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Western Doctoral Programmes as Public Service, Cultural Diplomacy or Intellectual Imperialism? Expatriate Educational Leadership Teaching in the United Arab Emirates

Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate

ISBN: 978-1-78441-132-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-131-2

ISSN: 1479-3628

Publication date: 31 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter approaches the topic of teaching the Western scholarly tradition in non-Western countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from three perspectives employing the following metaphors: as a Public Servant motivated by public service to the goals and aims of the country’s development articulated by UAE rulers and its citizens; as Cultural Diplomat, representing the Western tradition and its scholarly achievements while respecting other traditions; and as Intellectual Imperialist, aiming at a colonising incorporation of the UAE into the Western academic world.

Methodology/approach

The main methodology adopted is the Weberian ideal type, located within a comparative and historical context that produces the metaphors as analytically possible perspectives as a western expatriate faculty member. Additional critique is drawn from Bourdieu, Said, Freire, Giroux, Foucault, Goffman and cross-cultural organisation studies.

Findings

The findings consist of an analytic framework consisting of public servant, cultural diplomat and intellectual imperialist as a set of conceptions for analysing possible orientations of Western expatriate academics in developing countries.

Social implications

The implications are threefold: on a personal level, what experientially does each of the metaphors mean for one’s sense of identity, profession, values and relationships; on a pedagogical level, what principles and values distinguish the curriculum and teaching styles as well as orientation to Arab and Islamic scholarship; and politically, what is the potential impact and unintended consequences for the indigenous culture, sovereignty and societal survival of a country under the heavy influence of globalisation. The contention of this chapter is that one cannot avoid adopting one or more of these roles and may even perform in contradictory ways.

Originality/value

The originality is in establishing a new set of analytic categories drawing on post-colonial, diplomacy and critical studies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Writing about and understanding a foreign culture can only be done with sufficient acculturation, experience and interaction that allow one to enter its world. I was most fortunate in the Emirati doctoral students I first worked with after my arrival in the UAE – their acceptance, warmth, support and generosity, values deeply embedded in Emirati culture, enabled me to make that journey smoothly and with good humour. My deepest indebtedness to those who shepherded my transition and welcomed me into their lives: Faisal Albakeri, Kaltham Kenaid, Rabaa Alsumaiti, Tarifa Al Zaabi, Hamad Al Rashdi and also Nadera Alborno. There are no words sufficient to thank them for their gift to me. Any errors and misunderstandings in the chapter are wholly mine.

Citation

Samier, E.A. (2014), "Western Doctoral Programmes as Public Service, Cultural Diplomacy or Intellectual Imperialism? Expatriate Educational Leadership Teaching in the United Arab Emirates", Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 93-123. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-362820140000013005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited