23 SES 17 C, Higher Education
Higher Education systems worldwide are currently positioned as contributing directly to national economic development and economic competitiveness. Within Europe, the Lisbon-induced goal of transforming Europe into the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy globally has been re-articulated in HE reform policies put forward in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA). At the same time, the position and the authority of European Union agencies contributing to the formation of the dominant discourse on education reform has been strengthened (Robertson & Sorenson, 2017). A considerable body of research studies have illustrated how “educational governance” through metrics, evidence-based modes of accountability (Ozga, 2012), comparability systems and new management structures reshape the education area. In the field of HE, institutions are conceptualized as entrepreneurial organisations (Shattock, 2009) possessing varying degrees of “academic capitalism” (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004) and expected to operate successfully in a highly competitive global environment (Robertson & Dale, 2008). The rationale for educational reform seems to draw from the perceived imperatives of global competitiveness. Naidoo ( 2016) uses the "competition fetish" metaphor to account for the perception of competition as an independent, neutral force able to solve HE problems. In the case of government-promoted “excellence policies”, competition is formulated from rules and regulations derived from the "best" practices internationally (Naidoo, 2016), which are assessed and disseminated by “experts” (Grek, 2013 ) at different levels. Olssen (2016) shows how the “impact turn”, which includes the devalorisation of the Humanities and the reorientation of research to “market-friendly” means and ends, has a twofold function: explicitly it aims at greater accountability for the public good and implicitly at closer monitoring and control of academic work. The latter has been documented as having a significant impact on the restructuring of academic identities (Henkel, 2005; Harley, 2002).
In the Greek context, a troubled process of HE reform has been unfolding. Αttempts to reshape the sector under the perceived demands for competitiveness have been further reinforced by government-initiated processes of quality assurance according to E.U. requirements and standards. Starting from this “evaluation turn” in the Greek HE sector, neo-managerialistic values and policies have entered the field giving rise to new discourses on HE reform, produced and disseminated by a number of educational and non-educational actors, agencies and networks. In light of the above, this paper aims at exploring the impact of internationalisation policies as technologies of accountability and performance measurement embedded in HE evaluation mechanisms and academic practice management. It appears that internationalization is being redefined drawing from knowledge resources and power relations congruent with a performance management culture introduced in the Greek context by government –initiated evaluation processes. In particular, this presentation focuses on the discourses about the internationalization of HE, disseminated by a number of heterogeneous actors; the resources mobilized and the technologies deployed; the effects of dominant discourses and practices on the governing of HEIs and on the formation of legitimate forms of knowledge; and finally the differential discursive positioning of academics with respect to internationalization.
Our theoretical framework is grounded in Foucault’s notions of discourse and governmentality (Foucault, 1991) and Bernstein’s theory on pedagogic discourse (Bernstein, 2000). We integrate macro and micro levels of analysis by attending to the “regimes of truth and knowledge” produced by the dominant discourses of governance and higher education reform affecting academics’ conduct and practices ; and by utilizing Bernstein’s theory of the pedagogic device, and its rules of distribution, recontextualisation and evaluation of knowledge in pedagogical contexts (Bernstein, 2000; Singh, 2002).
Our empirical data is derived from three different sets: • The internal evaluation reports of 15 HEI departments produced and made public through government-led evaluation processes under the coordination of the Hellenic Quality Assurance & Accreditation Agency. From a theoretical and methodological perspective these reports constitute official representations of the dominant discourse on HE reform in Greece. • 25 semi-structured interviews with key policy-actors located at the level of HEIs. The interviewees’ accounts are conceptualised as realisations in local/institutional contexts of the dominant discourse on HE reform in relation to internationalization. • Questionnaires designed to elicit discourse for qualitative analysis, distributed electronically. We have addressed the faculty members (N= 280, in total) of the fifteen departments of our sample (three departments per one institution,15 in total), from a wide range of disciplines: engineering (2), hard sciences (2), technology (2), administrative sciences (2), social sciences (3), education (2) and humanities (2). Respondents were full-time faculty members irrespective of rank and the questions focus on the faculty’s views and understandings of the internationalisation policy framework, its impact on their local contexts and its implications for fundamental aspects of academic work. Utilising our theoretical resources mentioned in the preceding section as well as work done previously in studying transformations in Greek HE (Sarakinioti et al., 2015) we have analysed the empirical data based on “languages of description” grounded in Bernstein’s (2000) theory of pedagogic discourse and Foucault’s (1991)theory on governmentality. These languages of description were formulated to explore the boundaries in the field that demarcate categories in terms of power-relations and forms of knowledge; the degree of boundary maintenance or change “between” and “within” these categories; and how these categories are made accessible (Moss, 2001). The aim was to identify the shifts taking place in the field of HE in relation to the forms of knowledge and power relations embedded in the discourses on internationalization policies, practices and rationales as they are being framed in a new performance management culture, nurtured by the increasingly present "evaluative state".
