Learning in Third Spaces: A study examining non-formal educational practices in the multicultural sociocultural landscapes of Oslo and Moscow


This thesis aims to explore the meanings and values that non-formal learning practices conducted in open third spaces manifest in relation to the sociocultural landscape of a multicultural city. Two sample settings are Oslo and Moscow—cities that significantly differ in culture, population size, diversity patterns and wealth index, to mention just a few factors. However, the phenomenon of third spaces (and a culture of NFL around them) is shared and, in this sense, their unlikeness provides an opportunity for a more nuanced and contextualized discussion. The study builds upon the data from qualitative interviews supplemented by observations and the media review. The informants are those who create and manage thirds spaces, run NFL practices and set their agenda: programming directors of museums, libraries, cultural centers, and public spaces of a similar sort. The ambition of such spaces is generally twofold: to shape an intellectual environment of the city as well as to contribute to a stronger sense of community. The data was analyzed through the conceptual lenses of the liquid modernity theory with a specific focus on such concepts as globalization, diversity, non-formal learning and city as a social construct. Third spaces were studied as sociocultural contexts in which particular educational practices are conducted to create a shared experience in the joy of learning. Throughout the study I argue for a number of reasons why third spaces play a critical role in contemporary multicultural urban societies. I assert that through open non-formal educational practices third spaces help construct local communities and bolster a sense of belonging and shared identity. All of these factors make life in the city better-knit, more secure and fulfilling. The study contributes to the fields of educational studies and urban anthropology shedding light on the interconnectedness of non-formal educational practices in third spaces and cohesiveness of a multicultural city.Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdannin

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