Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education
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Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education

Edited by Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo

Higher education has entered centre-stage in the context of the knowledge economy and has been deployed in the search for economic competitiveness and social development. Against this backdrop, this highly illuminating Handbook explores worldwide convergences and divergences in national higher education systems resulting from increased global co-operation and competition.
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Chapter 2: Imagining the Global

Simon Marginson


Simon Marginson INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the global higher education space on a generic basis, spanning the different national systems and regions considered in Part II. The global dimension of higher education is not a sphere of nature. It is constituted by the actions of human beings and their organizations. It is formed by acts of imagining; by acts of practical strategizing and the productions and activities constituting cross-border higher education; and also by acts of formal and informal control, regulation and limits. Acts of imagining interplay with strategy-making. Together they generate the world patterns, institutional forms, openness, boundaries and constraints of the global dimension of higher education. In sum, the global dimension is created by a combination of imagining, strategizing and ordering. This chapter and Chapter 23 in Part III provide a synthesis of these processes. The main emphasis of this chapter is on global imagining in higher education: on the manner in which time-space compression in a one-world knowledge system has changed what is possible and enabled more plural and more globally standardized human subjects and organizational forms. The chapter begins by asking, ‘What is the global in higher education?’ It distinguishes the ‘global’ dimension of activity from the national and local dimensions. It lists the cross-border strategies and initiatives of institutions and systems; and reviews differing subject perspectives on the global dimension – those of individuals, higher education institutions, national systems, and the perspective of the world as a whole. It discusses the continuing importance of place,...

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