Global Regionalisms and Higher Education
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Global Regionalisms and Higher Education

Projects, Processes, Politics

Edited by Susan L. Robertson, Kris Olds, Roger Dale and Que Anh Dang

This original book provides a unique analysis of the different regional and inter-regional projects, their processes and the politics of Europeanisation, globalisation and education. Collectively, the contirbutors engage with international relations and integrations theory to explore new ways of thinking about regionalisms and inter-regionalisms, and bring to the fore the role that higher education plays in this.
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Chapter 2: Different regionalisms, one European higher education regionalization: the case of the Bologna Process

Susana Melo


Standing for the governance of the project called the ‘European Higher Education Area’ (EHEA) since 1999, the Bologna Process has successfully become the main point of reference for a political and academic debate on the matter of governing a convergent transformation of higher education provision within and beyond the entire European continent. This chapter considers the circumstances under which the Bologna Process has gained such significance. In doing so, it focuses particularly on the consequences that the consolidation of the EHEA project during the 2000s has had for the diversity of views on the role of higher education in developing a ‘united Europe’. The existing diversity, I argue, has increasingly been undermined by the way in which the mode of informal governance that characterizes the Bologna Process has implied the embedding of various higher education policy programmes and orientations developed in different formally institutionalized frameworks for European regional cooperation. This embedding forms the basis of the constitution of an overarching agenda for the steering of higher education regionalization in Europe, that is, the agenda for the EHEA. I construct my argument theoretically, drawing upon the ‘new regionalism approach’ developed by Björn Hettne and Fredrik Söderbaum (Hettne and Söderbaum, 2000; Hettne, 2002, 2005, 2007; Söderbaum, 2007). The relevance of this approach will, I hope, be self-evident enough to encourage a discussion about the limitations of looking into the Bologna Process through the lenses of theories developed originally for the purpose of explaining the dynamic of regional integration within the framework of the European Union (EU).

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