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‘You Look International’: Scale and Global Performativity

César Augusto Ferrari Martinez (Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile)

Critical Reflections on the Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Global South

ISBN: 978-1-80455-779-2, eISBN: 978-1-80455-778-5

Publication date: 26 April 2024


This chapter is dedicated to understanding the idea of international as a key notion to the development of globalisation and to promoting the rescaling of spaces and subjects in contemporary higher education. The author discusses the concept of scale as a performative device that activates the capacities of bodies. Instead of seeing scale as a naturalised and hierarchical structure of spatial distribution, the author understands it as an ensemble of discourses and practices that produce scalar effects. Globalisation uses scale to promote the idea that subjects would become ‘international’ by being linked to privileged spaces and bodies in the Global North. In this sense, globalisation is not merely about nodes where certain flows converge. Rather, the author understands it as the political conditions that control and constrain the space for certain flows to occur and not others. Using assemblage analysis, the author presents and analyses three scenes taken from his ethnographic records that have as a guiding line the materialisation of the international. These scenes report the experience of being a Latin American doctoral student attending a congress in the United States, a tense situation experienced at a Chilean university academic event, and the unpretentious manifestation of an elaborate idea of internationality from a personal experience of a trip to India. The results point to three elaborations of the international: an optimistic view of a shared world, a geopolitical internationality and the production of a global corporeality.



Martinez, C.A.F. (2024), "‘You Look International’: Scale and Global Performativity", Woldegiorgis, E.T. and Yu, C.Q. (Ed.) Critical Reflections on the Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Global South (Diverse Perspectives on Creating a Fairer Society), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 49-66.



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