On 08 December 2022 the TRANSEDU team met with Sami Moisio, Professor of Spatial Planning and Policy at the University of Helsinki. Sami stayed for a week as a guest at our research institute, where he hold the 21st International Lecture on the topic of ‘Colonial Geopolitics of the Global Knowledge Economy’. His most recent work focuses on geopolitical analysis of the knowledge-based economy and other ‘new’ forms of knowledge capitalism (such as the start-up and tech-driven economy). Published by Routledge in 2018, his book ‘Geopolitics of the knowledge-based economy’ was awarded the Best Book Award of the Regional Studies Association in 2019.
We had a very fruitful exchange with Sami on the geopolitics of transnational higher education and more specifically, of our empirical phenomenon: branch campuses. We discussed notably the role and relevance of states and governments in the development of transnational education zones and in the import/export of offshore campuses. In the discussion, we differentiated between government-led projects to set up transnational education hubs where offshore campuses agglomerate, to the export strategies of individual higher education institutions that are less state-driven than following the path of corporations ‘offshoring’ their commercial activities across national borders. Through this exchange, the idea emerged to bring together all the work and ideas produced in our research team in the form of a publication that would, through a geopolitical analysis, look at transnational branch campus development as a global assemblage of the knowledge-based economy.