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Towards Emplacing Internationalisation in Thai Higher Education

Matthew Robert Ferguson (Mahidol University International College, Thailand)
James Burford (University of Warwick, UK)

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


In Thailand, the number of higher education institutions (HEIs) offering international programmes has surged dramatically. Internationalisation is seen as key to competing in the higher education market, modernising educational programming, and generating new streams of revenue. Yet, such rapid change is disorientating for the internationalisation of higher education (IHE) in the Thai context. That said, there is little disagreement on what it is not; it is not Thai. This chapter investigates apparent efforts to ‘de-place’ Thailand from IHE and considers how these attempts may connect to (post-)colonial tensions between sovereignty and civilisation. Through a synthesis of scholarship in the areas of higher education, cultural geography and Thai studies, the authors construct a framework for exploring how IHE is both imagined and experienced in Thailand. In particular, they re-examine datasets from studies they conducted with stakeholders over recent years, including executive leadership, international faculty members, and university students. Through a series of narrative portraits, a dialogue of voices is constructed that reflect distinct orientations to ‘Thainess’ in the IHE. The authors argue that a wider and more inclusive orientation to internationalisation is not only respectful of local identity but is enhanced by it. Ultimately, the hope of this study is to offer a vision of what an ‘emplaced’ idea of IHE in Thailand might look like, one grounded in an orientation unique to a particular place with its own cultural and social coordinates.



Ferguson, M.R. and Burford, J. (2024), "Towards Emplacing Internationalisation in Thai Higher Education", 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. 121-140.



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Copyright © 2024 Matthew Robert Ferguson and James Burford