This article examines the internationalisation of professions in a qualitative study of migrant academics, drawing on social closure theory to understand how professions respond to the growing numbers of migrants. While studies of closure in professions tend to focus on forms of exclusion based on ascribed characteristics, this article is concerned with how professions include migrants in their ranks. Analysis of interviews with 62 foreign-born academics working in the UK reveals differences in degree of closure towards migrant academics, indicating that inclusion and exclusion are not binary opposites. The article captures degrees of closure in a novel concept – ‘modes of incorporation’ – identifying three inclusion patterns: integration, subordination and marginalisation. ‘Modes of incorporation’ extends closure theory by showing how inclusion is controlled and designed to preserve the status quo, thereby restricting internationalisation.
- Migrant academics
- Social closure