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Inter-institutional Tensions in Multi-level Governance of Higher Education: European and National Level Ideas, Capabilities and Realities

Governance
Institutions
Integration
Policy Analysis
Knowledge
Higher Education
Mari Elken
Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education
Mari Elken
Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education
Martina Vukasovic
Universitetet i Bergen

Abstract

The Paper revisits some of the key messages of the “University Dynamics and European Integration” edited by Peter Maassen and Johan Olsen, namely concerning the research agenda for the analysis of change dynamics in European higher education. In particular, it reflects the call to go “beyond a single-institutional framework and take into account inter-institutional tensions and collisions” and that due scholarly attention should be paid to enhancing governance capacity and emerging ideas at the European level and what happens once these ideas hit national realities. The Paper will comprise three key parts. The first part will delineate concepts (1) governance capacity and (2) creation, traveling and translation of policy ideas. In particular, attention will be put on how inter-institutional tensions and collisions are exposed in a complex context such as European higher education through the creating and strengthening governance capacity, as well as development, traveling and translation of ideas. This will serve as the back-drop for the second part – systematization of research done thus far on these issues, primarily focusing on insights from higher education literature. The third and final part of the paper will juxtapose this with theoretical and conceptual discussions from European studies and policy analysis literature more generally in order to reflect on whether and how the research agenda outlined in the Maassen/Olsen volume could be expanded and/or deepened. Moreover, the contribution of studies in higher education to more general social science literature will be discussed.