Svetla Koleva from the JustEdu project presented a paper “Moral experiences in and between ‘small societies’. The case of graduates from Africa who studied in Bulgaria” at the XXIst Congress of the International Association of French Speaking Sociologists “The Moral Society” held online on 12-16 July 2021 in Tunis. The paper was presented in session 2 of the Research Committee 24 “Small Societies and Knowledge Construction”.

Abstract: What are moral ordeals of studying and working in and between different non-hegemonic “small societies” with their specific social, political, ideological, cultural and institutional worlds? Based on the research projects “Dynamics of Inequalities in Participation in Higher and Adult Education: A Comparative Social Justice Perspective “ (JustEdu) supported by the Bulgarian Science Fund, National Scientific Program “Vihren”, the paper examines Africans who, after having studied at university in Bulgaria in the 1960s-1980s, stayed there or returned to their countries of origin, and discusses the tensions between the moral principles of the society of origin and the host society. Particular emphasis is placed on forms of institutional eclipse of the Other in the state practices of the host and home countries and forms of rejection of the Other in individual and collective everyday behavior in order to discuss their ethical implications and effects on social trust, social cohesion, public engagement of citizens as important public goods.