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Title: Higher Education and the Construction of Institutional Identities in a Globalising World
Keywords: discourse, identity, globalization, branding, higher education, ideology
Issue Date: 24-May-2010
Citation: CHRISTINE ANITA XAVIER (2010-05-24). Higher Education and the Construction of Institutional Identities in a Globalising World. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of globalization on discourse through an examination of discourses of higher education institutions (HEIs). Past research in this area of globalization and discourse has largely examined the implications of globalization on English as a global language, on discourses in tourism, music, magazines and so forth. However, the influence of globalization on the discourses of HEIs has been under-researched. Given the significant impact of globalization on HEIs, how globalization has impacted the discourses of HEIs is necessarily essential in understanding the greater role of discourse in this age of globalization. This period of globalization is characterized by escalating `free market? and competitive forces that affect how public and private institutions are organized. In relation to HEIs, these forces have driven most of these institutions to become corporatized, with an increased focus on marketing themselves as commodities in the global marketplace in order to compete for a greater market share of target students and staff, as choices between these institutions are made more accessible with increased mobility that comes with globalization. It is suggested in this study that one identified response to this global competition, is the positioning of numerous HEIs around the world as `global? universities, where the `global? mark is valued as a signal of quality across markets in this global economy. This study examines how HEIs construct and promote themselves as `global? institutions through discourse. This is investigated by examining how four HEIs ? the `benchmark? universities of Harvard University (Harvard) and University of Oxford (Oxford) and the `emerging? universities of National University of Singapore (NUS) and Seoul National University (SNU) - achieve this `global? identity construction via their university discourses on their websites. A comparative study like this allows for an investigation of whether universities within different world systems (where Harvard and Oxford are situated in the `core? regions of the world and NUS and SNU are situated within the `semiperipheries? of the world system) and `class? systems (`benchmark? versus `emerging? universities) appeal to similar or different discourse practices, discursive strategies and globalization ideologies in this `global? identity construction. Drawing upon Fairclough?s `three-dimensional? framework of discourse analysis and Gal and Irvine?s framework for ideology articulation, analyses of discourse practices, discursive strategies and globalization ideologies, as used and appealed to by the selected HEIs in this `global? identity construction, are conducted. The findings of this study point to an extent of convergence in how these universities discursively construct `global? identities for themselves. This suggests the prevalence of a distinctive discourse of globalization that is employed as a branding tool by these HEIs across the globe, in this `global? identity construction. The findings then illustrate the greater instrumental role of discourse in this age of globalization. Given the dialectical relationship between discourses and social changes, this `global? identity construction by these universities through the utilization of a discourse of globalization, has implications on actual institutional changes that impact especially the local contexts within which these institutions function, as will be discussed in this study.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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