Francesca Gobbo insegna e fa ricerca su temi culturali ed educativi, che caratterizzano oggi le società complesse occidentali, attraverso un approccio comparativo e interdisciplinare che combina la filosofia dell’educazione con le prospettive dell’antropologia culturale e dell’antropologia dell’educazione, esplorando sia i problemi relativi ai differenziali di potere nello studio della diversità, sia le strategie politiche ed educative che promuovono l’idea di una cultura nazionale omogenea e contemporaneamente producono, o fanno persistere, culture di minoranza.
Ha svolto ricerche etnografiche tra la minoranza linguistica degli arberesh in Calabria, la minoranza religiosa valdese in Piemonte e la minoranza occupazionale degli attrazionisti viaggianti (in Veneto), e ha coordinato numerose ricerche etnografiche nelle scuole frequentate da alunni immigrati o figli di immigrati.
Francesca Gobbo is Professor of Intercultural Education at the University of Turin (Italy), where she also teaches Anthropology of Education. She was Fulbright grantee (1969), Research Assistant at UC Berkeley (1973-74), Research Assistant with the Carnegie Foundation at YaleUniversity (1974), Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley (1995) and HarvardUniversity (2001).
She studies and teaches contemporary educational issues from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective that combines educational theory with methodological and theoretical approaches from the fields of cultural anthropology and anthropology of education. She coordinates research on Italian schools attended by immigrant pupils, and has carried out ethnographic research among her country’s “internal minorities” such as the Albanian speaking minority of Calabria, the Waldensian religious minority in Piedmont and the occupational minority of travelling fairground and circus people. Her contribution to the understanding of these Italian minority group’s meaning of education and schooling experience is relevant to the widening of the discourse and research on intercultural education, as it questions definitions of multiculturalism and interculture as exclusive results of the migratory flows, underlines the problem of power balance (or lack of it) as a fundamental one for an intercultural perspective and singles out the political as well as educational strategies that foster the idea of a homogeneous national culture while continuing to produce minority culture’s persistence.
Her long standing professional interests in the cultural and social changes obtaining in complex societies (particularly in the North America and in European countries) and in their schools developed first from her studies and research in anthropology of education, and continued with her participation into associations such as the “International Association for Intercultural Education” and the “European Education Research Association”. In the latter she was linkperson for the network “Social Justice and Intercultural Education”, and was one of the founding members of network “Ethnography”. Her involvement into educational research at the international level is indicated by her participation into Comenius projects.
She was Associate Editor in Chief of Intercultural Education from 2005 to 2007, and besides being on this journal’s board, she is also on the editorial boards of the European Educational Research Journal, Ethnography and Education, and International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning.