Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education

This book offers an empirical and theoretical account of the mode of governance that characterizes the Bologna Process. In addition, it shows how the reform materializes and is translated in everyday working life among professors and managers in higher education. It examines the so-called Open Method of Coordination as a powerful actor that uses “soft governance” to advance transnational standards in higher education. The book shows how these standards no longer serve as tools for what were once human organizational, national or international, regulators. Instead, the standards have become regulators themselves – the faceless masters of higher education. By exploring this, the book reveals the close connections between the Bologna Process and the EU regarding regulative and monitoring techniques such as standardizations and comparisons, which are carried out through the Open Method of Coordination. It suggests that the Bologna Process works as a subtle means to circumvent the EU’s subsidiarity principle, making it possible to accomplish a European governance of higher education despite the fact that education falls outside EU’s legislative reach. The book’s research interest in translation processes, agency and power relations among policy actors positions it in studies on policy transfer, policy borrowing and globalization. However, different from conventional approaches, this study draws on additional interpretive frameworks such as new materialism.


121 downloads 5K Views 4MB Size

Recommend Stories

Empty story

Idea Transcript


Educational Governance Research 10

Katja Brøgger

Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education The Bologna Process, the EU and the Open Method of Coordination

Educational Governance Research Volume 10

Series Editors Lejf Moos, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark Stephen Carney, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark Editorial Advisory Board Herbert Altrichter, University of Linz, Austria Stephen J. Ball, Institute of Education, London, England Y.C. Chen, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong Neil Dempster, Griffith University, Australia Olof Johansson, Umeå University, Sweden Gita Steiner Khamsi, Columbia University, USA Klaus Kasper Kofod, Aarhus University, Denmark Jan Merok Paulsen, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Oslo, Norway James P. Spillane, Northwest University, Chicago, USA Michael Uljens, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Educational Governance Research Aims and Scope This series presents recent insights in educational governance gained from research that focuses on the interplay between educational institutions and societies and markets. Education is not an isolated sector. Educational institutions at all levels are embedded in and connected to international, national and local societies and markets. One needs to understand governance relations and the changes that occur if one is to understand the frameworks, expectations, practice, room for manoeuvre, and the relations between professionals, public, policy makers and market place actors. The aim of this series is to address issues related to structures and discourses by which authority is exercised in an accessible manner. It will present findings on a variety of types of educational governance: public, political and administrative, as well as private, market place and self-governance. International and multidisciplinary in scope, the series will cover the subject area from both a worldwide and local perspective and will describe educational governance as it is practised in all parts of the world and in all sectors: state, market, and NGOs. The series: –– Covers a broad range of topics and power domains –– Positions itself in a field between politics and management/leadership –– Provides a platform for the vivid field of educational governance research –– Looks into ways in which authority is transformed within chains of educational governance –– Uncovers relations between state, private sector and market place influences on education, professionals and students.

More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/13077

Katja Brøgger

Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education The Bologna Process, the EU and the Open Method of Coordination

Katja Brøgger Danish School of Education Aarhus University Copenhagen, Denmark

ISSN 2365-9548     ISSN 2365-9556 (electronic) Educational Governance Research ISBN 978-3-030-00885-7    ISBN 978-3-030-00886-4 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4 Library of Congress Control Number: 2018958005 © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Foreword

This book is a remarkable contribution to policy studies both in terms of theory and methodology. Theories of the policy process tend to focus on the changing role of the state for explaining the shift from government to governance. The shift is commonly seen as the result of new public management policies that most OECD countries introduced in the wake of neoliberal reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. In the education sector, the shift implied a new role for the state, new ways of regulating the education system, and new tools for generating or alleviating reform pressure. The reforms were undertaken with the rhetoric of results-based and outcomes-based education. The rhetoric has been particularly stark in general education. Regardless of whether the school system was high- or low-performing, governments were under political pressure to selectively borrow new public management policies that encouraged non-state actors such as businesses, churches, communities, and families to open and operate schools with funding from public resources. The liberalization of education providers exacerbated the focus on standards, results, and outcomes. Within a short period of time, the governments scaled back the role of the state in education from one in which it was at the same time provider and regular to one in which it could withdraw to being only a standard-setter and regulator. Target-­ setting and benchmarking became the key governance tools. The shift from government to governance has not only fueled a “governance by numbers” (Jenny Ozga) but also required from governments that they engage in “network governance” (Stephen J. Ball and C. Junemann) in which non-state actors are not only seen as providers of goods and services but also as key partners in the policy process. The empowerment of non-state actors in the new millennium as key policy actors has been interpreted as a clear sign of the “disarticulation and diversification of the state system” and the “destatalization” of the policy process (Ball and Junemann 2012) which neoliberal reforms of the past century intended to achieve. In higher education, the “non-state actor” is, as Brøgger asserts, a “faceless Master.” The Open Method of Coordination of the Bologna Process is not coercive yet stringent in terms of quality assurance standards, not punitive yet exclusionary by annually faming or shaming its member states, and not national yet more v

vi

Foreword

i­nfluential on national higher education systems in Europe, and beyond, than national laws or other national “hard governance” tools of the past decades. The primary policy tool for harmonizing vastly different higher education systems, the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), in effect propels the transnational accreditation of national (higher) education systems. It does so in the name of quality assurance and international student mobility. As a corollary, the question is: how has a noncoercive, nonpunitive, transnational “faceless” Master managed to incentivize 48 member states to harmonize their system in ways that that gives them a legitimate place in the “European space” (see António Nóvoa and Martin Lawn)? The short answer is: by way of comparison, competition, and the desire to cohabit the attractive European space. The long answer is compellingly outlined in the book. Brøgger embarks on an ambitious project: to understand the authority of the Open Method of Coordination in shaping the everyday working life of Danish university administrators and faculty members. Naturally, the administrators and professors are not helpless victims of an arrangement made elsewhere, at supranational level or somewhere “outside” but rather actively translate and reframe what the Bologna Process means in their own organization. Her interest in translation processes, agency, and power relations among policy actors positions her in the company of scholars who study policy transfer, policy borrowing, and globalization. However, different from conventional approaches, her study draws on additional interpretive frameworks used in philosophy of science, new materialism, and feminist theory, thereby expanding the traditional focus on the reasons (why) and the process (how) of policy borrowing. More specifically, she investigates the agency of absence (“hauntology”) and the turn to materiality (“matterology”) in order to understand the performativity of the Bologna Process. Hers is the original intellectual project of understanding the Open Method of Coordination as a powerful actor that uses “soft governance” to advance transnational standards in higher education. Her fascination with the OMC policy tool in itself may be seen as a research commitment to identifying those features of an actual policy tool (what) that drive policy transfer, convergence, and harmonization. The book is also methodologically noteworthy. Her method of inquiry allows for multiple perspectives and levels of analysis. Different from other multisited ethnographies that equate “site” with a geographical “space,” Brøgger uses the discursive space of policy negotiations between the European, national, and institutional levels, as a site for participant observation. In other words, she does not view document analysis merely as one of many “data collection methods” (along with interviews, observations, etc.) but rather elevates policy/document analysis to its own site or bounded (con-)text that produces meaning – interdependent and at times conflicting – among the various policy actors. Methodologically, this enables her to analyze governance technologies embedded in written texts and policy adaptations. The different sites are then discussed in the various chapters. In one of the chapters, for example, she investigates the rapid pace of expansion and the deep transformation process in higher education attributed to the Bologna Process. What peaks her interest, in particular, are the self-monitoring and evaluation tools or the follow-up mechanisms employed in the OMC.  She uses the term “the infrastructure of the

Foreword

vii

Bologna Process” to understand how scorecards, stocktaking reports, and templates advance “governance by numbers” or “governance without government,” respectively. At closer examination, these tools are technologies of authorization that use comparison as the foundation for naming, shaming, and faming higher education systems in terms of standards achievement. The endeavor of scoring very well (green Bologna scorecard) or at least very good (light green) on curriculum standards is not only important for national policy actors but also for institutions and individuals in higher education. Clearly, Katja Brøgger’s account of the policy ontology of the Bologna Process and its Open Coordination Method is interesting in its own right. Moreover, her focus on how and why international standards “work” and which infrastructure they establish to effectively infuse institutional policies and practices is essential for understanding why national policy actors, some enthusiastically and others reluctantly, adopt or buy into international standards. Columbia University New York, NY, USA

Gita Steiner-Khamsi

Acknowledgments

This monograph is not the work of one person. It represents the culmination of inspiring discussions and debates with colleagues and friends around the world. In this sense, the monograph is the work of many dedicated people. Above all, I wish to thank all the professors and managers who invited me to be part of their everyday working life in higher education for almost 2 years. Following their demanding work to negotiate reforms amid continual change represented an invaluable insight that constituted the foundation of this monograph. Without their generosity, openness, and effort in making their organizations transparent, this monograph would have never seen the light of day. I wish to extend a very special thank you to my colleagues at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, in particular Professor Dorthe Staunæs for sharing her remarkable analytical skills, Professor Sue Wright for her exceptional knowledge on higher education reform, and Associate Professor Pia Bramming for supporting my career. I would also like to thank colleagues from the UK and the USA, in particular Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi at the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College Columbia University, New  York; Professor Rajani Naidoo at the School of Management, University of Bath; Professor Susan Robertson at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge; and finally Professor Anna Tsing and Professor Susan Harding at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am grateful that the Aarhus University Research Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation accommodated my need for funding for research stays in the UK and the USA. I would like to extend a warm thank you to Anne Mette Winneche Nielsen for offering time and insightful comments along the way. In addition, I would like to thank my family and friends for engaging in conversations about current education reforms, their significance, and their democratic impact. In particular, I would like to thank Aviaja and Camilla for their continuous patience and support and Amalie for unexpected new beginnings. June 2018

