EDEV_506 Week 2_1

Your experience of globalisation has been a positive and powerful one. That you could develop your outlook to include an international perspective was evident in your successful publishing experiences. Congratulations!

You will note that I used both ‘globalisation’ and ‘international’ in the above sentences. That was deliberate and designed to highlight the fuzziness that these terms are subject to. There have been attempts to investigate the precise meanings of the words in terms of attitudes, underlying values and related policy structures (Ninnes & Hellsten, 2005). One view sees internationalisation as a set of “common sense notions” (Jones, 1999, cited in Welch, 2002, p. 434) that promotes cross border co-operation for cultural and economic benefits. Implicit in this view is the maintenance of the individual geopolitical entity’s cultural identity and modes of governance. Globalisation assumes that the identity and governance models are malleable and that geopolitical states will converge towards a more unified system (Welch, 2002). The issues at stake here include the serious question of whose hegemony is to be adopted and how much local (i.e. within a single geopolitical area) influences will strive to maintain their uniqueness (Welch, 2002).

My own view follows the models of moral development of Graves (1970), Kegan (1982), Kohlberg (1969) and Singer (1981) whose stage theories show a progression of inward thought towards outward perspective that increasingly encompass from the personal, through the immediate societal eventually to the worldwide need. I see internationalisation as a stage that still places the immediate cultural needs higher than those of the wider worldwide needs. Globalisation is the abandonment of, say, a country’s needs in favour of the needs of all. However, as Graves (1974) points out, very few societies have reached a stage of development beyond the ability to see only their own needs. This positioning carries certain values, e.g. protectionism, support of the elite, the acceptance of a hierarchical society, which inform policy making—often without needing to be made explicit.

The result is that the use of ‘globalisation’ becomes less to do with structural change than with rhetorical framing (Pick, 2008). As I wrote extensively last week, Japan has yet to see any real move towards globalisation, and to add to that there is an increasing awareness of the porosity of the nation state (Ninnes & Hellsten, 2005) and to the backlash policies that aim to close those holes. However, the term allows for the policy level managing and motivating of staff (Ong, 2012) and for the possible future strategy leadership into global affairs.

To wrap up this post, I would like to reiterate my assertion that globalisation is not yet a direct influence on Japan’s higher education—yet, and concur with Doherty and Singh (2005) whose study of the international student (note: not ‘global’ student) in Australia sees those individuals as ‘other’ and are “typically constructed in negative or deficit terms and as potentially risky to the Western traditions of the university (p. 53). Substituting Australia for Japan and Western for Japanese, and the situation would not be so contestable in Japan. To add to this, this quotation also highlights the ontology of international—global and the similar non-global position many countries find themselves in currently whatever the prevailing rhetoric is.


Doherty, C., & Singh, P. (2005). How the West is Done: Simulating Western Pedagogy in a Curriculum for Asian International Students. In P. Ninnes & M. Hellstén (Eds.), Internationalizing Higher Education. Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy (pp. 53–74). Dordrecht: Springer & The Comparative Education Research Centre University of Hong Kong.

Graves, C. W. (1970). Levels of Existence: an Open System Theory of Values. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 10, 131–155. http://doi.org/10.1177/002216787001000205

Graves, C. W. (1974). Human nature prepares for a momentous leap. The Futurist, 8(2), 72–85.

Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self: Problem and process in human development. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence; the cognitive developmental approach to socialisation. In D. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialisation: theory and research. New York: Rand McNally.

 Ninnes, P., & Hellstén, M. (2005). Internationalizing Higher Education. Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy. Dordrecht: Springer & The Comparative Education Research Centre University of Hong Kong. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0703993104

Ong, V. Y. S. (2012). Complexities of multiple paradigms in higher education leadership today. Journal of Global Management, 4(1). http://doi.org/10.1055/s-0032-1333472

Pick, D. (2008). Towards a “post-public era”? Shifting frames in German and Australian higher education policy. Higher Education Quarterly, 62(1-2), 3–19. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2008.00383.x

Singer, P. (1981). The expanding circle: Ethics, evolution, and moral progress. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Welch, A. (2002). Going Global? Internationalizing Australian Universities in a Time of Global Crisis. Comparative Education Review, 46(4), 433–471. http://doi.org/10.1086/343120


About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a private university.
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