British degrees made in Hong Kong: an enquiry into the role of space and place in transnational education
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The fundamental logic of transnational education programmes is a one-to-one transfer of institutional capital across space and an unimportance of place. This article interrogates these presumptions and argues that space and place play an important role in transnational education. Drawing on research that examines the experiences of students and graduates of British degree programmes offered in Hong Kong, we conclude that institutional capital does not always travel wholly and smoothly due to a combination of policy-related, social, cultural and economic factors. Our findings also underline the importance of place in students’ experiences, which are not sufficiently recognised by the providers. This, in turn, affects the ability of students to cultivate institutional and other forms of social capital, with implications for subsequent employment opportunities and social mobility.
KeywordsTransnational education British degree programmes Hong Kong
We are grateful to all interviewees who shared with us their opinions and experiences, Yutin Ki for his excellent work and the British Council for its support. This paper is based on research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the Research Grants Council (Hong Kong) (RES-000-22-3000). An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the ARI-GUISM Joint Conference on Education Mobilities in East Asia held at the National University of Singapore in May 2012.
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