Katja Brøgger

ix

Contents

1 Introduction: It Changes Everything������������������������������������������������������    1 Chapter Outline��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    3 Contributions������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    3 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    7 2 Analyzing Education Reforms������������������������������������������������������������������    9 A Philosophy of Science������������������������������������������������������������������������������    9 Analytical Approach������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   11 Hauntology: Exploring the Agency of Absence��������������������������������������   11 Matterology: Exploring the Turn to Materiality��������������������������������������   13 Multisited Ethnography ������������������������������������������������������������������������������   22 The Ideological Touch of the Bologna Research ����������������������������������������   25 Collapsing Global Bigness and Smallness into the Social��������������������������   27 Exploring Agency in Policy Processes Through ‘Policy Borrowing’����������   31 From Diffusion to Translation���������������������������������������������������������������������   36 Methods and Knowledge Production����������������������������������������������������������   39 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   43 3 The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   51 The Loose Ends of the Bologna Process������������������������������������������������������   51 Governance Without Government: Circumventing the Subsidiarity Principle? ��������������������������������������������������������������������������   57 Governance in the Bologna-Lisbon-Mesh ��������������������������������������������������   60 Summary: From Orders to Incentives������������������������������������������������������   63 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   63 4 Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance������������������  69 Standards, Standardization and Standardizing Processes����������������������������   69 The Onto-epistemology of Standards: Re-configuring Practice������������������   73 Setting Governance in Motion ��������������������������������������������������������������������   75

xi

xii

Contents

The Policy Ontology of the Governing Mode of the Bologna Process�������   78 Summary: Governance Through the Open Method of Coordination������   81 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   82 5 The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   87 Monitoring as a Standardizing Technique ��������������������������������������������������   87 The Infrastructure of the Policy Ontology: Follow-Up Mechanisms����������   89 Infrastructuring Standards����������������������������������������������������������������������������   94 Outcome-Based Education: A New Standard for Designing the Curriculum ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   97 Modules: A New Standard for Organizing the Curriculum ��������������������  115 Summary: Paving the Way to Hegemony������������������������������������������������  130 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  134 6 The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  139 The Spectrality of the Past ��������������������������������������������������������������������������  139 Professional and Social Repositioning����������������������������������������������������  142 Camouflage Techniques ��������������������������������������������������������������������������  146 Mimicking Compliance ��������������������������������������������������������������������������  149 Summary: Fake the Document����������������������������������������������������������������  155 The Spectrality of the Future ����������������������������������������������������������������������  157 Calculation and Acceleration of Change��������������������������������������������������  159 Redistribution of Power and Influence����������������������������������������������������  166 Mimicking Performance��������������������������������������������������������������������������  168 Summary: A Borrowed Policy Is a Borrowed Desire������������������������������  174 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  176 7 Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”����������������������������������  179 References����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  184

About the Author

Katja  Brøgger PhD, is associate professor at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, and is head of a Research Unit for Education Policy, Governance and Administration. This research unit is an interdisciplinary research and teaching community devoted to studying interactions between policy, governance, and administration globally and nationally and how new modes of governance and administration impact education systems and institutions. The unit values international collaboration, supports the BA and MA in education science, and provides a vibrant research environment for PhD students. Brøgger is a member of the European Consortium of Political Research, COST Action IS1307 New Materialism, the Research Committee and the Study Board for Education Science at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. She has previously published articles in anthologies and several key academic journals such as the, European Educational Research Journal (“How Educational Standards Gain Hegemonic Power and Become International: The Case of Higher Education and the Bologna Process,” 2018), the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (“The performative power of (non)human agency assemblages of soft governance,” 2018), the British Journal of Sociology of Education (“The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: governing through naming, shaming and faming,” 2016), Theory and Psychology (“Standards and (self)implosion,” 2016), and Globalisation, Societies and Education (“The ghosts of higher education reform: on the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing,” 2014). Brøgger does research in education policy, governance, and administration with a special view to the relations between transnational reform processes and higher education institutions as well as central public administrations operating at national level. As part of this, she takes an interest in the role of the EU, the Bologna Process, OECD, UNESCO, and the World Bank. Her scholarly interests also encompass inter/national education reforms, accreditation procedures, globalization studies, Europeanization and regionalization, privatization, international education standards, and policy borrowing and lending. Theoretically, she takes inspiration in recent performative innovations of poststructuralism such as “new materialism.”  

xiii

Chapter 1

Introduction: It Changes Everything

The Bologna Process is one name – and arguably the most important name – given to the major changes currently being made within higher education both in and outside Europe. The Bologna Process draws close to its twentieth anniversary in 2019. During the past almost 20 years, the process has altered what it means to talk about knowledge and educational organization and, through this, it has also changed what is sayable, doable and probably even bodyable as an actor taking part in these processes. The Bologna Process aims to create a European Higher Education Area by transforming the higher education architectures through initiatives and targets such as educational harmonization, comparability, mobility, flexibility, employability, and qualification frameworks. Elena, a professor at a higher education institution, experiences all of this. In her higher education organization, a new BA ministerial order and curriculum, shaped in accordance with the European reform processes, is currently being implemented. Elena says: You know it’s like… Oh, how should I put it…? Well, I think we experience that … I really don’t know how to phrase this… That our entire way of …. being a school, being colleagues, our relations with management, our culture is… Well of course it needs to develop all the time; I mean it’s not like we don’t move and it’s like… but… I currently experience that there are some fundamental things in our house… no not things but relations in our house which are uhmm… highly problematic […] Our working conditions and our culture seem so threatened (Interview).

The full impact of these new modes of governance on higher education in Europe remains unknown; it is still not entirely clear where the policy movements of the Bologna Process are leading (Huisman, Stensaker, & Kehm, 2009; Magalhães & Amaral, 2009; Ravinet, 2008). Many of the new governing technologies have not yet been thoroughly examined as part of the major changes of higher education (Lawn & Grek, 2012) – or at least they have not been examined as governing technologies but simply as curricular or organizational changes. This is most likely due to the character of these governing technologies; that they often enter higher © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_1

1

2

1  Introduction: It Changes Everything

education undetected as governance. It can be difficult to establish from where the new technologies originate, since they often come in the shape of new education standards. But these standards prove to have strong performative effects: As they travel, they transform the social worlds they encounter on their way, they change that which they seek to govern and they are themselves transformed in the process. This is why Elena experiences that the transformations of the higher education architecture change everything; their way of being education, being colleagues, their relations with management and their culture. The Bologna Process is known for its expansion and its swift and far-reaching transformations of higher education architectures. Since 1999 the Bologna Process has moved from a declaration of intent to an extensive mobilization of 48 countries. But how come that the process gained this kind of momentum; how is it that those 48 countries were mobilized without passing any laws? And how does the process impact or include everyday working life in higher education? The macro narratives on the process seem to miss the importance of agency, for example local enactments, in the negotiations of reform processes and policy effects. In many ways, this book became an explorative policy ethnography on the governing mode of the Bologna Process and how to grasp the connections to everyday working life (and how to conceptualize these connections) as part of current international education reform. For this reason, and driven by an academic curiosity to understand something so crucial to a globalized professional living in higher education, the monograph ultimately became an investigation that moved across several sites and academic disciplines and thus reconfigured the field as such. The Bologna Process is currently the main European reform process driving the transformation of higher education. I attempt to explain the speed and size of expansion of this process and how it is possible to connect the extensive transnational reform processes with everyday working life in higher education – something that seems widely unaccounted for. As this study will show, the Bologna Process seems to work as a subtle means to circumvent the subsidiarity principle of the European Union (EU) and make possible European governance of education despite the fact that education falls outside EU’s legislative reach. However, since the governing of education has transformed to a complex peer pressure incentive based economy in which steering is being operationalized through monitoring techniques we are often unable to detect from where the governance is being executed. Since this particular governance is being operationalized through standards, such as the qualifications framework, it tends to become almost invisible. Meanwhile, this book pushes this agenda even further and argues that the standards, through which the Bologna Process is governed, no longer seem to serve as tools for regulators. The standards that were once tools for human organizational, national or international regulators now seem to have become non-human regulators themselves. These faceless masters of higher education present a profound challenge since they indicate that education has become a matter of European administration.

Contributions

3

Chapter Outline The book is divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides the reader with an introduction to the monograph and outlines the contributions of the monograph. Chapter 2 presents the underlying theoretical perspectives, methodological and analytical strategies and methods. The chapter also positions the monograph within research on the Bologna Process, globalization studies and the policy borrowing and lending approach. In this way, Chap. 2 constitutes one interconnected and coherent account of the research positioning of this monograph and displays how the monograph reaches across several academic disciplines. The following Chaps. (3, 4, 5 and 6) present the ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of the four case sites that constitute the policy ethnography of this monograph. Chapter 3 centers on the shift from government to governance in Europe through an exploration of how the Bologna principles were part of an early EU agenda on European growth and how the Bologna Process and the EU Lisbon Agenda have become virtually indistinguishable. Chapter 4 examines how standards and standardization became key to set in motion the new form of soft governance in Europe. Chapter 5 examines the infrastructure of the Bologna Process, that is the mechanisms and instruments that generated the speed of expansion and swift transformation of higher education architectures that now seems to characterize the Bologna Process. Chapter 6 explores the ways in which the ‘peer-pressure ontology’ of the Bologna Process, including its infrastructure, is sustained by glossing over, and thus making invisible, the everyday organizational working life for professors and managers in higher education. The final Chap. 7 concludes that the Open Method of Coordination becomes the oeuvre through which (inter)national measuring and comparative tools propel education governance. The Open Method of Coordination institutes the new mode of soft governance in which all agents become standardizers themselves. The bench is not marked from the outside. All the actors involved in the Bologna Process mark the bench. The chapter highlights the unintended and often contingent effects of the new modes of governance, and how the new education standards emerge as the faceless masters of higher education.

