Dominant or dominating? Imaginaries of higher education in Turkey and Northern Syria

By Jee Rubin and Lakshmi Bose This paper examines the ways in which administrators, academics and students living under conditions of authoritarianism come to imagine the university’s political possibilities and horizons. To this aim, we first consider how alternative imaginaries are constructed and contained at Boğaziçi University, where the parameters of political possibility are pre-figured … Continue reading Dominant or dominating? Imaginaries of higher education in Turkey and Northern Syria

UK higher education, neoliberal meritocracy, and the culture of the new capitalism: A computational linguistics analysis

By Michele Martini & Susan L. Robertson Drawing on empirical data this paper explores how a new articulation of meritocracy has emerged over time in UK Higher Education. To this end, we analyze the five major HE reports produced in the UK between 1997–2010. The proposed analytical design combines semantic mapping, natural language processing (NLP), … Continue reading UK higher education, neoliberal meritocracy, and the culture of the new capitalism: A computational linguistics analysis

Globalisation, Culture and Higher Education

Book chapter by Susan L Robertson, Mariano Rosenzvaig & Elizabeth Maber What does it mean to take ‘the cultural turn’ seriously, and in our case, to engage it in research on globalisation and higher education?  In this book chapter, we argue that this involves adding a cultural lens to engage with, rather than depart from, … Continue reading Globalisation, Culture and Higher Education

Crises and the Production of Multiple Privatisations in UK Higher Education’

This paper examines the production of multiple trajectories of privatisations in UK higher education over the past two decades. Using corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis as methodologies, we show how six key higher education reports since 1997 discursively set into motion those structural selectivities (Jessop, 2005) which are strategically selective of different modalities of privatisation and their social relations (Martini & Robertson, 2021).

Publication: Education cleavages, or market society and the rise of authoritarian populism?

This paper explores how, in what ways, and with what outcomes, deep structural transformations have reconstituted higher education in England, and are deeply implicated in the rise of authoritarian populism. We focus particularly on the ways in which our understandings and lived experiences of class, social mobility, meritocracy, social inequality, and social justice have been transformed.

Publication: Higher education, violent modernities and the ‘global present’: the paradox of politics and new populist imaginaries in HE

Higher Education (HE) constitutes a space that calls urgently for new understandings in the contemporary political moment. One way of establishing such an understanding is to consider more fully the work of political theorists in relation to questions of power in the modern nation-state, particularly as these impinge upon the key problem of the rise of populism in the twenty-first century. This paper argues that a productive conceptual approach is to be found in the recurring idea of political paradox in the political philosophy literature, an idea which is utilized to explore the role of conflicted national politics, moralising state practices, and scientific rationalities in reconfiguring the governing rationales of HE.

Publication: Cultural trauma and the politics of access to higher education in Syria

This paper examines the relationship between the politics of Higher Education access pertaining to longstanding practices of patrimonial authoritarian politics and the narration of collective trauma. Building on an empirical study of Syrian HE during war, we suggest that a narrative disjuncture within HEIs has a damaging impact not only upon the educational process, HE reconstruction and reform, but also upon the possibility of social reconciliation.

Publication: Conflict, insecurity and the political economies of higher education: The case of Syria post-2011

This paper stems from a 12-month collaborative enquiry between a group of Syrian academics in exile in Turkey and academics from the University of Cambridge into the state of Syrian Higher Education after the onset of the conflict in 2011. The purpose of this paper is to draw on 19 open-ended interviews with exiled Syrian academics; two focus groups; mapping and timeline exercises; and 117 interviews collected remotely by collaborating Syrian academics with former colleagues and students who were still living inside Syria at the time of data collection.

Publication: Diversity without Race

This article examines how a sample of 62 higher education institutions in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom discuss international students in their official institutionalization strategies, focusing on how ideas of race and diversity are addressed. We find that institutional strategies connect international students to an abstract notion of diversity, using visual images to portray campus environments as inclusive of racial, ethnic and religious diversity.