Väitös Jani Haapakoski

Thesis defence, Jani Haapakoski, Master of Arts in Education, 14 August 2020 at 09:00 am

Friday, August 14, 2020

Doctoral Candidate

Master of Arts in Education Jani Haapakoski

Date and time of the thesis defence

14 August2020 at 09:00 am

Place of the thesis defence

University of Oulu, lecture hall L10. Remote access: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/62119931865

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Values, Ideologies and Social Contexts of Education

Field of study

Educational Sciences

Topic of the dissertation

Market exclusions and false inclusions: Mapping obstacles for more ethical approaches in the internationalization of higher education


Professor Fazal Rizvi, University of Melbourne, Australia


Professor Elina Lehtomäki, University of Oulu


The aim of this research is to explore how the critiques of different neoliberal and liberal approaches in the internationalization of higher education (HE) can help to identify obstacles for more ethically driven and sustainable practices. HE is going through a transformation wherein its purpose is increasingly interpreted through a neoliberal framing that emphasizes the entrepreneurial potential and role of universities in the knowledge economy. This has changed the role of internationalization as well, and the rising economic emphasis has caused ethical concerns. However, the argument in this dissertation is that sustainable practices require more than liberal critiques of neoliberalism. Internationalization has a global outlook and should also include the consideration of the global asymmetries around knowledge production and participation. Decolonial critiques of the internationalization of HE reveal how both neoliberal and liberal approaches have the potential to reproduce unethical practices.

This qualitative study utilizes the interview and document data from 16 different universities in seven countries collected as part of the Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education in Times of Global Crises project (2012–2016). The research draws from critical discourse analysis and utilizes discourse analysis and social cartography to analyze and present the data.

The findings first suggest that the dominance of neoliberal agendas in internationalization has the tendency to naturalize economic rationales and that although these can be criticized, they are perceived as inevitable and mandatory parts of the internationalization processes. Next, neoliberal agendas fuse other, non-economic, rationales, thus causing instrumentalization and re-framing of their former civic purposes. Finally, as long as the critiques of internationalization are not extended to global power asymmetries and coloniality, ethical dilemmas in internationalization cannot be properly tackled. As long as Western HE is seen as ubiquitous and a progressive force, its role in producing global injustices can be ignored or rejected, which can lead into the naturalization of unethical practices. The research adds to the critical scholarship in the internationalization of HE and provides practitioners with tools to discuss the obstacles for more ethically driven internationalization.


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Last updated: 1.9.2020