Contributions This monograph contributes to critical research on the governing of higher education by offering an empirical and theoretical account of the mode of governance that characterizes the Bologna Process. The study is designed around the recurring argument that the standards through which the Bologna Process is governed no longer serve as tools for what were once human organizational, national or international, regulators. The standards have become regulators themselves – the faceless masters

4

1  Introduction: It Changes Everything

of higher education. The empirical study, on which this monograph is based, is designed, as a multisited policy ethnography exploring the translation of the Bologna standards in higher education. Empirically the study focuses on core policy documents from the early 1990s to 2015 (in particular memoranda, strategies, reports and communiqués presented by the EU, the Bologna Process and the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science) and strategic development among managers and an implementation process for a new educational ministerial order and curriculum, shaped in accordance with the European reform processes at a university and a university college in Denmark. The monograph reveals the close connections between the Bologna Process and the EU regarding regulative and monitoring techniques such as standardizations and comparisons, which are carried out through the so-called ‘Open Method of Coordination’. The study suggests that the Bologna principles were part of an early EU agenda on European growth that pre-dates the Bologna Declaration in 1999 and thus that the Bologna Process works as a subtle means to circumvent the EU’s subsidiarity principle, making it possible to accomplish a European governance of higher education despite the absence of legal competence. The monograph further argues that the spread and continuous development and production of higher education standards in Europe depends on the infrastructure of the Bologna Process, which consists of an explosion of standardizing devices and monitoring practices. The materiality of the infrastructure, such as multicolored scorecards that compare national performance data, is affectively wired through naming-shaming-faming mechanisms that calibrate and incentivize member states to mimic each other and desire ‘better performance’ and, as such co-opt themselves into peer-pressure. Through these material-affective processes, governance without government is produced. Member states are made to co-opt themselves into the process through the extensive use of benchmarking and best practice exercises and through this process member states – including experts and peers – become efficient standardizers themselves and actively participate in the production and monitoring of standardized performance requirements. Following the spread of two education standards – the modularization and the outcome-orientation of the curriculum – the study argues that standardization used as a regulative technology designed to govern at a distance reaches deep into the ontological matter of everyday working life in higher education organizations. The study takes inspiration in a policy borrowing and lending approach to international reform and through an investigation of the translating processes of the new standards, the monograph includes and expands on the social dimension and the agency dimension of reform processes. Standards make social stratifications and the study reveals how the standards are involved with the creation, shaping and (re) configuring of the realities of higher education. The monograph argues that these standards alter that which they seek to govern because they change professors and managers’ social and professional worlds and because they themselves bend and transform when they are bundled up with work practices. Therefore, the monograph further concludes, that even though a standardizing process has taken place, this does not necessarily entail that such a process has contributed uniformity. Rather

Contributions

5

the study reveals how the infrastructure of the Bologna Process seems to conceal those agencies that resist or counter-perform, that is how managers and professors translations of the new standards are based on mimetic camouflage strategies designed to ‘make it look as if’ in order to keep up good appearance when confronted with the expectations from managers or ministries. The monograph suggests that the Bologna Process is being undermined from within by those who are being affected the most. This book engages with two interrelated ambitions: (1) an empirical and theoretical ambition to contribute to the object of my research  – international higher education reform, and (2) a theoretical ambition to grasp and conceptualize international education reform as a phenomenon that extends across times and spaces and changes social geography of higher education. Concerning the empirical and theoretical ambition to contribute to the research on international higher education reform, I develop three theoretical concepts designed to explore the empirical material in ways that are complex sensitive. I crafted and brought the concepts into existence through an exchange between inspiration from performativity philosophy, the turn to materiality and the ethnographic field work. For this reason, the concepts will be developed, presented and operationalized analytically as part of the ethnographic examinations and analyses in Chaps. 3, 4, 5 and 6. This approach allowed me to contribute to research on international higher education reform with the insights and suggestions for analysis and interpretation described below. I develop a concept of ‘policy ontology’. This ontology of the governing mode of the Bologna process signifies the ‘quality’ or the condition and constitution of the ways in which the Bologna Process works. This notion of ‘policy ontology’ has helped me contribute to research on the Bologna Process by exposing the close connections between the Bologna Process and the EU regarding regulative techniques such as standardization and monitoring techniques such as comparisons. The monograph suggests that the Bologna principles were part of an early EU agenda on European growth that predates the Bologna Declaration in 1999. The study further indicates that in this way, the Bologna Process works as a subtle means to bypass the subsidiarity principle of the EU, making it possible to accomplish a European governance of higher education despite the fact that education falls outside EU’s legislative reach. This research ambition is displayed in Chaps. 3 and 4. In addition to the policy ontology, I develop a concept of a material-affective infrastructure of the policy ontology. In particular, the infrastructure denotes the tools and instruments through which the Bologna mode of governance is set in motion. Or, in other words, it denotes the ways in which the ontology of the Bologna Process materializes. The materiality of the infrastructure consists of scorecards, graphs and numbers comparing performance data. These technologies seem to be affectively wired through naming-shaming-faming mechanisms that incentivize member states to mimic each other and desire ‘better performance’. This notion of the policy ontology’s ‘material-affective infrastructure’ has helped me understand how the Bologna standards gain hegemonic power by being circulated through the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process. This concept also allowed me to analyze how the infrastructure glosses over and makes invisible the ways in which

6

1  Introduction: It Changes Everything

the new standards changed the social and professional life among professors and managers in higher education. This research ambition is displayed in Chap. 5. In order to deepen the understanding of the changes that the new education standards seem to generate, I develop a performative concept on standards as a regulative technology. This means that in my work with standards, I center on the ways in which standards are involved with the creation, shaping and (re)configuring of the education-worlds – that they alter that which they seek to govern but also that they themselves transform as part of the processes. This performative notion of standards as a regulative technology allowed me to understand that standards constitute a major part of the policy ontology of the Bologna Process since education standards, such as the modular outcomes-based curricula, are designed to ‘govern at a distance’ (and across nation states). This conceptualization of standards also allowed me to access the changes of social and professional life at higher education institutions that were brought about by these standards. This research ambition is presented throughout Chaps. 3, 4, 5, and 6. The focus on the transformations of the working lives in higher education organizations is explored in Chap. 6 in particular. Finally, the exchange between the fieldwork and the theoretical concepts permitted an analysis of how the Bologna mode of governance is fueled by a material-­affective economy through which education actors are made to co-opt themselves into the process and thus actively co-produce and sustain the policy ontology and its infrastructure. The monograph suggests that this implies that the involved actors become standardizers themselves and thus all actively ‘mark the bench’ in the sense of setting the standards by circulating them. Concerning the theoretical ambition to grasp and conceptualize international education reform as a phenomenon that extends across times and spaces and changes social geography and the quality of social intra-actions in higher education, despite or beyond territorial geography, I take inspiration from the turn to materiality. The exploration of the reform as a phenomenon constituted by distributed agencies across different temporalities, such as past and future, and thus a phenomenon crafted through a phenomenological play between absence and presence calls for new conceptualizations. The performative and material turn revitalizes ontological matters and allows a research focus on how something materializes or manifests itself and what kind of significance and performative effects it produces. This research ambition is part of the underlying analytical and interpretative approach throughout the monograph. I aim to highlight this ambition by developing a concept of ‘matterology’ and by adjusting a concept of ‘hauntology’ coined by Derrida. Matterology and hauntology are deeply entangled in a phenomenological play between presence and absence. Whereas hauntology is a teaching about the agency of absence and what-is-not-there, matterology is a teaching about the agency of what materializes and manifests and of what-is-there. Matterology involves the crafting of ontologies through practices and hauntology denotes what haunts these practices and thus makes them fragile. This play includes a distributed notion of agency – that even ‘absence’, such as the past and the future, can be regarded as busy sites of agency. The monograph suggests that there is no ‘presence’ of current higher education that is not marked by re-configurings of the past or eroded by re-­ configurings of the future.

References

7

References Huisman, J., Stensaker, B., & Kehm, B. M. (2009). Bologna, quo vadis. In B. M. Kehm, J. Huisman, & B. Stensaker (Eds.), The European higher education area: Perspectives on a moving target. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Magalhães, A., & Amaral, A. (2009). Mapping out discourses on higher education governance. In J.  Huisman (Ed.), International perspectives on the governance of higher education. Alternative frameworks for coordination. New York: Routledge. Ravinet, P. (2008). From voluntary participation to monitored coordination: Why European countries feel increasingly bound by their commitment to the Bologna process. European Journal of Education, 43(3), 353–367.

Chapter 2

Analyzing Education Reforms

A Philosophy of Science This monograph, including its methodology and analysis, is actively making use of both philosophy and ethnography. The study is placed within what I call the turn to materiality, also simply named ‘new materialism’. I view this position as a recent innovation within poststructuralist philosophy. I consider poststructuralist philosophy as grounded in a certain movement within French philosophy from the 1960s and onwards. This movement is inspired by philosophers such as Nietzsche, for instance his critique of metaphysics and Truth as nothing but a mobile army of metaphors and metonymies (Nietzsche, 1873 [1973]: 314))  – and Heidegger, in particular his major work from 1927 Being and Time (German: Sein und Zeit) (Heidegger, 1927 [2001]). New materialism is based on a poststructuralist understanding of the historic character of knowledge production as such – the notion that knowledge, concepts and ideas are historical. Or put differently, it is based on a concept on ‘situated knowledges’ so beautifully coined by Donna Haraway (Haraway, 1988: 592). The concept of situated knowledges do not merely entail the historical character of knowledge but also that the object of knowledge is itself an actor and agent – not a screen or a resource but “the world kicking” back, as Barad would phrase it (Barad, 1996: 188; Barad, 2007: 215). This also applies to studying the Bologna Process with its various actors and agents – a dynamic and constantly moving target kicking back. According to Haraway, situating ourselves “allows us to become answerable for what we learn how to see” (Haraway, 1988: 583). Of course, location is always limited. The politics and epistemology of location is about avoiding unlocatable knowledge claims (Haraway, 1988: 583–584). However, this does not mean that one cannot grasp generic phenomena as part of research. It simply means that the ways in which one views and thus analyzes and interprets are entangled with how one has learned to see. By re-conceptualizing phenomena and reality, Barad expresses this © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_2

