Signalling the ‘Multi-Local’ University? The Place of the City in the Growth of London-Based Satellite Campuses, and the Implications for Social Stratification
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AbstractAround 2009 some UK universities (based outside of the capital) began to open &lsquo;satellite campuses&rsquo; in London. There are currently 14 such campuses at present, which have been developed primarily with an international student market in mind. Concerns have been raised, however, about the quality of teaching on these campuses and the fact that student attainment is ostensibly falling significantly below that for the &lsquo;home&rsquo; campus. This project is the first of its kind to investigate, systematically, the ways in which universities are representing themselves in relation to these campuses (data include an analysis of prospectuses, YouTube content, websites and material garnered at open days). Using these data, we discuss the role that the City of London plays as a pivotal backdrop to these developments: the way it serves to substitute and compensate for lower levels of resources provided directly to the student from the university (here we consider accommodation, the outsourcing of teaching, the absence of a substantive campus environment and a general lack of focus on &lsquo;pedagogical&rsquo; matters in almost all marketing materials). Instead, the universities place London at the front and centre of attempts to &lsquo;sell&rsquo; the campus to potential students. The paper makes some innovative conceptual links between work in migration studies on the role and function of global cities in attracting workers and the way in which the city operates in this case to attract international students. These campuses feed into debates around the increasing inequalities evidenced as a consequence of the internationalisation of higher education, even when such developments are ostensibly &lsquo;domestic&rsquo;.