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Finnish Professors’ Experiences of Decolonisation and Internationalisation in South African Universities

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This paper examines the experiences of Finnish professors of education, who hold visiting positions in South African universities. As an international education utopia, Finland has developed strong Edu-business and education export around the world ‐ these visiting positions in South Africa being a direct outcome of these strategies. Using a critical form of discourse analysis, the authors scrutinize three visiting professors’ utterances about their experiences of South African higher education. During their interviews the political and economic dispositifs of internationalisation, of which their positions are symbolic, function through evoking idealised and exceptionalist representations about Finland. The participants also hint at the need for tolerance and respect towards the South African other, which reveal themselves through the reproduction of colonial discourses and images. The paper thus calls for further investigation into such forms of neo-colonialism in an African country that calls for rethinking Africanisation, decolonising of knowledge and internationalisation of higher education. It also problematises the under-researched and ambiguous position of Western scholars in these complex processes.
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Keywords: EduBusiness; Finnish education; South Africa; higher education; internationalisation; neo-colonialism; race

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • Education and Society provides a forum, where teachers and scholars throughout the world, are able to evaluate current issues and problems in education and society from a balanced and comparative social, cultural and economic perspective.

    Education and Society, a fully refereed journal, is used by teachers, academics, research scholars, educational administrators and graduate students.
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