9

10

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

in an even more radical sense. Through post-anthropocentric readings of Bohr, Barad argues that there is no unambiguous way to differentiate between the observer and the agencies of observation (Barad, 2007: 114, 331). Barad re-conceptualizes referentiality claiming that the referent should not be perceived as an observation-­ independent object but instead as a phenomenon (Barad, 2007: 118ff). In this way, she transforms the relation between researcher and object. What is real is not an independent object. What is real is the phenomenon and what emerges in the intra-­ action between the researcher and something observed constitutes a phenomenon (Barad, 2007: 128, 205–206). As such, Barad follows Haraway’s ambition and dismantles the classical metaphysical assumption of agency as an attribute of the subject; agency is now radically distributed and what emerges as a phenomenon is closely connected to the agencies of observation (I will explain this in detail later). Or, to put it differently, there is an ontological inseparability between objects and the agencies of observation – between how one sees and how one learned to see. How I learned to see in relation to this monograph is deeply rooted in poststructuralist tradition (which I will elaborate further throughout this chapter) and ethnographic method (which is elaborated below). How I learned to see is informed by an experience of a certain role and potential for ethnographic method. Whilst conducting my fieldwork, I observed many meetings between professors struggling to translate current reforms. Before or after these meetings, the professors often spoke casually about the subject, but often these conversations were not included in the official minutes. On one occasion, after a very long casual conversation about how the professors experienced the implementation process of a new curriculum, one of the professors claimed that she often referred to this type of ‘casual’ conversation as ‘section zero’ on the meeting agenda. The concept ‘section zero’ indicated that the conversation never appeared on the official agenda or in the final minutes. On this occasion, ‘section zero’ took up the majority of the meeting because the professors were profoundly frustrated with and confused by the new reform; they discussed the new reform and its implementation by local management at great length. For me, the concept ‘section zero’ soon became the key to understanding the added value of ethnographic method. Ethnography is all about ‘section zero’ – about gaining access to the material that is never officially recorded in documents but has the ability to shed light on how to understand everyday working life and working practices. This proved to be the case during my fieldwork. Whether I was observing managers or professors, ‘section zero’ was always that part of the conversation that helped me understand the dynamics of the ongoing processes, because it was the part of a conversation in which people negotiated and agreed on their handling of current reforms. In this way, ethnography became a kind of ‘ethnography of absence’ – an access to what seems invisible since it is never officially recorded anywhere; an access to what is not there – what is not present in the artifacts of the organization in an immediate phenomenological sense. However, as I will show later in this monograph, absences can and will materialize eventually. The ethnography – including my views, analyzes and interpretations – cannot be detached from how I learned to see; they are entangled. In this sense, the philosophical tradition from which I gain inspiration and its fine-tuned focus on what is

Analytical Approach

11

‘­ missing,’ left out or glossed over is part of the reason why ethnography becomes an ethnography of absence. Both my philosophical and ethnographic interests are tuned to the constitutive effects of what is supposedly absent (made invisible) (Derrida, 1967a, 1967b, 1972). This connects to what I later call ‘agentic absence’; that what is seemingly absent – for example, actions among professors and managers that are glossed over by the dynamics of the reform or non-present (and thus ‘absent’) temporalities, such as past and future  – reveals itself as a busy site of agency and as a major part of the phenomenon of international higher education reform.

Analytical Approach The following sections constitute the underlying methodological and analytical approaches and strategies in the monograph. I developed these approaches using my inspiration in new materialism and performativity philosophy as a point of departure. In the first section Hauntology: exploring the agency of absence, I adopt a methodological approach that emphasizes the agency of absence. I then translate this approach into and expand on the analytical-strategic concept ‘hauntology’. In the second section, Matterology: exploring the turn to materiality I emphasize the revitalizing of ontology and materiality in the social sciences. I then translate this into and expand on the analytical-strategic concept of ‘matterology’. I develop these concepts as a mutual fertilization of the dynamics between presence and absence, emergence and disappearance; the fragile phenomenology of the mobile and shifting ontologies which will be elaborated throughout the monograph. I use the concept of matterology in an analytical-strategic manner, in particular to display how the ontology of the Bologna Process materializes through the follow­up mechanisms of the reform. This will be presented in Chap. 5. I use the concept of hauntology to display what is being glossed over by the Bologna ontology and its infrastructure and thus what is returning to haunt this ontology. This will be presented in Chap. 6.

Hauntology: Exploring the Agency of Absence I consider Derrida’s thinking a fundamental backdrop for the turn to materiality. This is because Derrida’s early work does not institute a philosophy that centers solely on the role of language. Bear in mind that Derrida emphasizes language as writing, graphics, carvings, traces, inscriptions and signs (Derrida, 1967a, 1967b, 1972) – all of which are material phenomena. Derrida’s fundamental critique of metaphysics propels a critique of language as representative; that is, language as mirroring and reflecting thought. Derrida argues in favor of language as constitutive and thereby seeks to dissolve the idea that

12

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

l­ anguage, the sign, is merely a representational technique and that, behind the sign, an untouched and independent original presence can be discovered (Derrida, 1967b: 21–23; 1992a). Instead, the sign takes the place of the present – it works as “the present in its absence, or the absent presence” (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012: 18). The presence which Derrida continuously calls into question also means ‘present time.’ By performing the profound deconstruction of presence, he also performs a deconstruction of the idea of the present (time). What he attacks is the idea of pure present (time) unmarked by the past or eroded by the future (Derrida, 1972: 13; 2002: 61). Or, in other words, he claims that what is being made present very much depends on what is being made absent (Law, 2003b: 7; 2004: 83). I will expand on this in Chap. 6 in this monograph, which explores how past and future play a constitutive role in propelling the actions of professors and managers and (in Chaps. 5 and 6) how the ontology of the Bologna Process stabilizes itself by making the professors and managers’ translations of the reform invisible and thus absent in the ‘successful implementation narratives.’ Barad continues Derrida’s critique of linear time in both her major work Meeting the Universe Halfway from 2007 and her article on Derrida’s concept on hauntology from 2010 Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Relations of Inheritance Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-­ Come. In these works, Barad elaborates on time as something performed and crafted: The point is that the past was never simply there to begin with and the future is not simply what will unfold; the “past” and the “future” are iteratively reworked and enfolded through the iterative practices of spacetimemattering. (Barad, 2007: 315; 2010: 260)

Barad believes that past and future are continuously reconfigured, which amounts to claiming that agency also belongs to the past and the future. Past and future are iteratively produced and reconfigured through ongoing intra-actions (Barad, 2007: 376). Neither the past nor the future is ever closed (Barad, 2007: 383; Juelskjær & Schwennesen, 2012). Time is phenomenal. Temporality is produced through intra-­ actions in the making of phenomena and is thus iteratively re-configured (Barad, 2007: 179). Past and future do not exist as determinate givens, as universals, outside phenomena (Barad, 2010: 261). Barad continues the rupture of linear time: Entanglements bring us face to face with the fact that what seems far off in space and time may be as close or closer than the pulse of here and now that appears to beat from a center that lies beneath the skin. The past is never finished once and for all and out of sight may be out of touch but not necessarily out of reach. (Barad, 2007: 394)

Derrida and Barad introduce the notion of a constitutive absence; that ghosts have agency – that the past and the future are busy sites of agency (also see St. Pierre (2000: 260)). Derrida’s deconstructive thinking helps me account for the agency of absence – that absence is an absent presence. The term absent presence was coined by Mazzei, who uses this Derrida-inspired concept in an attempt to theorize silence in data analysis: “Lurking in the shadows, the specters haunt in the absent presence of the unseen, the unheard, the not read.” (Mazzei, 2007: 27). Derrida provides me with a productive way of thinking about something that proved to be constitutive in the

Analytical Approach

13

many translations of the reforms and standards I researched; namely, something that was seemingly absent in the artifacts of the organization in a concrete phenomenological sense, yet still seemed present. This methodological approach, which I call ‘agentic absence’, opens up the possibility of exploring the constitutive effects of what is seemingly absent – in this case, how the past and future (‘absent’ temporalities) propel the actions of both professors and managers. I call the analytical-­ strategic tool that I use to perform this hauntology – a concept developed by Derrida. Throughout his work, Derrida continues to develop an understanding of constitutive absence. In the Specters of Marx from 1994, he finally coins this philosophical interest in ‘ghosts’ hauntology – a teaching on what is haunting. The philosophical neologism of hauntology expresses a way of thinking that enables an understanding of the ways in which the reform processes are haunted by what is seemingly absent. Hauntology is a near homophone to ontology in French. Whereas ontology is the teaching on what exists, a teaching on the Da-sein, the being-there, hauntology is a teaching on what is not being-there (Derrida, 1994: 202). In a way, hauntology is a supplement to ontology. One of Derrida’s philosophical points is that the constitutive power tends to be embedded in the supplement, ‘the rest’, the margins or what is seemingly ‘absent’. Ghosts are half-lives. They are an undetectable passage between loci and time, and they are able to collapse past and present. According to Derrida, there is no Da-sein of the specter. But neither is there Da-sein without the uncanniness (Unheimlichkeit) of some specter. In a way, ghosts are ‘absence’ with agency (Brøgger, 2013, 2014). What is absent will always ‘disturb’. It is beyond being but it appears and it haunts. The ghost is a revenant; it returns, “it ghosts,” it “specters,” as Derrida writes (Derrida, 1994: 10, 166). The concept of hauntology highlights the spectrality of the past and the future; the ways in which the reform processes are haunted by what is seemingly absent and that the organizational changes are propelled by something re-turning from absence. I will elaborate on this idea in Chap. 6 as part of my analysis of how professors and managers in higher education organizations translate the new reforms.

Matterology: Exploring the Turn to Materiality Recent thinkers  – Karen Barad in particular  – have argued that discourses have material consequences (Barad, 2007; Hekman, 2010: 90; Jackson & Mazzei, 2012: 110).1 As well as this, they have argued that ‘matter’ has agency. According to several researchers, this recent movement within the social sciences can be viewed as an intensified demand for more materialist modes of analysis across disciplines such as anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology (Coole & Frost, 2010: 2; Dolphijn & van der Tuin, 2012). Within political theory, White suggests 1  Part of these sections that provide an overview of the turn to materiality has previously been published in (Brøgger, 2018): The Performative Power of (Non)human Agency Assemblages of Soft Governance in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09518398.2018.1449985

14

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

that this movement is about introducing the possibility of weak ontologies, which promote an interpretive-existential terrain, as opposed to strong ontologies, which claim that ‘this is the way the world is’ (White, 2000: 6–8). However, for many social scientists, the turn towards ‘how matter comes to matter’ (Barad, 2007) is shaped by a critique of what they understand as the linguistic turn. Language has been granted too much power. The linguistic turn, the semiotic turn, the interpretive turn, the cultural turn: it seems that at every turn lately every ‘thing’ – even materiality – is turned into a matter of language or some other form of cultural representation. […] Language matters. Discourse matters. Culture matters. There is an important sense in which the only thing that doesn’t seem to matter anymore is matter. (Barad, 2007: 132)

Barad’s trenchant statement is representative of the critique that many social science researchers have put forward in recent years – a critique of what may be summed up as the linguistic turn. As early as 1991, Haraway expressed the critique of a ‘radical social constructionist program’ and suggested balancing between the historical contingency of knowledge and faithful accounts of the real world (Haraway, 1991: 185, 187). To a large extent, the shift towards materiality can be seen as a philosophical development within post-structuralism  – though perhaps Latour is the exception, given his fierce critique of post-structuralism (or more precisely, his critique of social constructionism) and his keen interest in the movement from text to things (Latour, 1987): Are you not fed up at finding yourself locked into language alone, or imprisoned in social representation alone, as so many social scientists would like you to be? (Latour, 1993: 90)

