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Back to Paper Details
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Higher Education Reforms and Tensions of Social Movement Unionism

Civil Society
Governance
Social Movements
Knowledge
Political Sociology
Education
Didem Türkoğlu
New York University
Didem Türkoğlu
New York University

Abstract

In the past decade, many neoliberal reforms targeted the higher education in European countries. Tuition increases have been a visible component of these reforms and these proposed increases were usually combined with budget cuts. Not surprisingly, tuition related reforms have also been the ones that led to contentious student mobilization. And yet student mobilization on campuses has not been enough to make tuition decisions costly for the legislators. Alliance of the student groups with the unions played a more important part in increasing pressure on decision makers. In this paper I explore the strategies pursued by the education unions. I pay particular attention to the position they have taken in regards to student mobilizations. In order to examine this point I conduct interviews with activists and union members in England, Germany, and Turkey. While international organizations like Education International (EI) could have provided an umbrella under which national unions could take a joint stance, so far the influence of EI look minimal. The paper will explore the reasons behind such seemingly weak influence.