Qadir A. Higher education, the global governors, and epistemic governance // Studia Humanitatis Borealis. 2016. Vol. 1. № 1. P. 28‒35.

Issue № 1


Higher education, the global governors, and epistemic governance

Doctor of Social Sciences School of Social Sciences & Humanities,
University of Tampere, Finland,
Ключевые слова:
Epistemic governance; higher education; reform; neoliberalism; sociological institutionalism.
Аннотация: Using a neo-institutionalist framework of epistemic governance, this paper reviews how individual universities and national systems of higher education globally are being reformed according to a global script. A number of global governors, such as intergovernmental organisations and INGOs, are involved in making and circulating these scripts. However, this perspective highlights that such governance is well-hidden. Most university managers or national policy-makers are not even aware of global governance that functions by working on how we perceive the world and what reforms are desirable. Driven by realist assumptions of the social world (as common in International Relations theories), analysts and activists tend to look at these global governors as power centres that dictate policy measures. Yet, the same analysts stumble against the obvious problem that these ‘governors’ are not governing in the traditional sense of the term. Rather, those reforming their own universities think according to the same global scripts, and generally believe it is a perfectly reasonable and locally appropriate way of reforming. This is one reason why the similar reforms keep taking place around the world despite considerable criticism. The framework of epistemic governance draws attention to systemic, worldwide patterns underlying the hidden politics of national higher education policies, such as massification and utilitarianism as analysed here.

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