Both the critique put forward by Barad and Latour seems to strongly imply that the privilege of language has worked as a prison in which any notion of materiality was denied access. However, this extensive critique of the so-called linguistic turn, which is put forward by many social scientists, appears to be grounded in the idea that translations of poststructuralist philosophy into other disciplines – for example, the social sciences – tend to privilege language. However, these readings of poststructuralism represent a slightly mistaken re-configuring of the philosophical past. When examining the work of the 1960s French philosophers such as Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze, it becomes clear that they did not neglect the notion of materiality (also see (Ahmed, 2010: note 1; Brøgger, 2018; Hekman, 2008: 101)). Realism or sensualism – “empiricism” – are modifications of logocentrism […] In short, the signifier “matter” appears to me problematic only at the moment when its reinscription cannot avoid making of it a new fundamental principle which, by means of a theoretical regression, would be reconstituted into a “transcendental signified” […] It can always come to reassure a metaphysical materialism. It then becomes an ultimate referent […] or it becomes an “objective reality”. (Derrida, 1982: 64–65)

According to Derrida, realism or materialism only become problematic if they are privileged as the only points of departure; in other words, if it is claimed that matter is alone and constitutes an objective reality. The signifier ‘matters’ – in the double sense of ‘having materiality and carrying significance’ – but it should not be turned into a new fundamental principle, a ‘transcendental signified’ in Derrida’s

Analytical Approach

15

terminology (see also (Cheah, 2010)). For Derrida, this suggests that one should shake ‘matter’ loose from the limiting binary opposition within which it has been caught: The concept of matter must be marked twice […] outside the oppositions in which it has been caught (matter/spirit, matter/ideality, matter/form, etc.). (Derrida, 1982: 65)

Rather than introducing materiality as something new, the turn to materiality may offer a way to shake ‘matter’ loose as Derrida suggests; a way to work with materiality without turning it into ‘objective reality’ – very much in line with Derrida’s own interest in signs in a material sense as graphics, traces, inscriptions, and carvings. The critique of the privileging of mind over matter manifests itself differently in various branches of the social sciences (Brøgger, 2018). These manifestations range from science and technology studies (Haraway, 1991; Latour, 2005b) through feminist philosophical accounts (Ahmed, 2010; Alaimo & Hekman, 2008; Barad, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2007; Braidotti, 2013; Coole & Frost, 2010; Dolphijn & van der Tuin, 2012; Haraway, 1991; Hekman, 2008, 2010; White, 2000), anthropological accounts of posthumanist, multispecies ethnography or material practices (Mol, 2002; Tsing, 2012) to socio-material elaborations (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011). In addition to this, the critique of mind over matter can also be seen in the so-­ called ‘affective turn’ (Clough & Halley, 2007). It can be argued that the phrase ‘the affective turn’ may be misleading as it refers to many different turns (Staunæs, 2016: 4). Meanwhile, I chose to use this somewhat reductionist phrase in this article and refrain from engaging in the debates currently unfolding among scholars of this turn. Put simply, this turn expands on and theorizes the everyday English term ‘affect’ and ‘affecting,’ which usually connote ‘impact’ in general. The affective turn sophisticates this meaning by enhancing the ‘affective’ dimension (what is usually understood as the ‘emotional’ dimension in everyday language) of this ‘impact’. The affective turn re-instates the body as a legitimate research phenomenon in the social sciences and, among other things, explores how affective practices appear in social life (Wetherell, 2012). In this monograph, I refer selectively to the affective turn in order to emphasize certain mechanisms and effects of the reform, such as the ways in which the infrastructure of the Bologna Process institutes certain affective practices; for example, a mimetic desire that accompanies the spread of education standards (I will expand on this in Chaps. 5 and 6). Although I take inspiration from the affective turn – which allows me to include affective and, as such, material practices in my analysis  – I refrain from subscribing to the part of this tradition that centers on pre-individual bodily forces (Clough, 2008; Clough & Halley, 2007; Massumi, 2002).2 I wish to follow theoretical trajectories in which materiality and 2  These theoretical considerations may well provide answers to questions within psychology (for example) by unsettling a traditional psychological subject. However, they also seem to reinvent philosophy as metaphysics. Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy dating back to ancient philosophy. To put it simply it is a part of philosophy which is concerned with that which transcends that world or worlds which is/are accessible to human and human perception. For example the establishing of philosophical ‘first principles’ for human perception or the establish-

16

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

situatedness is integral to affectivity. These material-bodily dimensions will form part of my analysis in Chaps. 5 and 6, for example in my analysis of the material-­ affective infrastructure of the Bologna Process. Many different concepts have been developed in order to capture the shift towards a renewed status of materiality, including post-humanism, multispecies ethnography, material practices, performativity, new materialism, feminist materialism and materialist feminism. In this study, I refer to this shift as ‘the turn to materiality’ within poststructuralist thinking. In my opinion, the most vital philosophical manifestation of this turn is the performativity-inspired innovation of poststructuralism, which analytically equates ontology with epistemology. This turn towards ‘performativity philosophy’ can be seen within feminist philosophy (Barad, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2007; Butler, 1993, 2010), cultural studies (though Thrift often calls this performative interest ‘non-representational theory’) (Callon, 2010; Nash, 2000; Thrift, 2000b, 2007), science and technology studies (Callon, 2010; Latour, 2005a; Mol, 2002) and organization and management studies, in which it is often referred to as ‘the practice turn’ (Jarzabkowski, 2005; Johnson, Melin, & Whittington, 2003; Nicolini, Gherardi, & Yanow, 2003; Orlikowski, 2007; Regnér, 2008; Schatzki, 2006; Schatzki, Cetina, & Savigny, 2001; Whittington, 2006). These examples do not serve as an exhaustive topology; however, they may provide the reader with an impression of interrelated theoretical developments across the social scientific field. I will include and expand on several of these positions throughout this study. The turn to materiality emphasizes how phenomena come into being, how they are enacted. It is not about things or subjects as they are, but how things and subjects emerge and how they create each other. Within the turn to materiality, agentic force is not an attribute of humans. It is not something that someone or something has. Rather it is radically distributed (something unfolding between human and non-­ human agents, as will be displayed in Chaps. 5 and 6) and concerns the incessant creation of realities, ongoing practices understood as embodied, situated actions (Alaimo & Hekman, 2008: 7). In many ways, this turn is propelled by Butler’s understanding of performativity. Perhaps the most accurate definition of Butler’s understanding of performativity can be found in her 1993 work Bodies that Matter. In this work, Butler is inspired by Derrida’s reading of Austin’s speech act theory. Butler frames performativity as a “reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names” (Butler, 1993: 2). This means that particular practices, ways of doing things, do not represent an objective reality (for instance a natural gender) rather the iterative practices such as the assignment of a particular ing of principles transcendending the human perception are considered metaphysics. Following Heidegger and Derrida, metaphysics can be summed up as the ambition to ‘reach behind,’ overcome and leave behind in order to reach originality or a first principle. As already mentioned: striving to discover what is behind the curtain, the veil, the sign is metaphysics in action. The Kantian ‘Ding an Sich’ is a classique example, the Deleuzian concept of the ‘vitual’ (as a reservoir of indeterminate energy) another, modern (and no doubt innovative and subversive) example. Contrary to Foucault and Derrida, Deleuze wished to develop a metaphysics adequate to modern science, that is a metaphysics capable of establishing transcendental conditions of possibility for modern science (Deleuze, 1997; Smith, 2012; Villani, 1999).

Analytical Approach

17

gender at birth, gendered clothing of a person, and gendered upbringing of a person creates phenomena such as ‘woman’. Butler regards the discursive practices as regulatory practices that produce the bodies that they address and thereby govern (Brøgger, 2018). This definition has had a powerful ‘effective history’ and Barad’s onto-epistemological widening of the concept is shaped around and in continuation of this perception. As I describe below, Barad’s processing of the potential of performativity means that performativity not only describes processes that produce ontological effects by bringing into being certain realities (as Butler states; see (Butler, 2010: 147)); it also encompasses the agentic force of both human and non-­ human agents – in other words, in onto-epistemological processes, the realizations of the world cannot be distinguished from the ontologies of the world (Barad, 2007; Brøgger, 2018). Later in this monograph, these philosophical considerations will provide access to the ways in which standards (for example) are involved with the creation and (re)configuring of the realities of higher education. Barad argues that the move towards performative alternatives to representationalism shifts the focus from correspondence between description and reality to practices and doings (Barad, 2007: 28). Barad seeks to dismantle the subject-object dichotomy and to introduce an onto-epistemological framework in an attempt to leave behind the privileging of epistemology in poststructuralist thinking and ontology in traditional physics. Barad is inspired by quantum physics, especially Bohr, philosophy, especially Foucault and Derrida, and queer studies, especially Haraway and Butler. She positions her onto-epistemological framework as a so-called agential realism (Barad, 2007: 44). Agential realism is not about the representation of an independent reality, but about the real consequences of intra-action with the world (Barad, 1996: 188). In traditional metaphysics, epistemology and ontology are considered separate and binary oppositions; this position is maintained from classical positivism to critical realism. In Barad’s thinking, there is only onto-epistemology. It is impossible to meaningfully distinguish epistemology from ontology. Barad connects classical metaphysics with the ideas that inter-acting between separate entities can occur. However, Barad’s point is that what occurs is intra-activity from within, since it is impossible to separate ‘onto’ from ‘episto’. Moreover, there are no distinctions between ‘inside and outside’ in Barad’s thinking; differences emerge within phenomena. Barad seeks to leave behind a representational logic and to replace it with a performative notion of practices; that different practices matter and that the world simply materializes differently through different practices (Barad, 2007: 89). The philosophical impact of Barad’s approach is profound and immediately affects the relation between interpreter and the interpreted. However, Barad moves one step further. By re-conceptualizing the understanding of phenomena, including a specific interpretation of ‘apparatus,’ she escapes the often trivialized discussions on the status of reality – probably best explained by the Kantian notion of the friction between the ‘Ding an Sich’ (the thing in itself) and the ‘Ding für Sich’ (the thing for itself) that propel a stubborn epistemological distinction in Western philosophy between the thing in itself, which I cannot know or access and the thing for itself (the world as it presents itself), which I can access because it lies within reach

