236 Crisis and Contradiction in European Higher Education

Friday, July 10, 2015: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
S2 (28 rue des Saints-Pères)
Declining rates of economic growth, aging populations and rapid technological change have put evermore pressure on countries’ inherited institutional compromises at the nexus of work and welfare (or, to put it more abstractly: at the intersection of capitalism and democracy). In turn, European policymakers have sought to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the institutions structuring countries’ state-society relations. Inspired by ideas from endogenous growth theory in economics and informed by a positive reading of the American experience, they have focused on higher education policy as promising to simultaneously enhance social inclusion and economic competitiveness. For instance, the European Union’s Lisbon Agenda and governments’ declarations about the intention behind the Bologna Process display strong commitments to building differentiated national systems of mass higher education as a way of adapting to post-Fordist “knowledge” capitalism. However, as policymakers sought to both expand education and introduce more market elements in its provision, their initiatives nurtured political conflicts over diverging conceptions of the nature and purpose of higher education. At the core of these struggles is the question of whether higher education will remain a collectively provided public good or morph into a private service that can be individually procured by consumers. The panel brings together participants from five countries to debate contributions from materially-focused political science and discourse-analytic sociology. The panel promises to spread important light on the politics of this comprehensive political and policy reorientation, which started well before the Financial Crisis, and only intensified with countries’ austerity responses to it.
Tobias Schulze-Cleven
Christine Musselin
Discussant :
Marino Regini
Academic Governance: The Perspective from below
Johannes Angermuller, University of Warwick
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