Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo
Prevalent notions of ‘education cities’ and ‘education hubs’ are vaguely defined, operate at blurry scales and tend to reproduce promotional language. The article contributes to theorising the geographies and spaces of globalising higher education by developing the concept of transnational education zones. Through an urban political economy lens, we review the relations between universities and cities, consider universities’ role in the political economy and understand universities as transnational urban actors. We exhaustively map the phenomenon of transnational education zones and empirically analyse cases from four cities (Doha, Dubai, Iskandar and Flic en Flac) with respect to their embeddedness in state-led projects for the ‘knowledge economy’, their vision for transnational subject formation and their character as urban zones of exception. The conclusion develops a research agenda for further critical geographic inquiries into the (re)making of cities through the development of transnational spaces of higher education that explores the relations between globalising higher education and material and discursive transformations at the urban scale.
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