This contribution seeks to outline how the research of higher education can benefit from an interdisciplinary perspective. It interrelates European Studies and sociology of professions with studies of the Europeanisation of higher education (HE) (Vögtle, 2014, Brøgger, 2016). A number of studies of the Europeanisation of HE point out the impact of the European internal market on higher education. I will turn the perspective upside down and points out the role of European higher education standards in advancing the European single market, notably in the sphere of professional services.
In a first step I will develop a theoretical framework in the vein of accounts of the sociology of professions that highlights the social role of professions. Professionals are more than experts and knowledge workers. Notably a Durkheimian perspective points out the role of professions in ensuring social cohesion, or organic solidarity to use Durkheim’s term (Durkheim, 2003, see also Lukes and Prabhat, 2012). Along these theoretical lines we get a better idea of the societal implications of the endeavour of the EU to Europeanise professions. In a second step the paper will outline the role the sociology of professions attributes to universities in constituting liberal professions. Notably Talcott Parsons points out their key role in his study of the professional complex (Parsons, 1969: 331).
Against this theoretical backdrop I will study the endeavour of the EU to establish a European market for the regulated professions and the role of European standards of higher education in facilitating this endeavour. A particular focus will be on the European University Association (EUA) in this context.
References BEACH, DEREK, AND RASMUS BRUN PEDERSEN. (2013) Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. BRØGGER, KATJA. (2016) The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37:72-91. CHECKEL, JEFFREY T. (2008) Tracing Causal Mechanisms. International Studies Review 8:362- 70. DURKHEIM, EMILE. (2003) Professional ethics and civil morals. London: Routledge. FEAGIN, JOE R., ANTHONY M ORUM, AND GIDEON SJOBERG. (1991) A case for case study. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. FREIDSON, ELIOT. (2001) Professionalism: The Third Logic. Cambridge: Polity Press. LUKES, STEVEN, AND DEVYANI PRABHAT. (2012) Durkheim on law and morality: The disintegration thesis. Journal of Classical Sociology 12:363–83. PARSONS, TALCOTT. (1969) Research in Human Subjects and the "Professional Complex". Daedalus 98:325-60. VÖGTLE, EVA MARTIA. (2014) Higher Education Policy Convergence and the Bologna Process. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. YIN, ROBERT K. . (2003) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
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