Non-state actors, and the advance of frontier higher education markets in the global south

Susan L Robertson, Janja Komljenovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This paper examines the growth of global non-state and multilateral actors in the ‘global south’ and the creation of frontier markets in the higher education sector. These developments are part of market-making changes in higher education as the sector is opened to new actors, logics, and innovative services, aimed at ‘the global south’. Yet making a higher education market that brings in new investors, providers and consumers from within and across the global north and south is a complex process that requires imagining and materialising through new social devices, norms and institutions so that the higher education sector works like a capitalist market based on competition, credit, commodification and creativity (Beckert, 2013). The paper examines these processes through three entry points; recruiters of international students; for-profit providers of HE; and financial agents providing new forms of credit. We argue these developments both play off, and reinforce, older and newer asymmetries of power between individuals, social groups and nations, within and between the global north and south, creating an even greater learning divide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-611
Number of pages18
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number5
Early online date15 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • higher education
  • marketization
  • recruitment agents
  • investors
  • credit
  • for-profit providers
  • global south
  • global north


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