Diaspora and internationalization of higher education: a critical approach

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The intensive processes of contemporary globalization have changed the conditions of diaspora formation and perpetuation, and its perceived value for individuals, communities, states, regional and supranational organizations. The increasing relevance and changing conditions of diaspora formations has triggered a surge in diaspora scholarship and theorization across the humanities and social sciences. I critically analyze uses of and approaches to “diaspora” in higher education research and its relationship to internationalization. I argue that although there is growing scholarship in this area, the literature is fragmented and suffers from limited criticality. In order to understand how diaspora might represent a more critical and profound concept around which to understand key processes in higher education research, particularly around internationalization, I suggest a critical approach to analyze diaspora, based on seven precepts: eschewing (national) exceptionalism; developing alternative views of universality; operating from diverse historical bases; employing theoretical diversity and flexibility; pursuing methodological pluralism; focusing on a multiplicity of units of analysis; and developing new bridges and understanding of individual agency and social structure. I conclude by outlining some possible avenues for future research, which I propose will shed light on the role of diaspora and how it can be used as a critical and profound analytical concept in higher education research, particularly in internationalization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Education
Subtitle of host publicationFourth Edition
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128186299
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Brain circulation
  • Brain drain
  • Brain gain
  • Diaspora
  • Higher education
  • Identities
  • International academic mobility
  • International education
  • International students
  • Internationalization
  • Knowledge diaspora
  • Migration
  • Mobility
  • Networks
  • Policies


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