Study abroad as governmentality: The construction of hypermobile subjectivities in higher education

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Drawing on the concept of hypermobility, the paper examines a case of study-abroad mobility from a governmentality perspective. Based on a critical analysis of policy texts and interviews with Irish students who have taken part in the Erasmus exchange programme, it argues that under the conditions of neoliberal globalisation, the normalisation of study abroad aims to produce self-governing practices that align with dominant discourses promoting voluntarist attitudes to labour mobility. These dispositions, described as hypermobility, are an additional dimension of the flexible, entrepreneurial subject imagined in neoliberal societies. The paper examines the discourses and practices at state and institutional levels and how they circulate and impact on students’ subjectivities – analysing affective detachment from home and cosmopolitan sociability as self-disciplining practices that align with the production of neoliberal hypermobile subjectivities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-257
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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