Participatory parity as a way forward for critical internationalisation studies

Benjamin Joseph MULVEY

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been sustained criticism of current practices of higher education internationalisation in wealthy industrialised countries. This criticism is underpinned by an increasingly broad range of theoretical perspectives, resulting in calls for change which range from the minimal to the radical. In this paper, I reflect on the current state of the ‘critical internationalisation studies’ literature, arguing that existing critiques suffer from a number of shortcomings. In particular, I highlight that much of this work causes a ‘problem of displacement’ whereby issues of (mis)recognition eclipse issues of distributive justice. As such, the potential of internationalisation to contribute to solving practical issues is underplayed. The argument is made that in problematising arguments for the use of internationalisation activities to contribute to solving practical issues in the Global South, this literature has the potential to demoralise those seeking action. The second part of the paper makes a case for the utility of normative global justice theory in critical internationalisation studies, outlining an alternative vision of two internationalisation activities through the lens of Nancy Fraser’s Scales of Justice. The analysis highlights how current practices create injustice through ‘misframing’, as international student recruitment and global partnerships are framed at the nation-state level, denying representation to those affected by the actions of universities and by government policy in wealthy countries. Copyright © 2022 Society for Research into Higher Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2417-2429
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number12
Early online dateMay 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Mulvey, B. (2022). Participatory parity as a way forward for critical internationalisation studies. Studies in Higher Education, 47(12), 2417-2429. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2022.2072481


  • Internationalization
  • Social justice
  • Postcolonial
  • International student mobility
  • Partnerships


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