Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Comparative and International Education

First Adviser

Wiseman, Alexander W.


This study seeks to understand the influence of global-local connections in the context of international schools in Egypt. Specifically, how does the international and local orientation of elite, international schools in Egypt influence Egyptian students’ orientations towards the self, others, and the broader society? Quantitative subquestions explored include: What is the orientation of elite, international schools in Egypt? What global and local inputs have the greatest significant influence on this process? Qualitative questions include: What role do international schools play in legitimizing and cultivating cosmpolitanism in these privileged students? How do privileged students interpret and use the skills and dispositions acquired and refined in their international schools? The goal of this study is to examine social and cultural processes in elite, international schools in Egypt that reinforce and reproduce distinction and privilege. Unraveling this process is done using a mixed methods, vertical case study framed by the work of Pierre Bourdieu through the perspectives of school alumni. International schools are unique and exclusive sites where global inputs–teachers, curriculum, language–flow largely unfiltered into these local schools. Yet, little research exists that analyzes the influence of these global inputs in local school contexts, if any adaptation or inclusion of the local context transpires, or the subsequent long term influence this field has on students (re)positioning into society. Quantitative results indicate that global-local connections in international schools persistantly focus on internationalization at the expense of localization. The lack of localization subsequently increases differentiation within Egypt’s society. Qualitative results support these quantitative findings that perceptions of differentiation are largely related to the cultivation of global rather than local connections. As a result, these schools act as exclusive vectors of cosmpolitanism, subsequently, deepening social class divides while simaltaneously reinforcing students’ privilege and distinction. However, this distinction, cultivated and legitimized by elite, international schools, provides both advantages and disadvantages depending on the orientation of the field in which they are participating and individuals’ abilities to operationalize legitimatized local and transnational capital.