Global citizenship education as bounded self-formation in contemporary higher education internationalisation projects

Thatcher A. Spero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the progressive possibilities of global citizenship education (GCE) and higher education internationalisation in the current milieu that is defined by the interwoven dominance of globalisation, neoliberalism, and English. Since current trends augur shifts in higher education internationalisation growth to nonWestern and nonAnglophone countries, the study focuses on a university in Japan where both GCE and internationalisation are explicitly promoted. Taking an approach based in critical educational studies and guided by scholarship on contemporary citizen formation, it investigates the complex interplay of agency and structure through student self-narratives regarding their own global citizen identity development. The paper argues that over time these students (re)constructed meanings and identities around the concept of global citizenship through myriad pathways in a multidirectional feedback loop that interconnected their self-identity, feelings, aspirations/desires, imaginations, actions, and experiences. After revealing specific factors that limited and facilitated this process of self-formation, and highlighting the paramount role of imagination, the paper concludes by asserting the viability of realizing global community and global citizenship through strategically targeted educational initiatives. This work provides both pragmatic guidance and reasoned optimism for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners who champion the projects of critical global citizenship education and critical higher education internationalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-364
Number of pages16
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • English medium instruction
  • Globalisation
  • critical education
  • global citizenship education
  • higher education internationalisation
  • neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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