(Un)wanted bodies and the internationalisation of higher education

Johanna L. Waters, Hanne Kirstine Adriansen*, Lene Møller Madsen, Taina Saarinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we foreground the bodies of students and academics in studies of the internationalisation of higher education (IHE) and consider how internationalisation processes are shaped by embodiment and the geographies of (em)placement. Over the past 20 years, IHE has been extensively discussed within academic and policy circles. Such accounts have often been dominated by macro-level concerns. Within these discourses, the international mobility of students and academics have been a central focus. Although scholars within the social sciences are increasingly attentive to the social, cultural, and political dimensions of IHE, there has been little explicit discussion of bodies and the ways in which international mobilities are corporeal, involving in place/out of placeness and the politics and policies governing embodied (im)mobilities. This paper has two main objectives mapping on to two substantive sections. The first is to highlight the importance of the body within recent geographical scholarship and to juxtapose this with a notable absence within IHE research. The second is to consider where the body is present (explicitly or otherwise) in the bountiful literature on IHE and to draw out the meanings of this, arguing that paying attention to bodies exposes the (re)production of exclusionary hierarchies. The paper contributes to a growing corpus of work on the body within geography and extends critical geographies of the internationalisation of higher education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024


  • belonging
  • bodies
  • embodiment
  • global hierarchies
  • international academics
  • international higher education
  • international students


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