Weaving an emperor’s new clothes:
Considering contradictory accounts of international education’s purpose


The presentation takes a pluriculturalist approach to Biesta’s ‘functional distinctions’ by looking at the East meets West cultural interchanges that play out in three distinct types of Asian private international school. By considering high stakes credentials, citizenship education and differing views of the learner’s subjectivity we see where a Western view of education’s purpose marries with an Asian one, and where it does not. In turn, this questions the lack of plurality in the ‘purpose’ narrative produced by Biesta and arguably other Englishmedium research generally. By considering the values each culture attaches to the purpose of education, we see why Western, Englishmedium research needs to remain cognisant of its predisposition to cultural generalisms when telling its stories.