in: Comparative Education 51(3), 327-352
The triad of cooperation, international exchange, and integration among institutions of higher education has become the new norm in the global experience of learning and academic training. The goal of improving and standardising the academic experience across countries is now typically also associated with fostering cultural and political ties and complementing processes of cultural integration and economic growth. Behind the rhetoric of many new initiatives, however, is a competition of geopolitical proportions, in which various national or regional systems of higher education try to shore up their positions or conquer new territory. In this paper we assess these discursive and material battles over institutional hegemony in Southeast Asian higher education by drawing on the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse. We critically address the competitive negotiation over higher education taking place between international and Southeast Asian educational players, asking whether these contribute more to integration than reinforcing dominant higher education domains.