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international education policy, policy-making process, discursive policy, discourse coalition framework, argumentative policy studies, postsecondary education policy


This study aims to examine the international education (IE) policy-making context in Ontario for the period from 2005 to mid-2017 while also taking into account the announcement of the new policy document Ontarios International Postsecondary Education Strategy 2018. It sets out to answer three research questions: (a) How is international education constructed as a policy discourse in the postsecondary sector in Ontario? (b) Who are the policy actors who are contributing to the postsecondary international education policy-making process in Ontario? and (c) What role do they play in influencing IE policy and empowering and silencing different discourses? To answer these research questions, this study adopts Maarten Hajers Discourse Coalition Framework (DCF) and steps of doing argumentative discursive analysis (2006). Data sources included IE stories in the three highest-circulation newspapers in Ontario (415 articles); 23 interviews with policy actors, and 195 policy documents. Whereas policy studies employing DCF have typically identified oppositional storylines, the findings of this study reveal one dominant storyline: Internationalize. All discourses agree, to varying degrees, that IE is desirable and beneficial to the postsecondary education sector and Ontario. However, within the overarching Internationalize storyline, three storylines emerge: (a) Internationalize, it is good for the economy (Economy); (b) Internationalize, yet manage its risks (Risks); (c) Internationalize, it is Canadas gateway to the world (Gateway). The Economy storyline achieves hegemony as it succeeds in imposing its logic and ways of deliberation on the IE policy landscape (structuration) and is translated into institutional practices and policies (institutionalization). The study also reveals a shifting terrain in the IE policy landscape with the emergence of a new Regulate IE storyline, which has succeeded in introducing regulation and accountability discourses and reframing the hegemonic Economy storyline. By moving away from the state and focusing on storylines, this study reveals the fragmentation of the IE policy landscape and exposes actors from diverse scales, levels, disciplines, and contexts; all of whom contribute to the construction of IE and its related policies. One of the main findings of this study is the role of the media in building the IE narrative and mobilizing storylines. This research contributes to our understanding of the economic aspect of internationalization, which goes beyond discourses of neo-liberalism, and argues against the traditional binary categorizations of socio-cultural and educational versus economic internationalization. On a theoretical level, the study outlines the strengths of DCF and unsettles its conceptualization of collective and individual discursive agencies.


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