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Higher education mobilities: a cross-national European comparison

Brooks, Rachel (2018) Higher education mobilities: a cross-national European comparison Geoforum, 93. pp. 87-96.

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Within the extant literature on patterns of mobility of higher education students to and from Europe there is some recognition that these differ across geographical space – in relation to variations in national uptake of the European Union’s Erasmus scheme, for example. However, strong similarities are also often identified – about the way in which mobility is desired by students, higher education institutions and national governments, and how this is stimulated, in part, by various European initiatives such as the commitment to forging a European Higher Education Area. Moreover, while scholars have critiqued normative expectations of mobility – pointing out, for example, that not all students have the necessary social, cultural and economic resources to support a period of study abroad – there has been less critical focus on the way in which constructions of the ‘mobile student’ vary spatially. This article draws on a dataset of 92 policy documents from six European nations to argue that, while some convergence is notable, particularly in relation to the ways in which student mobility is placed centre-stage within internationalisation strategies, key differences are also evident – with respect to: the scale of desired mobility; the characteristics of the imagined ‘mobile subject’; the extent to which social justice concerns are brought into play; and the prioritisation given to outward mobility. These raise important questions about the degree of ‘policy convergence’ across Europe and the ostensible homogenisation of European higher education systems around an Anglo-American model.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 25 May 2018
DOI : 10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.05.009
Copyright Disclaimer : Crown Copyright © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Mobilities; Higher education; Education policy; Europe; Students; Internationalisation
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 09 May 2018 07:55
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 19:09

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