Sanaz Raji

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2022-23

Sanaz Raji

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2022-23

Beekeeping in the End Times

The proposed research seeks to understand how bordering processes within UK higher education transforms the nature of the university. Specifically, this project is interested in understanding how migrant students and staff (academic & non-academic), experience the interlinkages between UK marketised higher education, and surveillance associated with border regimes within universities. This study will build on the preliminary data collected by Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC). 

The border regime in UK universities predates the current hostile environment policy, associated with 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts. It was the Labour government’s Points Based Immigration System (PBIS), introduced between 2008 and 2010, which first required universities to monitor international staff and students in order to maintain their license as immigration sponsors. Fearing difficulties in sponsoring international students, who bring millions of pounds into universities and local economies, university administrators complied with the implementation of increasingly stringent immigration controls within their institutions.

McGettigan (2013) has explored the effects of marketised higher education in the UK but has only briefly touched upon the experiences of migrant university students and staff. Mavroudi & Warren (2012), Dear (2019), and Collier & Ross (2020) have also sought to explore different realms of border policy, race and colonialism and surveillance affecting migrant students and university staff. My proposal will be the first study to consider the relationship between marketised, neoliberal higher education and bordering processes inside the university, and the differential impact on international students and staff depending on their social location. 

This project will employ qualitative interviews to explore how bordering processes within UK universities function and change over time. The pandemic has starkly illustrated the need for such research, and, this study will make an important contribution to scholarship, while also having an important impact outside academia by producing research that can inform migrant activist strategies.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.