Original Research

Securitisation theory and the securitised university: Europe and the nascent colonisation of global intellectual capital

Liam F. Gearon
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 4 | a70 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v4i0.70 | © 2019 Liam F. Gearon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2019 | Published: 26 June 2019

About the author(s)

Liam F. Gearon, Harris Manchester College and Department of Education, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; and, Faculty of Education and Arts, School of Humanities and Social Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle, Australia


Background: This article explores the increasing prevalence of security themes in higher education policy.

Aim: Addressing neglect in security studies on the role of the university in the processes of securitisation, this article shows the integral relationship between securitisation theory and the securitised university.

Setting: Drawing on exemplars from European higher education, the article argues that this complex epistemological transformation is part of a new and as yet little understood new colonisation of global intellectual capital.

Methods: The argument is in three stages: (1) that securitisation theory can account for the emergence of the securitised university; (2) that this securitisation of universities is integral to the political process of Europeanisation; and (3) that from this European context we may glimpse a nascent colonisation of global intellectual capital.

Results: This analysis of securitisation has, therefore, deep if as yet little explored epistemological implications for the transformation of universities worldwide, particularly because of this epistemological dimension, a de facto securitisation of knowledge.

Conclusion: This article concludes that these transformations are also important if at present neglected element to historic and contemporary debates on decolonising the curriculum, which frequently highlight the postcolonial relations and culturally still powerful relations between continents, for example between Europe and Africa.


securitisation; universities; colonisation; epistemology; postcolonialism


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Crossref Citations

1. Safe Space, Dangerous Territory: Young People’s Views on Preventing Radicalization through Education—Perspectives for Pre-Service Teacher Education
Saija Benjamin, Visajaani Salonen, Liam Gearon, Pia Koirikivi, Arniika Kuusisto
Education Sciences  vol: 11  issue: 5  first page: 205  year: 2021  
doi: 10.3390/educsci11050205