Inside Out? Individual Agency and Professional Identity in the Era of Internationalisation in Higher Education

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    Universities expose higher education professionals to complex organisational environments, expecting them to comply with structures, policies and practices. A university is not so different in this respect from other Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998), in which the pressures to conform are often greater than the inducement to be original, and in which being different may be implicitly discouraged. The relationship between the individual and the established power structures becomes even more complicated when a university is going through the transitions and challenges that are inherent to internationalisation. This chapter examines the challenges and opportunities experienced by academics who are cultural and linguistic outliers within the setting of a European university, showing how the assumptions, values and expectations of the university environment can affect individuals’ ability to perform agentically. We consider how these academic outliers make meaning of being professional within the context of internationalisation and consider how such efforts can contribute to new understandings of interculturality. We further examine how alternative ways of being can result in new modes of engagement with colleagues. Drawing on interviews with six academics within a single institution, this chapter offers a version of the truth that is ‘woven from an amalgam of raw data’ (Clough, 2002), resulting in an exploratory narrative in the voices of fictionalised protagonists
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTeaching and Learning in Higher Education
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Context of Being, Interculturality and New Knowledge Systems
    EditorsMargaret Kumar, Thushari Welikala
    Place of PublicationBingley
    PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9781800430068
    ISBN (Print)9781800430075
    Publication statusPublished - 3-Sept-2021

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