RIHE/CSHE Seminar, Melbourne , 27-28 March 2013 States, political cultures and higher education

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RIHE/CSHE Seminar, Melbourne , 27-28 March 2013 States, political cultures and higher education. Simon Marginson Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne.
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RIHE/CSHE Seminar, Melbourne, 27-28 March 2013States, political cultures and higher educationSimon MarginsonCentre for the Study of Higher Education, University of MelbourneTo fully understand both globalization and the potentials of states, we need to (a) position ourselves outside the nation-state and beyond ‘methodological nationalism’, and to (b) see our states in comparative context‘Methodological nationalism can be simply defined’ as the idea that the nation-state is ‘the natural and necessary form of society in modernity’~ Daniel Cherlino (2007), A social theory of the nation-state, pp. 9-10 ‘… any adequate understanding of the development of the advanced societies presupposes the recognition that factors making for “endogenous” evolution always combine with influences from “the outside” in determining the transformations to which a society is subject’~ Anthony Giddens (1973), The class structure of the advanced societies, p. 265Higher education and the nationModern higher education and research evolved as instruments of nation-building. Nation-states continue to shape the sectorSince 1800 the evolution of the modern nation-state has coincided with global flows, competition and referencing. Global aspects have become qualitatively more important since 1990 (birth of the Internet), especially in language and knowledgeNation-states are still discovering their potentials, agendas and limits in higher education, in this more global eraThree major developments in higher education in last ten years: all globalNew potentials and limits of the nation-stateResearch-intensive universities are partly disembedded from national policy. They work with global status ranking, the knowledge system, foreign-source incomeBUT in large part politics remains national in form, and in nearly all countries, even the strongest research universities remain state dependantPurely national agendas have not gone away, and …Global engagement is national… the impact of global systems, flows and models is filtered through national and local domains. Global impact varies by nation and HEI. Some are more globally engaged and open than others The state is positioned as ‘the global competition state’ (Cerny 2007), highlighting the strategic contribution of higher education and science to global competiveness of nation, through STEM human capital and research as innovationAnd more and more states are doing it Countries with 1000+ science papers p.a.US National Science Foundation data for 2009But there are states, and there are states …(They are not the same as each other, and nor are their universities)Hypothesis 1: States and their higher education systems vary according to
  • Entails variation in such issues such as …
  • space for and vitality of civil society and its relation with HEIs
  • government-university relations (forms of autonomy)
  • protocols of academic freedom
  • social expectations of higher education
  • responsibility for funding and priorities of state investment
  • acceptable/unacceptable stratification between institutions
  • private higher education sector and its relations with state
  • institutions’ degree of independence in global activities
  • Differences in the scope and role of the stateDifferences in political culturesDifferences in educational cultures, including the role of the familyHypothesis 2: States and their higher education systems vary on a regional basisWe can talk about European states and universities (and within that Nordic, German, French etcstates)English-speaking states (American, Westminster)Post-Confucian states in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Singapore etc)Latin American states (Brazil, Argentina, Chile etc)The state in RussiaOil-rich Middle Eastern states States in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan AfricaThree kinds of state/ higher educationResearch papers per year, 1995-2009China, Japan, India & Korea US National Science Foundation dataResearch papers per year, 1995-2009Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand US National Science Foundation dataJapan?Some states (e.g. Westminster like UK) focus primarily on performance management and value for money. Other states (e.g. China or Korea) focus on capacity buildingThe strong comprehensive state of Sinic tradition is equipped for rapid capacity building in our sector – for improving quantity and quality at the same timeJapan followed the capacity building path in the 1960s-1980s, brilliantly. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, Korea, Singapore are following Japan’s examplePost-Confucian? Westminster ?Japan is now inhibited by national debt, tight fiscal management, and the difficulty of mobilizing national effortArguably, state policy is closer to Westminster than Post-ConfucianHigher education is both enabled by states and caught in the limitationsIn English-speaking countries breakdown of the old public compact leaves the limited liberal state adrift and HEIs underfunded and confusedThe finance sector has a stranglehold on the polity and even leading research universities can do little about itPolitical short-termism, anti-taxation and gridlock in the electoral democracies (notably USA) constitute radically unfavourable conditions for long-term HEIs. Crisis of the great Californian MasterplanEnding on an optimistic note?Can universities contribute to the regeneration of the limited liberal states and help them to free up their political cultures and remake communal values?In the classical Sinic model the danger is the opposite one: the comprehensive state becomes too effective and complete and it locks-down the universityCan the Post-Confucian university contribute to democratization within the machinery of state?
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