The Irrelevance of the Re-Configured Definition of Internationalisation to the Global South:

Intention Versus Coercion

  • Damtew Teferra

Abstract

This article argues that the definition of internationalisation as recast by de
Wit, Hunter, Howard, and Egron-Polak (2015), which embraced ‘intentionality’
as its key component, is of no relevance to the reality of the Global
South. It maintains that contemporary ontological manifestations of the
terminology have been appreciably misrepresented, if not wholly distorted,
mainly by a passionate, albeit sincere, desire to advance certain ‘good’
intentions, while disregarding others, in the process creating a dissonance
between epistemological reality and a paradigmatic trajectory. In his latest
argument, de Wit maintained that the definition is “normative and descriptive”,
but Teferra countered that it is neither normative nor descriptive but
rather prescriptive and coercive. This article argues that this definition
requires acceptance of an articulated ‘good’ intention as fundamental to
internationalisation. Intentions are as broad and dynamic as they are subtle
and complex. Even ‘good’ intentions are subjective and are presumed
worthy by a certain sector of society (scholarly or otherwise) for a certain
period of time and to a certain extent. Thus, the definition of internationalisation,
as it stands, does not concur with these basic tenets of intentions,
rendering it somewhat irrelevant to most of the Global South, and quite a
number of instances in the Global North.

Published
2020-11-11
How to Cite
Teferra, D. (2020). The Irrelevance of the Re-Configured Definition of Internationalisation to the Global South:. International Journal of African Higher Education, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.6017/ijahe.v7i2.12905