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International scholars in Eastern Europe – external motivations crucial for recruitment process

This paper, based on 100 in-depth interviews conducted in Poland and another 40 in Slovakia, analyses life trajectories of foreign-born scholars who decided to pursue careers in Central Europe. Their narratives are very different from the regular “linear” careers reported in the studies focused on academic profession, which usually start with good student performance and proceed to publications, research projects, and conference appearances, to growing recognition, and finally, retirement. The overarching research question of this paper is “How do contingent factors shape the academic careers of foreign-born scholars in Central Europe?” The study demonstrates that, in the semi-peripheries of global knowledge production, a typical recruitment process is triggered by external factors usually unrelated to professional motivations (e.g. a romantic relationship or an unexpected academic job offer). The decision to migrate is usually made with limited knowledge about the receiving country. The emic category of “dart throw”? captures this situation well.

The paper