Title

Bureaucratic impediments to HE ‘internationalisation’ policy: A case study of administrative practices in Japan

Location

3035

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

13-1-2017 3:40 PM

End Date

13-1-2017 5:00 PM

Abstract

This paper explores how bureaucracy impedes the implementation of higher education (HE) policy through a case study of a Japanese university. Administrative systems employ Weberian legal-rational bureaucratic practices that are central to the institutional identity of a university. Rather than the means to internationalisation and reform in general, these systems themselves become the end, usually in direct opposition to not only innovation and change but, indeed, the university mission itself. After first outlining the macro-level processes and policies of the internationalisation of Japanese HE, I take an ethnographic and narrative approach to illustrate the micro-level administrative practices and assumptions at the university, framing them within the social theory of bureaucracy to allow for comparison with HE in other parts of East Asia and worldwide. As a way forward, I propose we borrow theories on social entrepreneurship to potentially resolve the challenge of embedded administrative practices and static institutional identities, a bureaucratic “utopia of rules” (Graeber 2015). I will demonstrate how, as a "caring" anthropologist actively engaged with university innovation, personal implementation of such entrepreneurial approaches does in fact effect incremental but positive change in administrative practices.

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Jan 13th, 3:40 PM Jan 13th, 5:00 PM

Bureaucratic impediments to HE ‘internationalisation’ policy: A case study of administrative practices in Japan

3035

This paper explores how bureaucracy impedes the implementation of higher education (HE) policy through a case study of a Japanese university. Administrative systems employ Weberian legal-rational bureaucratic practices that are central to the institutional identity of a university. Rather than the means to internationalisation and reform in general, these systems themselves become the end, usually in direct opposition to not only innovation and change but, indeed, the university mission itself. After first outlining the macro-level processes and policies of the internationalisation of Japanese HE, I take an ethnographic and narrative approach to illustrate the micro-level administrative practices and assumptions at the university, framing them within the social theory of bureaucracy to allow for comparison with HE in other parts of East Asia and worldwide. As a way forward, I propose we borrow theories on social entrepreneurship to potentially resolve the challenge of embedded administrative practices and static institutional identities, a bureaucratic “utopia of rules” (Graeber 2015). I will demonstrate how, as a "caring" anthropologist actively engaged with university innovation, personal implementation of such entrepreneurial approaches does in fact effect incremental but positive change in administrative practices.