Sticky objects and cruel desires: exploring the journeys of Egyptian women postgraduates into and out of UK higher education

Kosbar, Yasser (2022) Sticky objects and cruel desires: exploring the journeys of Egyptian women postgraduates into and out of UK higher education. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

In a world of globalised education, the internationalisation of higher education and one of its vital mechanisms, namely mobility, have become central issues for governments, higher education institutions, and individuals. Internationalisation has become a signifier for global prestige, advancement, and exponential monetary growth. However, internationalisation could also be constructed as a site of neo-colonial dominance where international comparisons, benchmarking, rankings are constantly made, and universities in the Global North dominate the global university ranking systems. Despite the extensive scholarship, research and policy documentation, internationalisation in higher education remains elusive, and the belief in its achievement could be described as a cruel attachment to the neoliberal knowledge economy. Internationalisation has become a site of binaries between winners - in the core - who could decipher the code and losers - on the periphery - who lag behind. For Egypt, the aesthetic conventions of internationalisation in higher education as a cruel object of desire gain their significance in the national imaginaries through new and renewed narratives of crisis and the fear of failure. Despite its centuries-long efforts to internationalise its higher education, Egypt does not always appear to break the code, play by the rules, and internationalisation was and has remained a site of an affective assemblage of aspirations, anxieties, dread, and shame.
Furthermore, much of what has been written in scholarship concerning the intersection of internationalisation in higher education and gender have focused on mobility experiences within the Global North. Our knowledge of the experiences of postgraduate women from the Global South in universities in the Global North remains very limited, particularly the experiences of women postgraduates from the African continent. This is the first study of its kind to focus solely on the experiences of Egyptian women postgraduates in the UK, and to deploy queer feminist theory in its design, analysis, and conclusions. The overall objective of this thesis is to queer discourses of internationalisation and one of its fundamental mechanisms: mobility, and to destabilise its depictions as a rewarding, neutral, disembodied, and absolute good.
By relying on onto-epistemological underpinnings and theoretical framings of the affect, this thesis aims to queer the linear spatial-temporal crossings between the historical, socio-economic, political, and cultural spheres of internationalisation in higher education. In particular, it will seek to queer the homogeneity and typifying of ideal mobile subjects by problematising the gendered, raced and classed binaries embedded in the internationalisation discourse. The theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches of this thesis are guided by queer, feminist research traditions to answer the overarching research question: How can we understand the complexities of international mobility for Egyptian women postgraduates?
From the central question, this thesis will seek to address the following two research sub-questions:
1. What made international mobility possible for Egyptian women postgraduates?
2. What social expectations framed their trajectories of international mobility and What were the affective modalities of these trajectories?
I conducted 24 semi-structured interviews with Egyptian women postgraduates (Taught Master’s and PhD) across 11 universities in the UK. The sample included students from state-owned public universities and private universities in Egypt and ranged across sciences, technology, medicine, and engineering (STEM), social science, arts, and humanities disciplines. The data collection employed exploratory and interpretive qualitative modes of enquiry guided by queer feminist theorisations. For the data analysis, I utilised a thematic analysis framework to enable rigorous and deep triangulations to grasp the contradictions, and complexities of Egyptian women postgraduates’ embodied mobilities and temporal-spatial borders crossing. Overall, this thesis shows that; firstly, class positionalities continue to shape the prospects of mobilities for postgraduate education among Egyptian women. Secondly, the enduring strength of colonial legacies constitutes a critical element that demarcates the geographies and directions of mobility. Finally, the gendered potency of chrononormativity continues to organize the lives and social expectations of Egyptian women postgraduates.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education > LB2371 Graduate education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education > LB2375 Exchange of students and scholars. Foreign study
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0189 Educational sociology > LC0212.9 Sex differences in education
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 14:23
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 14:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/104994

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