Edev_501 Response wk1_4

You mention Hofstede’s notion of ‘software of the mind’. Originally having five dimensions of cultural theory, his latest incarnation (2010) has six. I was wondering which of these dimensions would have a bigger impact on your future studies. I can easily perceive that we will see individuals who are more collectivist than individualist, are more or less indulgent, can tolerate more or less uncertainty and so on. I’d like to know the mechanism of how knowing about these aspects will reprogram your mental software.

You speak of internationalism as a ‘bandwagon effect’. To me, this implies that participants willingly comply with trends or even proactively adopt trends. Yet you then state that schools don’t ‘have much choice to internationalise or not’. To me, these aspects are contradictory. Does the expression ‘bandwagon’ carry a negative connotation for you?

I agree fully with your characterisation that Altbach and Stone have opposite responses to internationalisation. This is possibly due to the focus of their articles. Stone tries to synthesise theories of interculturalism while Altbach attempts to explain the background of globalisation. My reading of Altbach is negative on the whole. The article given to us for reading is one of his more recent ones, but his earlier writings are very political and aimed at attacking the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) agreement. He makes the claims that higher education will not benefit from WTO regulation. Universities have always been globalised and do very well, thank you, without ‘help’ from trade based rationale. To me, his arguments try to be historical (i.e. they refer back to the medieval university and the role of Latin as the primary vehicle of ensuring internationalisation) yet he forgets that it was commercialism that freed Europe and the ensuring diaspora from the clutches of religion and subsequently from the narrow mindset that subjugated science and open inquiry. Did you, as I did, find Altbach’s almost complete lack of citations and support disturbing?

My last question is a touch facetious. In your Daimler/ Chrysler story, you say that ‘too much tolerance … might not always be the best solution’. I was wondering what may happen if there was? Perhaps a comic routine could emerge from this.

I thank you. I was highly conflicted about how to answer this first discussion question. I couldn’t see how to respond appropriately to the task in such a short space. Your answer did that very well.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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