Internationalising Nordic higher education: comparing the imagined with actual worlds of international scholar-practitioners


  • Meeri Hellstén Associate Professor, Stockholm University (Associate Professor in International and Comparative Education)



internationalisation, imaginary, epistemic imperatives, world society theory, Sweden, Finland


This comparative case study addresses a timely issue engaging researchers involved in the internationalisation of Nordic Higher Education, in the context of Sweden and Finland. The study examines a hypothetical imaginary in the transition between university international policy statements and their understandings from the position of a globalised episteme. The investigation forms a tag-project as part of a funded large international research project examining ethical internationalism in times of global crises, involving a partnership between more than twenty higher education institutions in excess of ten countries across five continents. The data was collected using a mixed-methods design, whilst being controlled across the matched data collection period in 2013-2014. Data consisted of policy texts, surveys and interviews. The current research inquiry reports on a within and across comparative analyses of certain policy texts and follow-up interviews with university management. The results yield logical support for a global higher education imaginary driving internationalisation in ways which reveal paradoxical associations between the imagined and the real worlds of international scholar-practitioners.


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Author Biography

Meeri Hellstén, Associate Professor, Stockholm University (Associate Professor in International and Comparative Education)

Meeri Hellstén is Associate Professor in International and Comparative Education and she teaches on the Master Program in International and Comparative Education.

Meeri has an international academic background having lectured in higher education in Australia before arriving at a position in intercultural education at Södertörn University, where she was promoted to full Professor in 2013.

During her career Meeri has supervised a number of PhD projects to completion and she lectures on both the doctoral research program and on professional development courses at Stockholm University.

Meeri has provided professional services to many outreach initiatives and she has been an active member of the comparative and international research networks globally since 1995.


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How to Cite

Hellstén, M. (2018). Internationalising Nordic higher education: comparing the imagined with actual worlds of international scholar-practitioners. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 1(2).