International Students, Anxiety and Risk in the Post–September 11 Nation State

  • Peter Kell
  • Gillian Vogl
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 17)


This chapter explores the context and dilemmas in Australia, one of the major destinations for international students, where almost 20% of all enrolled students are from overseas. The chapter explores some of the dilemmas and tensions in a country which has a strong history of migration and a commitment to multiculturalism yet has been subject to significant resistance to immigration and backlashes against international students. The chapter explores some aspects of the shift against migration, the growth of regressive localism and the emergence of violence against migrant and ethnic groups in Australia. In the face of this growing uncertainty and resistance, the chapter explores the attempts of Australian authorities to market a benign and welcoming environment. The chapter selects and critically analyses several websites from international recruiters for Australian universities. The chapter documents how these websites portray the international student experience in Australia as benign and secure in a manner more traditional associated with youth tourism. The advertisements emphasise beach lifestyles, socialising and making friendships and companions and new adventures in exotic locations. The authors identify the contradictory situation for students where there are increasing levels of scrutiny and surveillance of international students and their families in an environment typified by a political and social environment where there is growing personal risk. The chapter explores how international students are positioned as a ‘problem’ and as a ‘risk’ and Becks’ notion of the risk society employed to further explore the reality that it is the international students who are placed most at risk and are highly vulnerable. The chapter identifies the patterns of intervention which are typified by contradictions and paradoxes as initiatives often contrive to impede and confine the opportunities for students to demonstrate autonomy and agency. The authors argue that, in Australia, there is a new paternalism with escalating levels of state monitoring and control is paradoxically shaped by the ideology of the neo-liberalism and the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. The chapter further identifies a trend that has seen the growth of greater levels of bureaucratic control at the same time that the services for international students are eroded at a time of expanded need.


High Education Gross Domestic Product International Student Australian Government Student Mobility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Deem, R., Mok, K., & Lucas, L. (2008). Transforming higher education in whose image? Exploring the concept of the ‘World-Class’ university in Europe and Asia. Higher Education Policy, 21, 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Graycar,A. (2010). Racism and the tertiary student experience in Australia. The academy of social sciences, occasional paper, May 20, 2010.Google Scholar
  3. Habermas, J. (1990). The Theory of Communicative action: The lifeworld and the system: The critique of functionalist reason (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. Kell, P. M., & Vogl, G. (2007c). Studying in Australia a quality experience? In M. Sirat, M. Munir, & R. Jamaludin (Eds.), Teaching and learning & governance and leadership in higher education. Penang: Universit Sains Malaysia Press.Google Scholar
  5. Slattery, L. (2007). Australia not a surf, sun and sex holiday. The Australian newspaper, November 29, 2007.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kell
    • 1
  • Gillian Vogl
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationCharles Darwin UniversityCasuarinaAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Research on Social InclusionMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations