Negotiating the tensions: A critical study of international schools’ mission statements

Tiago Bittencourt, Alexandra Willetts

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12 Scopus citations


This paper examines how international schools negotiate the competing demands set forth by the discourses of ideological ‘internationalism’ and ‘market-driven’ multinationalism. This was accomplished through a critical discourse analysis of the mission statements of 46 Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) member international schools. By identifying the interdiscursive and intertextual elements of the mission statements, we found that the potential tensions emerging from these competing discourses are often obfuscated, thus creating the semblance of congruency. This paper argues that by not acknowledging and disentangling these competing discourses, international schools may be subject to potentially detrimental consequences, which include marginalising their social and political possibilities and perpetuating neoliberal hegemony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-525
Number of pages11
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • International schools
  • discourse
  • hegemony
  • internationalism
  • mission statements
  • neoliberalism


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