Neo-nationalism and Turkish higher education: a phenomenological case study of a multilingual scholar’s identity (re)construction

Ortaçtepe Hart D., Burhan Horasanlı E.

Studies in Higher Education, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03075079.2023.2268127
  • Journal Name: Studies in Higher Education
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
  • Keywords: identity, multilingual scholars, Neo-nationalism, phenomenology, workplace socialization
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


By placing a strong emphasis on one’s national, cultural, and ethnic identity, neonationalism, as a contemporary political and cultural movement, prioritizes ‘sameness’ over diversity. This phenomenological case study focused on Turkish universities which have been under increasingly oppressive neo-nationalist policies within the past 10 years. It examined the lived experiences of a multilingual scholar in regard to his identity (re)construction and socialization upon his return from the US to Türkiye (Turkey). Descriptions of Anıl’s lived experiences were longitudinally collected via in-depth interviews, anecdotal records, and bi-weekly journal entries. The findings indicated that one’s country of origin or nation-state becomes a source of discrimination not only in study abroad contexts, but also when international students and scholars return to their home countries. In other words, neo-nationalism in higher education institutions (HEIs) not only influences ‘the Other’ but also those within the same ‘nation’ with more progressive pedagogical beliefs and practices. The findings also underline the need to consider the phenomenon of transnational intersectionality when accounting for multilingual scholars’ identity (re)construction and socialization. Such an approach would help situate the complexities of transnationalism within the larger discussions of how HEIs are shaped by current neo-nationalist policies. This study also calls for further research to pay attention to colonial legacies such as linguicide and epistemicide within HEIs so as to encourage multilingual scholars to resist and dismantle oppressive policies and practices that govern academia both at local and global contexts.