18

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

of my epistemological capacity. This distinction leaves the ‘Ding an Sich’ to haunt philosophy as a metaphysical regulative ideal for subsequent philosophers to handle. Barad escapes the Kantian pitfall of matter as passive and inaccessible to human perception, since she operates with a performative notion of matter; she simply assigns matter an active status – matter kicks back! (Barad, 2003, 2010). Barad’s re-conceptualization of phenomena is based on post-humanist  – post-­ anthropocentric – readings of Bohr (Barad, 2007: 331). Barad argues that there is no unambiguous way to differentiate between the observer and the agencies of observation (Barad, 2007: 114). Barad reconceptualizes referentiality claiming that the referent should not be perceived as an observation-independent object but as a phenomenon (Barad, 2007: 118ff). My reading is that the measured properties refer to phenomena, remembering that the crucial identifying feature of phenomena is that they include “all relevant features of the experimental arrangement”. To put the point in a more modern context, according to Bohr’s general epistemological framework, referentiality must be reconceptualized. The referent is not an observation-independent object but a phenomenon. (Barad, 2007: 120)

Properties measured in specific ways, Barad states, constitute phenomena and cannot be reduced to either an abstract object or an abstract measuring instrument. Phenomena are the ontological inseparability of intra-acting agencies; the intra-­ acting agencies are always already entangled (Barad, 2007: 139, 308, 333). Part of this is already mentioned in the first chapter on the ‘politics of location’ since it relates to the ways in which approaches, analysis and interpretations are entangled with how one has learned to see: that the situatedness of the researcher is part of the (research) phenomenon. There is no outside perspective. Both subject and object emerge through intra-actions: A phenomenon is a specific intra-action of an “object” and the “measuring agencies”; the object and the measuring agencies emerge from, rather than precede, the intra-action that produces them. (Barad, 2007: 128)

There is no external viewpoint from which to observe phenomena. There is no God’s eye view of the world (Haraway, 1988). Performing a measurement is “peeking” inside a phenomenon and the measuring agencies are part of the ‘investigation’ (Barad, 2007: 345, 347). The arrangement of the intra-acting agencies – the apparatus  – constitutes specific boundary-drawing, material practices. These practices enact agential cuts, which can be described as momentary arrests of the constant production of referentiality; they enact (momentary) resolutions within the phenomenon: “Cuts are not enacted from the outside, nor are they ever enacted once and for all.” (Barad, 2007: 179). These cuts are part of our knowledge-making practices and as such they are part of the constant production of differences. Gaining inspiration from Haraway (Haraway, 1992), Barad calls the effects these differences have on the world diffractions. Barad develops the notion of diffraction based on the physical phenomenon; for instance, how water waves are diffracted – how they are bent and spread – when they encounter an obstruction. Waves bend and spread differently than they would otherwise do due to the obstacle that they encounter. According to Haraway, diffraction patterns do not map where differences appear,

Analytical Approach

19

rather they map where the effects of difference appear (Haraway, 1992: 300). The obstacle is a difference that is made – an agential cut – and how the waves bend and spread are the effects of this cut. This notion on effects is detached from logics of causality. Mapping diffractive patterns and connections is not the same as identifying causes. It is about the ‘how’ – how, and not why, something happens and unfolds. This particular understanding is decisive in the analysis of what happens when new education standards enter a higher education organization. When they enter an organization, they encounter an obstacle. In many ways, the ethnographic fieldwork I conduct among professors and managers is an ethnographic mapping of the effects of this encounter in which the standards change the social and professional world of professors and managers but also undergoes their own transformation. Translated into the language of Barad, this means that the world is re-configured with each cut that is made within the Bologna-Process-phenomenon. Drawing on Butler’s notion of performativity as a reiterative and citational practice, Barad argues that these practices are dynamic and open-ended (Barad, 2007: 167, 184, 208; Butler, 1993: 2). This is very similar to Derrida’s concept of différance – the movement through which differences occur (or cuts are made) – a dynamic and open-ended process. Barad uses this reconceptualization of phenomena to challenge perceptions of what can be regarded as real. In doing so, she fundamentally dismantles the traditional subject-object dichotomy. She claims that the observation-independent object – the object in traditional metaphysics – is not what is real. However, contrary to what many poststructuralists state, she does not claim that nothing is real. Instead, Barad claims that what is real is a phenomenon (Barad, 2007: 205–206). Phenomena are constitutive of reality (Barad, 2007: 338–339). The ongoing re-­ configurings of the world is a constant space-time-mattering; space, time and matter come into existence through the intra-acting agencies within phenomena. As a result of the iterative nature of intra-active practices that constitute phenomena, the “past” and the “future” are iteratively reconfigured and enfolded through one another: phenomena cannot be located in space and time; rather, phenomena are material entanglements that “extend” across different spaces and times. (Barad, 2007: 316–317)

In this monograph, I consider the Bologna Process to be a phenomenon in Barad’s sense of the term. As I will outline in the following chapters, the Bologna Process does not merely concern negotiations between the EU and the Bologna Process or follow-up mechanisms. The reform also changes the social geography and the social, professional and organizational order of higher education. Therefore, the reform phenomenon also includes the agencies of professors and managers in higher education institutions. In this way, the reform-phenomenon is constituted by intra-­ acting agencies that extend across spaces. In Chap. 6, I will also describe how the reform extends across times in the sense that the agencies of the reform are propelled by both past and future. In the next section on multisited ethnography, I will elaborate on my understanding of the Bologna Process as the research field and some of the agencies that take part in the reform as case sites. Agency is not an attribute. It is not something that someone or something has; rather, it is the ongoing re-configuring of the world. By following Derrida, Barad

20

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

ensures that language is no longer privileged over matter. The world is not a container with humans in it. Humans are not in the world but are of the world, and they are “surely not outside of it looking in” (Barad, 2007: 206; Juelskjær, 2013). Barad’s ontology is a relational ontology that ascribes equal agency to human and non-­ human agents. It is an ontology that entails the crafting of ontologies (Hekman, 2008: 103). This materiality or particular crafting of ontologies is translated into educational research by Fenwick and Edwards (2011). Based on their ANT-inspired re-conceptualization of policy processes, Fenwick and Edwards criticize the idea that constructivism merely offers different perspectives on a world that is indirectly and often inadvertently assumed to be there. They argue that diversity is not produced by multiple perspectives, but that we are in fact part of different ‘worlds,’ or ‘reals,’ that co-exist and overlap: “patched together in the same material spaces” (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 710, 722). According to Fenwick and Edwards, studying these overlapping ontologies would mean observing the proliferation of practices and meanings as different worlds, not just different world-views (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 722). This means that policy becomes a question of “the fragile enrolments of multiple ontologies rather than the stable transcendence into a single ontology” and policy enactments become a question of “a patching together of different realities” (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 723). By expanding the understanding of ontologies with multiplicity, it is possible to show the ontological variance in educational policy enactments and the practices through which different policy actors negotiate these multiplicities (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 724). This essentially means exploring how agency is distributed and how certain accounts of it fix and dissolve in temporary stabilizations (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 721). These stabilizations relate to Barad’s agential cuts (Barad, 2007: 345, 347) and are also very much in line with Annemarie Mol, another major philosopher of the turn to materiality, who states that the conditions of possibility (the real) are not given. They are enacted.3 Reality does not precede practices but is enacted through practices (Hekman, 2010: 82; Mol, 1999: 75). Thus the turn to materiality leads us 3  In this monograph, I often use the concept of practice and enactment synonymously in order to capture “the continuing practice of crafting” (Law, 2004: 56). In addition to this, I also use the concept of performativity. The concept of enactment relates to Weick’s non-representational understanding of enactment as actions in the world (as opposed to pictures of the world) (Weick, 1979: 36) and the concept’s connotation of ‘staging’ – in the sense that one can enact a play at a theater; or that objects come into existence as part of an enactment (Mol, 2002). In this way, the concept is rooted in organization studies but has since been further developed as part of the turn towards practice and performativity. In addition to this concept I also use the concept practice. I use this concept to capture the constitutive impact of situated social action (Brenneis, 2004). In particular I gain inspiration from Anne Marie Mol’s performative use of the notion on practice as an ethnographic interest in the details and subtleties of practices that are situated and embodied (Mol et al., 2010). Finally, I use the neologism performativity which is launched as an influential theory in Judith Butler’s work Gender Trouble from 1990 (Butler, 1999). Among others, Butler draws on Derrida and his modification of Austin’s speech act theory (H. Miller, 2007). The concept is used moderately and infrequently before Butler’s work; for example, in Lyotard’s work from 1979 La condition postmoderne (Brøgger, 2018; Lyotard, 1979 [1996]; Staunæs, Brøgger, & Krejsler, 2018).

