Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries
Higher Education Policy Dynamics in a Multi-level Governance Context: A Comparative Study of Four Post-communist Countries
Martina Vukasović and Mari Elken
The last 10–15 years in European higher education have often been labelled as times of unprecedented change, mostly in relation to the Bologna Process as “possibly the deepest and most far reaching higher education reform process since World War II”. Often falling into the trap of concept stretching, a number of studies employ the label ‘Europeanisation’ to describe these changes and focus on patterns of convergence and divergence, rarely discussing these patterns in relation to the concepts and mechanisms of policy transfer and Europeanisation. This chapter provides: (1) a conceptual clarification of Europeanisation and policy transfer; (2) a systematisation of theorised mechanisms of these processes; and (3) the application of these concepts and mechanisms to the analysis of national policy dynamics in four European countries. Croatia, Estonia, Serbia and Slovenia were chosen due to the unique mix of similarities and differences deemed useful for exploring the differences between policy transfer and Europeanisation. The analysis is based on qualitative analysis of various policy documents, interviews with key actors, and secondary sources.
Key words: policy transfer, policy changes, Europeanisation, policy convergence, Croatia, Estonia, Serbia, Slovenia, post-Communism
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