Knowledge, power and geopolitics of transnational higher education


Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Research


Many commentators argue that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a fundamental transformation of the international political order (De Ville and Siles-Brügge 2019; Kettle 2020). Furthermore, Covid-19 has also strengthened transnational higher education (TNHE) (Mok, 2020). This paper will explore how these two trends interact with each other. It seeks to discern how geopolitics informs TNHE and explores insights into the current geopolitical transformation through the lenses of TNHE.
The analytical framework is informed by an interdisciplinary perspective that bridges International Relations (IR), transnational sociology and education studies with a view to highlighting the close link between knowledge, power and subject constitution (Gill and Cutler 2014; Hartmann 2015; Ikenberry and Kupan 1990; Nye 2004). A key notion is the legal concept of transnational law that seeks to account for third-space regulations that transcend national frontiers. Only recently have scholars of international higher education (IHE) started to make use of this interdisciplinary perspective in order to better understand the geopolitical dimension of international higher education (see, e.g. Hartmann 2010; Hartmann 2015; Marginson 2018; Parreira do Amaral and Thompson 2021; Robertson and Dale 2015).
Based upon policy and case analysis, the paper will pay particular attention to the role of transnational law in mediating geopolitical tensions in the sphere of TNHE. It will present the finding of a pilot study that delineates transnational law by exploring how different TNHE arrangements interact with each other along three different lines: Firstly, the regulations in the country of the degree-awarding institutions with particular reference to the USA and the UK. Secondly, in-country provision regulations in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Thirdly, institution-specific arrangements reflecting local room of manoeuvre.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021
EventEuropean Consortium for Political Research General Conference -
Duration: 30 Aug 20213 Sept 2021


ConferenceEuropean Consortium for Political Research General Conference


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