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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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1 Values, ideology, history, and political and socio-cultural elements may shape certain agents’ involvement and play a significant role for the higher education reform agenda. Different agents sometimes interact at different stages of the policymaking process. 2 Giddens’ emphasis on the interaction of structure and action is crystallized in his “duality of structure,” which is based on both “medium and the outcome” of the practices, as he puts it: According to the notion of the duality of structure, the structural properties of social systems are both medium and outcome of the practices they recursively organize. Structure is not ‘external’ to individuals: as memory traces, and as instantiated in social practices, it is in a certain sense more ‘internal’ than exte- rior to their activities in a Durkheimian sense. (Giddens 1984, p. 25) 3 Communication with Professor Ted Tapper in the context of the developments of the model of British governance. (August 28th, 2011). 4 “Human agents” and “actors” are frequently used interchangeably. 5 Regarding Foucault’s definition on power, see Rose (1996, 1999). 6 Weber explores the conceptions of “domination,” “legitimacy,” and “authority.” 7 For the influence of economic interest groups in higher education policymaking in England and Japan, see Kogan and Hanney 2000; and Yokoyama 2010. 8 Kogan and Hanney (2000), in the UK context, observe that some agents in central authori- ties are more involved in higher education change than others; ministers and the co- opted elites are more likely to be catalysts than central administration. Kogan and Han-...

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