hig.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The desirable University in a Knowledge Economy society
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The picture of contemporary societies in the political discussions is basically stories about a globalized knowledge-based economy market that nations in one way or another has to relate to. In a Swedish context Higher Education Institutions (HEI) appears as a guarantee for Sweden's opportunities on that market. As an insurance and as an answer to societies need to control HEI a changed quality system is discussed in Government Communication 2015/16:76. In that text internal quality assurance and external control appears as a necessity as well as associations with networks like OECD, EC, EUA, EQAF, EURASHE, BFUG, and ENQA and so on. In that framework each university is assigned as responsible (Government Communication 2015/16: 76; Education report 2015/16: UbU9) for its own internal quality assurance. The aim of this article is to visualize implicit control mechanisms that may appear in the new internal quality assurance system and in that the construction of the desirable university as they occur in Bill 2015/16:76 and Report 2016:15.

Six years earlier a Bill 2009/10:149, the so-called Bill of freedom, pronounced an ambition to give HEI a higher degree of freedom. In that Bill the government emphasizes the importance of coordination and cooperation regarding internal organization within HEI nationally and internationally. At the same time the government decided to implement a new quality assurance system according to Bill 2009/10:149. In short, Bill 2009/10:149 resulted in that Sweden’s quality assurance system was questioned by ENQA and caused the exclusion of membership. As a consequence of that a new quality assurance system was implemented (Bill 2015/16:76; Report 2016:15). One of the main purposes with the new quality system was that Sweden once again should become a full member of ENQA. Requirements for coordinated internal organizations in accordance with Bill 2009/10:149 and the need of the network and Sweden’s desire to belong to the ENQA create and display the paths possible for universities to choose. In that context we have chosen to analyze two texts, Report UKÄ[1] 2016:15 and Government Bill 2015/16:76 with purpose to visualize implicit control mechanisms that may appear in the new internal quality assurance system.

Method

Quality assurance system can be seen as a disciplinary technology with a purpose to control activities, actions and organizations (Foucault, 2003b). In this article we draw on Foucault’s concepts governmentality and discourse analysis to visualize implicit governance and the construction of desirable university (Foucault, 2003a, 2006). Freedom can be seen as an expression of power and is based on making the right choices according to what’s produced as desirable (Foucault, 1982; Rose, 1999). Disciplinary power is characterised by the normalising system of punishment and reward (Foucault, 1980, 1983). We will problematize the constructed need of quality assurance and the desire to belong to networks and what this may be a response to. Network is seen as desirable and cooperation and coordination is portrayed as a prerequisite for national HEI in a globalized knowledge-based economy market. Larsson (2015) argues that “Meta-governance of network should thus be understood as type of governance directed towards organizations that participates in network which the meta-governors tries to control at a distance without shattering their formally autonomous character” (pp 174). Our starting point is that policies are an expression and a part of current discourse, i.e. manifestations which are made possible in and through discourses, in this case by the construction of the desirable university.

Expected outcome

Changes in policies regarding the governing of HEI are powered by a tangle of wires of national, international and supranational governing mechanism. A contribution to current discussions regarding governing of HEI and autonomy could be that our research shows that implicit control mechanisms could contribute to uniformity through meta-governance as a way to provide conduct of conduct of organizations that take part in networks. Network is described as desirable since they can offer a connection between the state and the civil society. Disciplinary power shows itself in the identification of problems, in that, quality assurance system is a way to create and display the paths possible for universities to choose and to discern the undesirable. Another possible contribution may be the identification of the desirable university in the discourse of the role that HEI has in a society constructed as being on a globalized knowledge-based economy market.

References

Foucault, M. (1980) Prison talk. In C. Gordon, red. Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews & other writings 1972-1977, s 37-54. New York: Pantheon

Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. In J. D. Faubion. (eds.). Essential Works of Foucault 1954-84, vol 3, s 326-348. London: Penguin Books

Foucault, M. (1983). The Subject and Power. Afterword. In H. L, Dreyfus & P. Rabinow. (eds). Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Foucault, M. (2003a). Regementalitet i Fronesis Lag och ordning 14-15 Göteborg: Tidskrift föreningen Fronesis.

Foucault, M. (2003b). Övervakning och straff: fängelsets födelse. (4., översedda uppl.) Lund: Arkiv.

Foucault, M. (2006). Biopolitikens födelse i Wennerhag, M & Unsgaard (red.) (2006) Fronesis Liberalism 22-23 Göteborg: Tidsskriftsföreningen Fronesis

Larsson, O. (2015). The governmentality of meta-governance: identifying theoretical and empirical challenges of network governance in the political field of security and beyond. Diss. Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2015. Uppsala.

Proposition 2009/10:149 En akademi i tiden – ökad frihet för universitet och högskolor. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet

Rapport 2016:15. Nationellt system för kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Redovisning av ett regeringsuppdrag. Stockholm: Universitetskanslerämbetet

Regeringens skrivelse 2015/16:76. Kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet

Rose, N. (1999) Powers of Freedom: reframing political thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Utbildningsutskottets betänkande 2015/16: UbU9. Kvalitetssäkring av högre utbildning. Stockholm: Utbildningsutskottet

[1] The Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslerämbetet, UKÄ). UKÄ has been given a mandate to develop and implement a new national system of quality assurance of higher education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Quality assurance, Higher education, education policy, governmentality
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25167OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25167DiVA, id: diva2:1138635
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER2017), 21-25 August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark
Available from: 2017-09-06 Created: 2017-09-06 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Authority records BETA

Åkerblom, ErikaFlorin, KatarinaHedlund, Elisabet

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Åkerblom, ErikaFlorin, KatarinaHedlund, Elisabet
By organisation
Educational science
Pedagogy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 40 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf