, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 425–445 | Cite as

Transnational Mobility and International Academic Employment: Gatekeeping in an Academic Competition Arena

  • Brendan CantwellEmail author


This article draws upon concepts developed in recent empirical and theoretical work on high skilled and academic mobility and migration including accidental mobility, forced mobility and negotiated mobility. These concepts inform a situated, qualitative study of mobility among international postdoctoral researchers in life sciences and engineering fields who were employed at US and UK universities in 2008 and 2009. Informed by epistemological methods in the Foucauldian tradition of discourse and governmentality, the study explores how policy discourse and technologies empower and limit scientists and engineers in negotiating employment arrangements across national boundaries.


Academic mobility Postdoctoral researchers Academic employment Higher education United States United Kingdom Immigration Global academic competition 



I would like to thank Alma Maldonado-Maldonado and Jenny J. Lee for their support and good advice when I conducted this research. Additional thanks to Sheila Slaughter, Ilkka Kauppinen, Barrett Taylor, Bethan Cantwell and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on early versions of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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