Challenges for research in higher education: The case of internationalization between the explanandum and the explanans

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Abstract

A key issue in higher education research is that its nature is shaped by the contexts within which it is produced, in response to agendas that reflect more policy coordination demands than disciplinary concerns. The research problematiques are construed mostly out of the theoretical framework of the disciplines, which, in turn, are diluted within an applied research mode. Internationalisation, quality, and access, for instance, tend to be explored from an implementation and managerial perspective. We convene the criticisms of methodological "isms" to highlight how they shape our conceptualisations and understanding of the transformations in higher education. Under this stance, conceptual narratives on internationalisation of higher education prompted by the Brexit momentum are identified in the study Higher education and Brexit: current European perspectives to bring forward the extent to which internationalisation as a conceptual narrative acts as an explanation of the strategies to address the topic, and what is needed to be itself explained. The paper identifies discursive elements stemming from conceptual narratives convened to approach internationalisation in higher education research, and how they reflect the reification of the state and higher education. By focusing on the Brexit momentum that brought to the front stage the centrality of the nation-states and their competition/cooperation relationship, this paper contributes to call attention to the epistemological and methodological implications of isms.

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Veiga, A., & Magalhães, A. (2020). Challenges for research in higher education: The case of internationalization between the explanandum and the explanans. Sociologias, 22(54), 46–63. https://doi.org/10.1590/15174522-97866

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