Western doctoral programmes as public service, cultural diplomacy or intellectual imperialism? Expatriate educational leadership teaching in the United Arab Emirates

Eugenie A. Samier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This chapter approaches the topic of teaching the Western scholarly tradition in non-Western countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from three perspectives employing the following metaphors: as a Public Servant motivated by public service to the goals and aims of the country's development articulated by UAE rulers and its citizens; as Cultural Diplomat, representing the Western tradition and its scholarly achievements while respecting other traditions; and as Intellectual Imperialist, aiming at a colonising incorporation of the UAE into the Western academic world.

Methodology/approach - The main methodology adopted is the Weberian ideal type, located within a comparative and historical context that produces the metaphors as analytically possible perspectives as a western expatriate faculty member. Additional critique is drawn from Bourdieu, Said, Freire, Giroux, Foucault, Goffman and cross-cultural organisation studies.

Findings - The findings consist of an analytic framework consisting of public servant, cultural diplomat and intellectual imperialist as a set of conceptions for analysing possible orientations of Western expatriate academics in developing countries.

Social implications - The implications are threefold: on a personal level, what experientially does each of the metaphors mean for one's sense of identity, profession, values and relationships; on a pedagogical level, what principles and values distinguish the curriculum and teaching styles as well as orientation to Arab and Islamic scholarship; and politically, what is the potential impact and unintended consequences for the indigenous culture, sovereignty and societal survival of a country under the heavy influence of globalisation. The contention of this chapter is that one cannot avoid adopting one or more of these roles and may even perform in contradictory ways.

Originality/value - The originality is in establishing a new set of analytic categories drawing on post-colonial, diplomacy and critical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInvesting in our Education
Subtitle of host publicationLeading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate
EditorsAlison Taysum, Stephen Rayner
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781784411312
ISBN (Print)9781784411329
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Higher Education Research
ISSN (Print)1479-3628


  • critical theory
  • globalisation
  • islamic scholarship
  • middle East
  • weberian critique


Dive into the research topics of 'Western doctoral programmes as public service, cultural diplomacy or intellectual imperialism? Expatriate educational leadership teaching in the United Arab Emirates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this