Internationalising Nordic higher education: comparing the imagined with actual worlds of international scholar-practitioners

Meeri Hellstén


This comparative case study addresses a timely issue engaging researchers involved in the internationalisation of Nordic Higher Education, in the context of Sweden and Finland. The study examines a hypothetical imaginary in the transition between university international policy statements and their understandings from the position of a globalised episteme. The investigation forms a tag-project as part of a funded large international research project examining ethical internationalism in times of global crises, involving a partnership between more than twenty higher education institutions in excess of ten countries across five continents. The data was collected using a mixed-methods design, whilst being controlled across the matched data collection period in 2013-2014. Data consisted of policy texts, surveys and interviews. The current research inquiry reports on a within and across comparative analyses of certain policy texts and follow-up interviews with university management. The results yield logical support for a global higher education imaginary driving internationalisation in ways which reveal paradoxical associations between the imagined and the real worlds of international scholar-practitioners.


internationalisation: imaginary; epistemic imperatives; world society theory; Sweden; Finland

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Copyright (c) 2018 Meeri Hellstén

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