22 SES 11 C, Troubling Mobilities in Higher Education
Internationalisation is a polyvalent discourse in HE. Stier (2004) suggests that three ideologies underpin internationalisation policy development: idealism e.g. creating a better world; instrumentalism e.g. competing in a global economy and the fear of being economically outflanked; and educationalism e.g. the desire to develop dialogic capacity within intercultural competencies. However, internationalisation is often presented as an ideologically neutral, coherent, knowledge-driven policy intervention. This representation can mask its commercial opportunities, financial, ethical and social implications (Haigh, 2008). This paper examines internationalisation of higher education (HE) discourses and practices in relation to equity and exclusions. Research questions include: 1. What are the dominant discourses that are informing visions of the future of higher education in relation to internationalisation? 2. How does internationalisation interact with current and emerging structures of inequality? Drawing on the theoretical framework of the new mobilities’ paradigm (Sheller & Urry, 2006), which suggests a set of questions, theories, and methodologies rather than a totalising or reductive description of the contemporary world, we argue that mobility can result in the empowerment of some and the inaudibility of others. While internationalisation is conceptualised as a form of desirable capital for institutions and individuals in terms of employability, marketability and powerful transnational coalitions and networks, there are spatial and social connotations of international mobility (Kauppinen, 2012; Shields, 2013). The global circulation of epistemic currents disrupts traditional notions of space and place. This opens up new opportunities but can also reproduce longstanding social hierarchies. There are forms of social closure that mobility can uphold, and questions about hidden populations in internationalisation. Scott’s (2005) criticism of the inequities inherent in academic mobility dynamics are rarely addressed in policy speeches or reports. While the Equality Challenge Unit in the UK has undertaken studies and produced briefings on the intersections between internationalisation and equity (e.g. ECU, 2009, 2013), epistemological, ontological or ethical issues associated with the new forms of international academic mobility remain marginal within policy discourses.
Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) (2009). Internationalising Equality, Equalising Internationalisation: The Intersection between internationalisation and equality and diversity in higher education: scoping report. London: Equality Challenge Unit. Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) (2013). Improving the experiences of international staff in UK higher education. London: Equality Challenge Unit. Haigh, M. (2008). Internationalisation, Planetary Citizenship and Higher Education Inc. Compare, 38 (4), 427–440. Kauppinen, I. (2012). Towards transnational academic capitalism. Higher Education, 64:543–556. Scott, P. (2005). The other side of mobility: Future visions. Keynote address. Academic Cooperation Conference: The Other Side of Mobility, Stockholm. Sheller M. & Urry, J. (2006). The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning 38 (2), 207–226. Shields, R. (2013). Globalization and International Student Mobility: A Network Analysis. Comparative Education Review, 57 (4), 609-636. Stier, J. (2004). Taking a critical stance toward internationalization ideologies in higher education: idealism, instrumentalism and educationalism. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 2 (1), 83-97.
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