Transnational mobility networks and academic social capital among early‐career academics: beyond common‐sense assumptions
2020-10-12, Schaer, Martine, Jacot, Cédric, Dahinden, Janine
Academic mobility is increasingly presented as indispensable for a successful academic career. This imperative is rooted in the assumption that mobility contributes to academic excellence because it allows academics to build transnational academic networks. Based on biographical interviews and an analysis of the mobility networks of early‐career academics at three universities (Zurich, Cambridge, and UCLA), we examine the composition of these academics’ networks at different times and discuss the role of transnational ties within them. We find that increased mobility does indeed result in more transnational networks, but it does not increase academic social capital. The additional transnational ties mainly consist of transnational kinship and friendship relations. Furthermore, the mobility of early‐career academics triggers various forms of mobility among their family members. Finally, early‐career academics can build transnational academic ties without necessarily becoming mobile themselves, thanks to the mobility of higher‐ranked academics.