2014, Vol. 79. Elitist turn in higher education in the context of recent reforms in the Nordic countries

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    Elitist turn in higher education in the context of recent reforms in the Nordic countries (CPP RPS 79/2014)
    (Center for Public Policy Research Papers Series, 2014) Musiał, Kazimierz
    The Nordic countries have been traditionally known as welfare states where egalitarian principles constituted the ideological backbone of the social transformation in the 20th century. Within the theoretical framework of post-industrial society the paper describes the redefinition of values, work and knowledge that provide a background for the elitist turn. The argument is linked to the discussion about the culture of new capitalism that can be observed in the public sector reforms in general. The policies realised in the higher education sector and discourses accompanying the reforms are analysed to exemplify the change in particular. The analysis is placed within a broader framework of the social change within which the traditional social contract is being renegotiated. The paper attempts to show how the traditional collectivist mindset of the welfare state policy logic of the past gives way to greater individualism and acceptance of elitism in the Nordic societies. Although higher education in the Nordic countries is still mainly publicly funded and managed, an increasing emulation of the public sector and market-like behaviour can be witnessed. Therefore the analysis includes a theoretical discussion of the new contractual relationship of the whole public sector, which enables to capture the changing nature of the social relations in post-industrial societies. The empirical part covers the most recent examples of the institutionalisation of the elitist thought as demonstrated by the drive for excellence in teaching and research and establishment of institutions that are expected to provide it. The analysis is comparative in nature and includes all five Nordic countries.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego