Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS)

Gordana Angelichin-Zhura

Gordana Angelichin-Zhura

BGSS Generation 2016



Cosmopolitan cultural capital in international higher education






Globalization and neoliberal logic have transformed the international higher education system into a market where universities struggle for dominant positions and students  compete to access it. Advantages associated with international study stretch beyond academic credentials and include cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1984) such as the cosmopolitan outlook, which is institutionalized by the international higher education system and desired by students as a marker of distinction on the global labor market. The system thus functions as a mechanism in the reproduction of social difference (Ibid.). Yet as the highly diversified international education market is rapidly developing, student mobility is also increasing at a high speed. This does not necessarily implymore equal opportunities, but a change of field and thus in value of the specific capital. The question is then what capital gains or loses value and who is able to capitalize cosmopolitanism as a marker of distinction? A different perspective on investigating cosmopolitan cultural capital is therefore proposed: to identify individual agencies who are included and excluded in the competition for strategic positioning. For that purpose, a qualitative study of international students enrolled in higher educational instititutions in Berlin, Germany will be conducted.


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