Analytical Approach

21

towards “the constant hum of practices” (Thrift, 2000a: 385). An object is a reality enacted. If an object is real, it is because it is part of a practice (Mol, 2002: 44). This understanding of enactment emphasizes the performativity of enactment; that enactments do not merely present something that has already been made but that enactments have powerful productive effects (Law, 2004: 56). Performativity includes the agency of mind and matter, and producing knowledge becomes a question of making worlds or worldly configurations and not about making facts. For Barad knowing becomes part of being. Ontology is an ‘ontology of knowing’ that indicates the profound entanglement of knowing and being (Barad, 2007: 378–379; Hekman, 2010: 74). Agential realism moves beyond the exclusive focus on the human-social realm by providing a way to incorporate the material dimensions of agency into poststructuralist analysis (Barad, 2007: 225). The way agency is ascribed to matter will inform the analysis of the materiality of the infrastructure of the Bologna Process; for example, the agency of scorecards. It will also inform the constitutive role of the affects that work as co-drivers of the managers’ actions (despite the fact that Barad does not seem to engage in the materiality of intensities herself). The re-­ conceptualization of reality will become part of the understanding of international education reform as a phenomenon that extends across times and spaces. And, finally, the understanding of ontology as the constant production of mobile and multiple ontologies will play a major role in the ethnographic research among professors and managers and the way in which they produce multiple and colliding reals. The turn to materiality helps to reveal the ways in which agents are made to co-­ opt themselves into a reform process and thus actively participate in the spreading of new educational standards. The turn to materiality implies that poststructuralist insights are used to analyze epistemological and ontological matters as well as the reasons for their inseparability. This approach creates space for ‘how matter matters’ within education research; that is, how something materializes or manifests itself and what kind of significance and performative effects it produces. Based on the turn to materiality, I have developed an analytical-strategic approach that I call ‘matterology’. By using matterology, I seek to emphasize the profound entanglement of epistemology and ontology within phenomena; namely, that the production of phenomena, such as reform processes and the spreading of educational standards, always constitutes an ‘ontology of knowing.’ Matterology is a concept that plays on phenomenal emergence, how something materializes, and the performative power unfolding among intra-active agencies; for example, among scorecards and governments (which will be the focus in Chap. 5) and professors and managers (which will be the focus in Chap. 6). This approach indirectly suggests that everything is co-­ constitutive and co-productive. This will be displayed, for example, through my use of documents, which, in my analysis, do not serve as a frame (‘out-side’, structure) surrounding a case study (‘in-side’, content and agency) but as agentic parts of the ethnographic fieldwork and analysis on the spreading of educational standards. Of course, matterology is also deeply embedded in a word play with my other analytical concept, ‘hauntology.’ Matterology involves tracing the crafting of ontologies through practices; however, what makes these practices fragile and mobile is

22

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

p­ recisely what haunts them. Hauntology unsettles matterology. Whereas hauntology is a teaching on what haunts – a teaching about the agency of absence and whatis-not-­there – matterology is a teaching on what matters – a teaching on the agency of what materializes and manifests and of what-is-there (in a signifying and material way – the double meaning of ‘matter’). In other words, my two analytical-strategic concepts constitute a phenomenological play. This play of course includes the ways in which that which is haunting also matters – both in the sense of materializing and in the sense of carrying significance – for example, in the shape of juntas, small ghost armies, or in the shape of bodies experiencing nausea, which I will describe in Chap. 6. In Chap. 6, I will also expand on the phenomenological play between emergence and disappearance. In this study, the revitalizing of ontology implies that standards and standardizing processes, which are at the very center of the monograph, do not merely exist at an epistemological level (which would constitute a more constructivist-inspired perspective). Centering on epistemology alone would neglect the ways that standards materialize and intra-act with the material world. Standards are always part of a practice or production; they come into existence by being enacted at specific sites in so far as we understand enactment as the ways in which practices alter, transform and intra-act with objects (Dunn, 2009; Mennicken, 2008; Mol, 2002; Weick, 1979). They do not come into existence until they are set in motion through practices and production, until others negotiate and contest them. Or, to use scientific philosophical terminology: the performative approach distances itself from classical metaphysics, which centers on finding accurate representation. In contrast, the performative approach stresses that different practices matter; or, as Barad claims, that the world materializes differently through different practices (Barad, 2007: 89). In this way, standards are in constant flux, continually migrate, and transform which will be fully elaborated in the following chapters. They are historical and embedded in a “series of complex events” and social practices and hence they impact in various ways: “One person’s well-fitting standard may be another’s impossible nightmare” (Lampland & Star, 2009: 5, 14).

Multisited Ethnography As already mentioned, an international reform process such as the Bologna Process extends across times and spaces which makes it necessary to ask where and when the field is (St. Pierre, 2000: 260, 262). Researching relations between transnational education reforms and everyday working life calls for new ways of developing methodological and analytical approaches. In what appears to be an attempt to save the ‘location’ of ethnographic work challenged by hegemonic macro narratives on globalization during the 1990s, George Marcus suggests ‘multisited ethnography’ as a way to handle and address

Multisited Ethnography

23

phenomena that extend across time and space (Marcus, 1995). The multisited ethnographic approach is designed to cross-cut and destabilize the dichotomy of local and global, and not least to challenge the idea of the global or macro as something contextualizing single-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995: 95). In proposing his multisited ethnography, Marcus draws on Derrida and his concept of dissemination, which describes the act of continuous appending that interrupts any attempt to identify an origin (Derrida, 1972 [2013]: 17, 52 (note 27); Marcus, 1995: 102). The multisited approach indicates that field and site are no longer coterminous (Wright, 2011: 28). I understand my field as the Bologna Process; the most extensive European policy transfer process within higher education to date. However, this field is nested in the intersection between several other disciplines, such as policy studies, organizational studies, and, in particular, globalization studies. Since my field borders these adjacent disciplines, I will also address them. The Bologna process, which now encompasses 48 countries, is not a consistent and harmonious phenomenon, and there appear to be few clear borders to its continuous and ongoing processes. This, of course, complicates the empirical examination of the Bologna Process. Locating a case site within this field is challenging, and so, the complex policy matrix of the Bologna Process presents particular difficulties for the researcher (Keeling, 2004). In addition to Marcus’ tracking strategies for a multisited ethnography (for instance, ‘follow the people’ or ‘follow the thing’), Wright and Shore suggest tracking a new phenomenon: ‘follow the policy’ (Shore & Wright, 2011: 12). The challenge, they argue, is to select one or more sites that open windows onto the larger field, which, in my case, would be larger processes of political and educational transformation. As already mentioned, the research scholarship for which I originally applied proposed an investigation into the relation between international discourses on knowledge and local educational development within higher education. Since the Bologna Process is currently the main European reform process driving the transformation of higher education, it seemed fitting to select this process as my field. It seemed that, in various ways, all major changes and transformations within higher education were closely linked to the Bologna Process, which Denmark had ratified and was obliged to implement within national legislation. This process was well under way when I started my research project in 2010, the launch year for one of the major milestones of the Bologna Process: the European Higher Education Area. One of my main considerations when I decided on the Bologna Process was to ensure I could follow ongoing processes. This would allow me to use methods including but also adding to document analysis and interviews (I will elaborate on this in the chapter on methods). Moreover, I believed that my onto-epistemological point of departure provided me with applicable conceptualizations and understandings to effectively capture the processual character of the reform. As part of the Bologna Process, university colleges and universities were asked by the government to implement new educational ministerial orders, curricula and

24

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

study programs that actively reinterpret the content and framework of the Bachelor and Master degree programs in accordance with the Bologna objectives. I decided to follow these processes up-close. Meanwhile, it soon emerged that the relation between ‘site’ and ‘field’ was much more complex – and also that the sites began to multiply. I do not consider the macro processes of the Bologna Process as a contextual architecture that frames local and lived working life at university colleges and universities. Instead, I understand the macro processes and the local negotiations as equal parts of the research phenomenon. Studying a reform process as extensive as the Bologna Process made it difficult to ‘follow the policy,’ as suggested by Shore and Wright, since the Bologna Process consists of a vast number of policies and objectives. However, inspired by Shore and Wright’s approach, I discovered as part of my research and analysis that the Bologna mode of governance (which I explain later) is constituted by the setting in motion of standardizing processes that distribute new educational standards to be implemented both nationally and locally. So, ‘following the policy’ became ‘following the new standards.’ Informed by my fieldwork, I decided to focus on two new educational standards: the modularization and out-put orientation of the curriculum. Inspired equally by Marcus and Shore and Wright, I decided to follow these standards across a field. In line with my analytical-­ strategic concepts  – hauntology and matterology  – I tracked these standards and their profound effects across various sites; for example, in meetings for professors to develop a new educational module, in the relation between the Bologna Process and the EU, in the objectives of the Bologna Process and, not least, in the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process. The documents I read throughout my research (in order to determine, for example, how standardizing processes and particular standards became a governing mode of the Bologna Process) did not serve as a contextual framework but as artifacts of the knowledge practices that constitute the Bologna Process (Riles, 2006: 7). I trace these knowledge practices in documents and follow-up mechanisms (Chaps. 4 and 5 in this monograph) and in meetings, logbooks and conversations (Chap. 6 of this monograph). As mentioned in the previous chapter on matterology, I trace how something materializes. The policy processes consist of intra-active agencies. As I later explain, this orientation towards agency and practices as part of the understanding and conceptualization of policy is closely connected to the turn to materiality. This approach considers everything to be co-constitutive and co-productive. Moreover, following practices and various agencies also cross-cuts the dichotomy of macro and micro as intended by Marcus but emphasized (among others) by Latour (Latour, 1996). As Wright claims, a field can be extensive (Wright, 2011: 28), and this certainly applies in my case. My field includes everyday working activities, and national and international governing bodies. Furthermore, I understand agency not as an attribute of the subject but as distributed, which means that matter can also be ascribed agency; for instance, the agency of a scorecard that produces certain effects and affects that govern other agents’ actions. As Shore and Wright claim, policy brings together humans, organizations, technologies, and discourses (Shore & Wright, 2011: 11), and I view all of these as possible agents within the field. When I move

The Ideological Touch of the Bologna Research

25

from studying a meeting for professors to studying how the spread of standards is propelled by certain follow-up mechanisms, I understand this shift as a movement between sites across a field. However, it is probable that this version of multisited ethnography is slightly different from Marcus’ version, since it does not demand that I travel between different physical locations. This also relates to my understanding of distributed agency. On my approach, a site is not merely constituted by a location in which subjects exercise agency as an attribute. In this way, a site does not depend on face-to-face encounters. Non-human agents also have agency; for example, a site in which scorecards incentivize agents to compete through a complex material-affective economy (I shall return to this idea later). My multisited ethnography becomes a mapping not of terrain – as Marcus would suggest – but of mechanisms that drive a reform process. My goal is not to portray the system as a totality – which Marcus also recommends (Marcus, 1995: 99) – but rather to follow Marcus and Wright in viewing ethnography across sites as windows onto the reform process. By following two standards and by moving across sites within the field, my goal is to provide an ethnography of some of the main mechanisms and their effects by carving them out in detail. This multisited approach will also facilitate an understanding of some of the core characteristics of the international, globalized governance of higher education today – precisely because it works with the connections between sites. Moreover, the ethnography may even offer more generic analytical tools for investigating educational reform processes.

