Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations
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Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations

Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe

Edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations takes a policy studies perspective in considering post-communist EU member states’ experiences since accession. The book analyses policy transfer processes and expands the new and growing sub-field of policy failure by interrogating the binary ideas of ‘failure’ and ‘success’ in the context of the Central Eastern European (CEE) transition, democratic consolidation and European Union membership.
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Chapter 9: A resounding success or downright failure? Understanding policy transfer within the Bologna Process in Central and Eastern Europe

Liviu Matei, Daniela Craciun and Simona Torotcoi


The chapter addresses inconsistencies in understanding and evaluating the Bologna Process as an instance of policy transfer, of historic relevance, in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. Ranging from resounding success to colossal failure, the assessment of the Process among both scholars and practitioners is highly incongruent. The chapter argues that these contradictory evaluations arise due to the existence of discrete, reductionist understandings of the Process which ignore its complex, almost ‘kaleidoscopic’ nature. Therefore, the chapter puts forward a comprehensive framework of reference which takes into account the nature, scope, intended objectives and means of the Process. Using this heuristic tool, it analyses the experience of Central and Eastern European countries in adopting Bologna-based policies, illustrating instances that are sometimes a definite success indeed, and sometimes a downright failure. The chapter shows the effectiveness of a particular heuristic tool in evaluating policy transfer success and failure.

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