Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Marianne Larsen

Abstract

Using Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a way to do Critical Policy Analysis (CPA), this instrumental case study explores the relationships between citizenship and immigration (CI) policies and the internationalization of Canadian higher education. By utilizing a critical-sociomaterial approach, the research exposes actors and actor-networks that are otherwise overlooked in these policy areas. Moreover, this lens underscores the impacts and consequences of policy and how the enrollment and/or exclusion of actors in actor-networks enables certain actors to exert control, power, and primacy over others.

While most research on internationalization identifies the academy as the site for internationalization policy enactment, this research notes that the policy topology is spread across various levels of governance and transcends the university into both provincial and federal spaces. The findings suggest that Canada’s CI policies, along with its regulations make it difficult for university administrators to internationalize their institutions, with respect to recruiting, supporting, and retaining international students. International students, who want to immigrate to Canada post-graduation, highlighted that they found federal CI legislation confusing. They experienced both emotional and financial stress because of systemic barriers within the government-sponsored pathways to Canadian permanent residency. They see Canada as a less attractive place to study, expressed that they feel unwelcome, warned that restrictive CI legislation will hinder Canada’s ability to attract prospective international students, and also retain Canadian-trained talent.

The analysis reveals three complex, interconnected, and at times, competing assemblages of human and non-human actors enrolled in Canada’s CI and internationalization policies. Through their connections, these actor-networks help the government emerge as a powerful actor in Canadian public policy. By redefining its relationship with provinces and universities, the federal government enrolls the academy in technocratic ways to regulate the flow of international students.

This research also highlights the powerful role that special interest groups (SIGs) play in these policy assemblages and their role in connecting CI and internationalization policies. Moreover, the study underscores interdepartmental policy misalignments within the federal government with respect to CI, internationalization, and labour policies. These controversies highlight competing narratives of what is important for the Canadian economy and the value of international students.

While most research on internationalization identifies the academy as the site for internationalization policy enactment, this research notes that the policy topology is spread across various levels of governance and transcends the university into both provincial and federal spaces. The findings suggest that Canada’s CI policies, along with its regulations make it difficult for university administrators to internationalize their institutions, with respect to recruiting, supporting, and retaining international students. International students, who want to immigrate to Canada post-graduation, highlighted that they found federal CI legislation confusing. They experienced both emotional and financial stress because of systemic barriers within the government-sponsored pathways to Canadian permanent residency. They see Canada as a less attractive place to study, expressed that they feel unwelcome, warned that restrictive CI legislation will hinder Canada’s ability to attract prospective international students, and also retain Canadian-trained talent.

The analysis reveals three complex, interconnected, and at times, competing assemblages of human and non-human actors enrolled in Canada’s CI and internationalization policies. Through their connections, these actor-networks help the government emerge as a powerful actor in Canadian public policy. By redefining its relationship with provinces and universities, the federal government enrolls the academy in technocratic ways to regulate the flow of international students.

This research also highlights the powerful role that special interest groups (SIGs) play in these policy assemblages and their role in connecting CI and internationalization policies. Moreover, the study underscores interdepartmental policy misalignments within the federal government with respect to CI, internationalization, and labour policies. These controversies highlight competing narratives of what is important for the Canadian economy and the value of international students.