The internationalisation of education
: project implementation and stakeholder interests

  • Jacqueline Marie Widin

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This research took a qualitative case study approach to explore the experiences of working and participating in the implementation of university-led international language education projects. In particular, the research examined project implementation processes from the interviewees' perspective and the subsequent implications for the ways in which the projects' activities were carried out. Data was largely drawn from 25 interviewees in two project sites and also included information gathered from researcher participant observations, project documents, anecdotal accounts and documentation relating to the social contexts in which the projects were established. The research examined the ways in which the different project stakeholders' interests were negotiated and represented and how project benefits were distributed in the field.

    Pierre Bourdieu's relational concepts of habitus, capital and field and his notion of practice guided the whole research process and they were employed as explanatory devices for both the methodological and theoretical approaches. Of central concern to this study was Bourdieu's notion of interest and his view of the social world as a constant struggle about the symbolic value of practices and artifacts. There were multiple interests in the field which belied its common representation as a binary relationship between the donor or provider and the recipients of the project's 'products'. The research explored the way agents take up or assign dominant or subordinate positions in the field.

    This research also drew on Critical Discourse Analysis to explore the data and analyse the understandings of project work found in the documents and other written materials as well as the interviews. The research revealed that the work of the international language education projects was complex and the distribution of benefits was masked by the avowed 'disinterest' of the major stakeholders. The concepts of success and failure are closely related to the dominant interests in the field and are pivotal to gaining a greater understanding of the way these projects work. The findings of the research pointed to ways that agents in the field could work towards productive understandings and build more effective collaborative relationships.
    Date of Award2005
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPaul Black (Supervisor) & Brian Devlin (Supervisor)

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