English-medium Instruction in the Italian context: Policies, practices, and discourses of internationalization

Zuaro, Beatrice (2022). English-medium Instruction in the Italian context: Policies, practices, and discourses of internationalization. PhD thesis Stockholm University.

URL: https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=d...


Higher Education (HE) is currently undergoing macro changes that pull in a direction of increased mobility and internationality. As a type of education conducted through a shared lingua franca, English-medium Instruction (EMI) is playing an important role in this process, gathering on itself various kinds of needs, aspirations and challenges. This, in turn, fuels the need for a deep understanding of the phenomenon, as it continues to grow and evolve.

The present thesis conducts a multifaceted investigation of EMI in the Italian context, exploring its conceptualization in relation to, on the one hand, internationalization as a macro-phenomenon and, on the other hand, the local culture and academic traditions. Thus, the thesis seeks to shed some light on the interplay of beliefs, behaviours and policies, to understand how language, culture and international education are positioned in EMI.

The findings indicate that the Italian EMI experience raises important questions for EMI conceptualization in general. In particular, the evidence retrieved suggests that the communication tool plays a role in how knowledge is constructed and conveyed in EMI; a similar influence can also be ascribed to the local culture. This role, however, appears to remain silent, as it is scarcely discussed and represented in the policies. Discussing the significance of such findings, the thesis argues for a more nuanced understanding of EMI and of its aims as an international education.

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