The most explicit fluctuation between the viewpoints is reflected in personal pronouns use, the more implicit ways are observed in the ways of describing the places, and in the argumentations about the discussed postcard. Furthermore, we also point out the impact of the interview as a disposal for interviewed persons to think about these spatial relations for themselves and for their perception of space in general.
Copyright (c) 2019 Marge Käsper, Anu Treikelder
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