Methodological Principles and Practice
Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron
Mapping an Illegitimate Field: Power Relations in International Education
← 56 | 57 → JACQUELINE WIDEN
Mapping an Illegitimate Field:Power Relations in International Education
This chapter is concerned with the internationalization of Higher Education (HE). In particular, it is concerned with HE English language education, the increasing commodification and corporatization of English and the struggles within the International English Language Higher Education Projects (IELHEPs). I focus on Australian university-led export of English language education and the seeming necessity for ‘global inequality in the commercial market in international education’ (Marginson 2004: 23). In my exploration of these concerns I am driven to ask: who benefits from the international spread of English language HE?
Initially, my research, based in South East Asia, East Asia and Australia with students, teachers, university and aid organization staff and government officials, set out to problematize the position of the ‘beneficiary’. I began by working within the binary framework between the donor/provider and the beneficiary. I was concerned with how the particular interests of the beneficiary could be more effectively negotiated and represented. However, as my research progressed a more complex picture of the beneficiary emerged.
I owe much to Bourdieu in my efforts to understand the dynamics of the international language HE field. I used Bourdieu’s conceptual framework and his explanatory devices of field, capital and habitus that allowed for a multi-layered investigation into both the field of the IELHEPs and the broader social context, the field of power (Bourdieu 1984a/79, 1991a, 1990a, 1990c, 1998a/94, 1999a)...
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