Higher Education

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 543–556 | Cite as

Towards transnational academic capitalism

  • Ilkka KauppinenEmail author


This paper contributes to current debates on the relationship between globalisation and higher education. The main argument of the paper is that we are currently witnessing transnationalisation of academic capitalism. This argument is illustrated by examining the collaboration between transnational corporations and research universities, and how transnational academic capitalism has been promoted by different intermediating organizations. On theoretical level the paper draws from global capitalism school and the theory of academic capitalism, but also moves beyond them by introducing new concepts such as knowledge-intensive transnational economic practices. The emergence of transnational academic capitalism challenges the common assumption that universities are primarily promoters of national economic competitiveness.


Transnational academic capitalism Transnational corporations Global capitalism 



This research article was largely written at the University of Georgia (US), The Institute of Higher Education (between August 2010-February 2011) where I worked as a Visiting Fulbright Post Doc Researcher. I want to thank, with the usual disclaimer, Brendan Cantwell, Tuukka Kaidesoja, Rajani Naidoo, and Sheila Slaughter, as well as anonymous referees, for comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and PhilosophyUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland

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