Our analysis reveals that the evaluative rules articulated in and through the dominant discourse on HE quality assurance mark transformations in the governance of the sector and in power/knowledge relations triggered by internationalization processes and practices The regulation of academic conduct and practice is now carried out by new authorities and agents who are considered the legitimate providers of valuable knowledge to reshape education. Based on the devolution of state authority and the perceived “ineffectiveness” of the sector these actors mediate the dominant discourse on HE education reform and redraw the boundaries around what constitutes legitimate academic and pedagogic practice. Although visible, clear-cut rules are absent, recommendations and technologies of "steering from a distance" pedagogise academics (Singh, 2015) to a competitive ethos that prioritises performativity and market- driven knowledge production and dissemination, displayed in a rather public fashion through comparisons and rankings. On the other hand, the discourse articulated by mid-level policy makers as key agents in recontextualisation processes and in the "enactment" of policies at the institutional level (Ball et al.,2012) reveals rearticulations and/or interruptions of dominant discourses. It seems that re-boundarying work occurs as re-contextualisations of valid and valuable knowledge direct academics towards new and hybrid forms of academic practice. These processes induce academics to reconfigure their identities - though not without hesitation or resistance. In the Greek case, given the austerity regime, the severe economic, social and political problems and further legislation instability and public disinvestment, the pressures and/or the aspirations to become visible internationally through the norms posed by universal standards constitute an even greater challenge.
Ball, S.J., Maguire, M., and Braun, A. (2012). How schools do policy. London: Routledge Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Theory, research, critique. Revised edition, New York, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Grek, S. (2013). Expert moves: international comparative testing and the rise of expertocracy. Journal of Education Policy, 28(5), 659-709. Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In: G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller (eds) The Foucault effect. Studies in Governmentality. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 87-104 Harley, S. (2002). The impact of research selectivity on academic work and identity in UK universities. Studies in Higher Education, 27(2):187–205. Henkel, M. (2005). Academic identity and autonomy in a changing policy environment. Higher Education 48, nos.1/2:155-76. Moss, G. (2001). Bernstein's languages of description: Some generative principles. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4 (1), 17-19. Naidoo, R. (2016). The competition fetish in higher education: varieties, animators and consequences. British journal of Sociology, 37(1): 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/014252692.2015.1116209 Ozga, J. (2009). Governing education through data in England: from regulation to self -evaluation. Journal of education policy, 24 (2), 149–162. Robertson, S. & Dale, R. (2008). Researching Education in a Globalising Era. In J. esnik (ed), The Production of Educational Knowledge in the Global Era (pp. 19-32). Rotterdam:Sense Publishers Robertson, S. & Sorenson, T. (2017). Global transformations of the state, governance and teachers’ labour: Putting Bernstein’s conceptual grammar to work. European Educational Research Journal, https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1474904117724573 Sarakinioti, A. & Tsatsaroni, A. (2015). European education policy initiatives and teacher education curriculum reforms in Greece. Education Inquiry(EDUI), Vol. 6(3):259-288, 28421, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/edui.v6.28421 Shattock, M. (Ed) (2009) Enterpreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy: Diversification and Organizational change in European Higher Education. Maidenhead: OUP &Society for Research into Higher Education. Slaughter,S.,&Rhoades,G. (2004). Academic capitalism and the new economy:Markets, state and higher education. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Singh, P. (2002). Pedagogising knowledge: Bernstein’s theory of the pedagogic device. British journal of sociology of education, 23 (4), 571-582. Singh,P. (2015) Performativity and Pedagogizing Knowledge:Globalizing Educational Policy Formation, Dissemination, and Enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 30(3), 363-384.
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