Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Globalization/s: Reproduction and Resistance in the Internationalization of Higher Education

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Globalization/s: Reproduction and Resistance in the Internationalization of Higher Education

Article excerpt

Internationalization is changing the world of higher education, and globalization is changing the world of internationalization.

(Knight, 2004, p. 5)

To call globalization a form of human imaginary, opens the possibility for that imaginary to be not only critiqued but also revisioned when subject to influences that can reveal its limitations.

(Smith, 1999a, p. 4)

We are surrounded by images, messages, news bytes, and constant reminders that we are part of 'one world,' whether through natural disasters, human-generated crises, commercial messages to consume, media and technology-assisted connectivity, or as part of the ongoing everyday movement of ideas, people, and things within and across borders. These mobilities and flows are exerting an enormous influence on many aspects of our life, education included. As we are called on in this Special Edition to reflect on the shifting landscape of Canadian education in globalized times, my own commentary will be located in the rapidly changing terrain of a particular field of education that is considered to be a product of and even a response to globalization: international education and the phenomenon known as internationalization of higher education.

The prevalent understanding of internationalization, widely used by Canadian universities and colleges, is that it is a process integrating an inter-cultural and international dimension into all areas of the university (Knight, 2003). Internationalization of higher education is not considered to be the same as globalization (Knight, 2004), although in recent times internationalization scholars such as de Wit (2011) are concluding that "it seems that both terms act like two connected universes, making it impossible to draw a distinctive line between them" (Brandenburg & de Wit, 2011, p. 16). In the face of these apparent connections and contestations, it is surprising, however, that apart from a few assertions--such as the Knight (2004) quote about the two phenomena--there is little consideration in Canadian research on internationalization of the relationship between globalization and internationalization. Are there distinctions between the phenomena and, if so, what are they? What are the influences of globalization on higher education, and the internationalization of higher education? What are the implications for practice in Canadian higher education? What rationales and theoretical foundations drive internationalization, and how is research supporting its development?

The apparent reluctance to explore these questions may be related to the common association of internationalization with the manifestation of neoliberal discourses of globalization (Smith, 1999b). I have argued elsewhere that theorizing internationalization must begin with an analysis of the complex connections between globalization and internationalization to both critique harmful influences and to also re-align internationalization towards ethical and principled practices (Beck, 2009). As Marginson and Rhoades (2002) argue, globalization is simply identified in educational discourse rather than theorized. In this paper, I will take up the call to theorize globalization, and will consider the desirable and unintended consequences of the influences of one on the other, examining in particular the possibilities for re-imagining internationalization. In other words, I am interested in seeing how recognizing multiple globalizations may also encourage us to recognize a multiplicity in internationalization processes, to provide points of theoretical pathways to resist the influences of instrumentalist rationales. A conceptual discussion of these issues will be the focus of this paper--a discussion, I argue, whose implications are important for Canadian internationalization efforts.

I will begin with a very brief overview of what is known about Canadian internationalization, identifying the gaps in our knowledge. …

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