Opening the mind? Geographies of knowledge and curricular practices

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Inspired by Bourdieu’s (Homo academicus, Polity, Cambridge, 1988; The logic of practice, Polity, Cambridge, 1990) ideas of knowledge reproduction, the article presents an empirical mapping of knowledge geographies, as manifest in the curricular practices found within a single international MA programme in Denmark. Following an initial discussion of global trends in academic publishing, Berg’s (Geoforum 35:553–558, 2004) notions of “limited” and “unlimited” spaces are adopted as a conceptual framework, enabling us to identify “geographies of power” in the production and reproduction of academic knowledge. The empirical analysis is based on a data set comprised of course reading lists, lecturer biographies and interviews with five lecturers and one programme convener. A quantitative analysis of nationality and institutional affiliation of authors represented on the course curricula provides a general picture of knowledge geographies and places the USA/UK in the position as leading producers of knowledge, followed by northern Europe. A qualitative analysis of lecturers’ reflections on their curricular practices suggests an awareness of the dominant role occupied by the USA/UK and possibly Europe, but also a recognition of a need to engage with new spaces. The article concludes with a discussion of “open” versus “closed” positions among the lecturers, leading to an identification of possible change agents within the programme.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)573-587
Publication statusPublished - 26. Nov 2016


  • Curricular practices
  • Geographies of power
  • International education
  • Knowledge production

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