22 SES 11 A, The Agency Game in Academic Development: Compliance or Resistance?
The paper is based on the analysis of 8 interviews with persons engaged in the systemic reform of higher education in Poland. Reform activities have both to comply with this systemic pressure and address locally experienced problems and needs for innovation, which creates a complex setting for the agency of reformers. The initial supposition was that the reform discourse under such circumstances may be structured similarly to that described by Norman Fairclough in his analysis of political transformations in semi - peripheral countries, where rationality is ascribed to the future system modeled after the dominant countries rather than to the ways of dealing with the here-and-now problems, but the informants presented a more complex account of change. The imaginaries and discursive models of the new system, and influence of “foreign powers” are not seen as forms of symbolic violence, but are used as tools of change that needs political leverage and legitimacy. They see their work as generally successful, even though as “agents of the future” they feel alienated in their home institutions, and in their attempts at bridging the images of the present and the future of the academe some tend to use fantasies of new forms of control.
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