Dynamics and Policy of an Evolving European Research Space
Edited by Linda Wedlin and Maria Nedeva
Chapter 7: Organising knowledge institutions – standardising diversity
The aim of the chapter is to analyse the relationship between changing conceptions of knowledge, higher education reform policies and changing university organization in Europe. Empirically and conceptually we draw on comparative research on higher education reforms and their impact on academic systems and institutions the last decades, comprising European data from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and UK. The chapter is divided into three main sections. The first part discusses how the concept of knowledge has changed in the last couple of decades. In the second part the idea of a changing concept of knowledge is put into a political and social context of rapid growth of higher education and how it relates to major developments in society at large, defined by the emerging knowledge economy and knowledge society. The last and third part analyses the organizational implications for modern university institutions. The chapter questions the idea that the increasing importance of knowledge means that the concept of knowledge is fundamentally changed and that academics have lost power or influence over decisions made by academic institutions. Instead it argues that the concept of knowledge is extended and that while academics have lost influence in some traditional decision arenas, they have gained increasing influence in new arenas that have emerged in recent decades.
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