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Reasoning Higher Education Change

Structure, Agency and Culture

Keiko Yokoyama

The purpose of this book is to explain higher education change and resistance to change. The book explores Giddens’ structuration theory and Archer’s critical realism by clarifying cultural conditioning and integrating structural, agency and cultural conditionings within the context of higher education change and continuity. The book argues that we can explain higher education change by shifts in one or more conditions in structure, agency and culture, which enable higher education to transform into another form. It proposes two models for illustrating the relationships between the three conditionings that bring about higher education change. It supports the concepts of duality and reflexivity, denying analytical dualism.


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PART II CONTEXTS 7 The modes of higher education change The foregoing considerations do not mean that we cannot generalize about social change and do not imply that we should relinquish all general concepts in terms of which change might be analyzed. (Giddens 1984, p. 244) Introduction Social change is, as has argued in this book, neither endogenous nor evolution- ary (Giddens 1984). This can be also applied to higher education, which takes the open system (Clark 1983)—not the absolute, self-filling autonomous system (see Chapter 2). The higher education system is, by its nature, inter-connected with external conditions and the environment, linking it with the labor market and relating it to socio-cultural reproduction and arguably emancipation. Higher education change has not taken lineal development, as cross-national observa- tion suggests. The rejection of a biological idea—which is based on the isolation of the system from outside environment, and which indicates an endogenous model of change—in terms of its application to the higher education context was the starting point of the study. What is an alternative to evolutionary theory? This chapter deals with conceptual understanding on higher education change and resistance to change, aiming to understand them conceptually. To this end, it proposes an analytical framework, which is useful in identifying characteristics of certain changes. The change diverges by time-space. It can be radical or incremental. It may take top-down or bottom-up processes. Origin, consequence, and effect also dif- fer. The chapter manages such diversity attached to contexts conceptually....

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