Terri Kim on Academic Mobility and the Varieties of Academic Capitalism: A Comparative Perspective(By Emily Henderson)
We invited Terri Kim to present a co-hosted CES/AMIN seminar at Warwick in November 2016. She set out to provide an overview of academic mobilities research, no mean feat given the growth of this field of research across disciplinary and national borders. Terri highlighted the tendency of researchers and policymakers to concentrate on the value and advantages of mobility, while putting aside concerns about the darker aspects and inequalities of academic movement. In her presentation, Terri reminded us of the salience of enforced academic mobility in the current area, given the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe, but also emphasized the importance of looping back to historical events and patterns which have recurred over the decades – such as academic returnees to post-war Germany. This type of historical analysis zooms out beyond the quickfire timescales of funding-output in the contemporary university, and reminds mobility researchers that, in addition to looking across the current moment, we need to stretch out our perspectives into previous political moments.
The seminar focused in on the relationship between academic mobility and academic capitalism, where mobility is viewed as an accruing of ‘capital’ through knowledge acquisition. This discourse is framed in mainstream terms as the ‘knowledge economy’, which is increasingly embedded in a requirement for internationalised knowledge production. Mobile academics serve within this economy as actors who are exchanged, imported and transferred within the international higher education market. Terri’s current work analyses the unequal power relations which exist within national, regional and international higher education systems. A question of particular interest for AMIN is: where do mobile and fluid values of knowledge production meet very real constraints such as borders and hierarchies?
See Terri Kim’s presentation slides here