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Internationalisation and De-internationalisation in Danish university governance reforms

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This article analyses the process of reforming the governance of Danish universities, from an anthropological perspective. Observers saw that the assemblage of steering concepts, tools and mechanisms in the 2003 Danish university law could be articulated in two contrary ways: one would make the university into a power force with ideas that exceeded the government's imagining of the future; the other turned the university into a tightly steered service provider, quick to respond to changes in political priorities. Initially, the government took the first approach in promoting the internationalisation of research and education. Its strategy provided a framework of opportunities that university leaders and academics used voluntarily to fulfil their own visions for their institution or discipline. In 2018, the government's priority suddenly shifted to de-internationalisation of Danish higher education. To achieve this, it rearticulated the same steering concepts, tools and mechanisms to impose cuts to English-medium courses through commando-style steering, and academics and students were disenfranchised. The internationalisation strategy first mobilised the capacities of the university as a power force. When the government decided to de-internationalise, it turned the same steering assemblage into a chain of command that made the university respond quickly to a changed political priority.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Pages (from-to)96-108
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

    Research areas

  • Videregående uddannelse, Uddannelsespolitik, Internationalisering/globalisering

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