Academic and teacher expatriates: Mobilities, positionalities, and subjectivities

Sin Yee Koh, I. Lin Sin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Foreign academics and international school teachers have received little attention in migration studies and human geography despite their rapidly growing numbers and diversity in the global education landscape. This paper explores the inconsistent terms and categorical definitions attached to them and puts forth the value of approaching them as migrants under the term “expatriate.” It critically reviews an emerging body of work, led by human resource management and education literature, which uncovers the complexities and unique specificities of their mobilities. Our review reveals the diverse and uneven mobility structures, practices, and outcomes of academic and teacher expatriation that are stratified by gender, age, class, race, ethnicity, and nationality. Using the concept of translocational positionality, we argue that these intersectional positions must be situated within geographical contexts of power and differentiation to make visible the multiple, contingent, and contradictory realities of such expatriation. Doing so opens avenues for more nuanced and balanced insights into the privileges and vulnerabilities that confront these expatriates and which make them distinct and worthy of study.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12487
Number of pages13
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Cite this