The Ideological Touch of the Bologna Research Research into the Bologna Process is characterized by two main approaches. The first is a ‘problem-solving’ approach, which serves as a reform- and policy-­ supportive perspective. This approach typically deals with the policy process in terms of the implementation and evaluation of specific initiatives. The second approach is more critical and questions the ongoing reform processes (Dale, 2009). The policy-supporting perspective is often strongly empirically oriented and is primarily dominated by experts who form a major part of the new governing architecture of higher education (Lawn, 2011). These experts are part of the organization of the EU and Bologna-related platforms and systems that support the analysis and monitoring of the flow of performance data. An example of this is the working group appointed by the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG), which produced the first Bologna Stocktaking Report in 2005. The group’s work is supported by EURYDICE, a network that provides European-level analysis and information that can assist those responsible for education in Europe in their decision-making (at least, this is how the network presents itself on its website). EURYDICE is under the auspices of the European Commission, which also happens to provide financial support for the preparation of reports that monitor the progress of the Bologna Process. This kind of ‘applied’ and ‘implementation-and-progress’ supportive research can also be detected in the biennial national reports (beginning in

26

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

2003) that describe the main achievements in implementing the Bologna objectives, not least the TRENDS reports (I-VI, beginning in 1999), which also monitor progress towards a European Higher Education Area and which are facilitated by the European University Association (EUA). The preparation of the TRENDS reports is also funded by the European Commission. The governing mode of the Bologna Process, the so-called Open Method of Coordination which will be discussed and elaborated later in this monograph, makes it possible for these actors to co-create and design the policy process and, hence, it legitimizes the promoting of specific (domestic) interests (Gornitzka, 2006; Henckel & Wright, 2008). This research approach is often criticized as lacking a theoretical and critical perspective (Keeling, 2004). The critical approach is university based and often relates to a more general scientific debate on global policy strategies. This approach usually centers on how the Bologna Process is governed, how it is marked by a neoliberal agenda and how it is related to the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, such as educational market orientation and the promotion of a competitive knowledge economy. Many of these studies are document based and parts of them are marked by a governmentality inspired way of thinking; for example, this can be seen in Fejes’ work (Fejes, 2006a, 2006b, 2008). In general, this approach aims to analyze the components and agents that participate in designing the ongoing policy processes as new modes of governance and marketization (Fejes, 2006b; Keeling, 2006; Krejsler, Olsson, & Petersson, 2012; Naidoo, Shankar, & Veer, 2011; Nóvoa, 2002; Nóvoa & Lawn, 2002; Robertson, 2009; Robertson & Dale, 2008; Wihlborg & Teelken, 2014), as negotiated and contested realities (Henckel & Wright, 2008; Shore & Wright, 1997, 2011) or as standardization and regimes of data and experts (Lawn, 2011, 2013a, 2013b; Lawn & Grek, 2012). All these studies are empirical and analyze current policy documents and the role of various agents, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and individual actors. Since the Bologna implementation was accelerated by ‘the framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area’ in 2005, these studies have been supplemented with examinations that tend to focus on national implementations of the Bologna objectives and how national interpretations are either similar to or different from the Bologna objectives as they are presented through the European frameworks (G. B. Nielsen, 2010; Sarauw, 2011; Ursin, Zamorski, Stiwne, Teelken, & Wihlborg, 2010). One of the objections to the critical approach is that it operates with a normative – and occasionally mythical – conception of the (Humboldtian) university (Ash, 2008; Keeling, 2004; Michelsen, 2010). The policy supporting approach tends to be based on a realist, sometimes neo-­ positivist, scientific understanding, whereas the critical approach tends to work with post-realist understandings based on critical realism, constructivism, and post-­ structuralism. However, some researchers position themselves in the center of this somewhat simplistic divide; for example, the members of the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. At the risk of reducing the nuances and complexities, members of this group – for instance Westerheijden and van Vught – seem to perform a more descriptive and positivist-based research.

Collapsing Global Bigness and Smallness into the Social

27

The three positions I have just outlined all contain an ideological impact. The first is reflected as policy implementation (the applied dimension), which carries a strong, normative agenda in its support for and belief in economic and market-­ related rationality as a driver of education and research and the idea of a linear adaptation process unaffected by social influences, contestations and negotiations. The critical approach calls into question the premises of the ongoing reforms and often challenges the so-called neoliberal agenda by clearly distancing itself from economic rationality and marketization. Researchers performing this critical take aim to question the hidden ideological impact of the policy processes by performing a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’  – a critical and suspicious analysis of the ongoing processes. Finally, the more descriptive approach is, if not policy supportive, then at least policy-positive. This largely policy-accommodating approach also holds a normative agenda, since it aims to accommodate the ongoing changes and because it (primarily) works within a positivist-based understanding, which, with its claim to objectivity, is as scientifically normative as any other scientific positioning. In a sense, all three approaches – albeit in different ways – are directed towards the normative objectives in the policy statements of the Bologna process (Keeling, 2004). For this reason, I suggest that it is unhelpful and inaccurate to simply divide the research into descriptive studies and normative studies. In order to investigate recent dynamics of new modes of governing higher education, it is important not only to bring together the field of higher education and the disciplines of policy and governance as argued by Huisman (2009) but also include and re-conceptualize a notion on globalization and a notion on agency. Several researchers such as Wright, Steiner-Khamsi, Naidoo, Robertson, and Dale, have already engaged with this endeavor and I gain inspiration from all of them in my analysis and interpretations of the reform process. However through my re-conceptualization of globalization as a dimension of social geography, my performativity-based approach that enables me to explore practices and enactments that recognizes that material and human agency constitute one another and my understanding of translation as transmutation, I believe that I am also adding new perspectives to the analysis of higher education reform and perhaps in this way I am able to expand on the critical research approach and widen the understanding of national translations of the Bologna Process.

Collapsing Global Bigness and Smallness into the Social Within globalization studies, the turn to materiality’s emphasis on enactments and practices highlights the ‘smallness’ of globalizing processes. According to Marcus, the global is simply something that is collapsed into related local situations, rather than something monolithic or external to them (Marcus, 1995: 102). Because of the multisited ethnography’s cross-cutting of macro and micro, the field seems to unfold in a more horizontal fashion (Gornitzka, 2010) and this also applies when studying international, globalized education reforms such as the Bologna Process.

28

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

In recent years, the concept of globalization has been subject to an imperceptible yet comprehensive naturalization, which means it is often appealed to as a universal explanation for whatever occurs within the realms of politics, economics or culture.4 In this sense, it has become a kind of container metaphor and the subject of intense debate (Held & McGrew, 2007; Scholte, 2005, 2008). Some may argue that globalization indicates a homogenization or cultural hybridization that yields a global identity, while others may present globalization as a pathway to continuous cultural renewal and diversity. In any case, actors from the entire political spectrum have appropriated the concept. In particular, globalization has been connected to neoliberal ideology that relates it to the transition from state to market and from labor market to financial market, which includes the transition of education to a market commodity. Within this frame of reference, globalization becomes a necessary myth by which politicians and governments can discipline the citizens to meet their demands on the global market. (Carnoy, 2000; Guillén, 2001; Held, 2002; Hirst & Thompson, 2000; Scholte, 2005, 2008; Stromquist & Monkman, 2000). The English term ‘globalization’ was first used in 1960 to denote something as ‘world-wide’ (Guillén, 2001: 238). However, the term ‘globalization’ now seems to indicate a transformation of the human way of organizing the world; a transformation of political, economic and cultural structures, practices and social relations. This transformation connects geographically distant societies and expands supra-territorial connections of political and judicial power and social relations across the world’s societies and continents (Held, 2002; Robertson & Dale, 2008; Robertson et  al., 2012; Scholte, 2005, 2008). Globalization has been named “the colossal sublime” by Derrida, a kind of ‘postmodern sublime,’ a phenomenon of transcending dimensions, which breaks with all that is previous and which equals only itself (Derrida, 1987: 135; 2003; Li, 2000: 1). Derrida addresses the phenomenon’s conceptual, discursive and rhetorical character; the concept’s ambition to become a ‘Master word’ that denotes the overwhelming processes that frame our contemporary world (Li, 2000: 9). Derrida engages critically with this totalizing and universalistic claim. He also critiques the tendency towards autofinality and inevitability that seems to cancel historicity and creates the impression that the rhetoric is a “selective, performative discourse that finds what it seeks and believes what it creates” (Li, 2000: 10, 34). In essence, this is a critique of what the researchers on the globalization of higher education, Roger Dale and Susan Robertson, also describe as the tendency to see categories as natural and fixed. Dale and Robertson argue that these meta assumptions have led to certain tendencies; for example, ‘spatial fetishism,’ which is the tendency to reify and naturalize processes such as globalization (as in ‘globalization does’) and thereby lock ourselves into atemporal and ahistorical analyses (Robertson et al., 2012: 27). This study does not adopt the naturalized and universalistic view of globalization, which often limits the concept to (macro)structural changes in nation states and national economies. 4  Part of these sections on globalization and policy borrowing and lending has previously been published in (Brøgger, 2014): The Ghosts of Higher Education Reform. On the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing In Globalisation, Societies and Education: https://www. tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14767724.2014.901905

Collapsing Global Bigness and Smallness into the Social

29

Instead, this monograph concentrates on globalizing processes in ­relation to the policy-making of international higher education reform, including the organizational processes. However, this is exactly what unsettles the research field. Derrida’s critique touches upon two core methodological issues when studying globalizing processes. Firstly, it highlights an issue that exposes potential scientific disagreements within the philosophy of science: globalization tends to become ‘all encompassing’ when it emerges in its substantiated form (as a noun); it becomes the overwhelming Master word Globalization, which encompasses everything from terror and climate change to educational systems. When used as a master word, globalization tends to be described as an inevitable process without any specific agency attached to it. As pointed out by Rizvi and Lingard, what is often missing in macro narratives is the importance of agency in the interpretation and negotiation of policy processes and in policy effects (Rizvi, 2006: 200–201; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: x). Furthermore, this rhetoric is nurtured by very different philosophical assumptions about ‘world and life’ than those that underpin my project; the assumptions in my research reject a transcendental signifier and center on the performative notion on globalization displayed in its active and verbal forms of globalizing processes. Secondly, Derrida’s critique questions the analytical approach that is usually adopted. ‘Sublime’ is derived from the Latin word sublimis, which means ‘high,’ ‘elevated’ or ‘raised.’ By calling globalization ‘sublime,’ Derrida questions the imagining of globalization as something ‘up-there’ and how this necessitates ‘looking up’ in order to study it (Law, 2003a). In relation to my Bologna research, this ‘urge’ to look up in order to see is part of both a reform- and policy-supporting perspective that works with globalization as a legitimizing reference and possibility and a more critical governmentality perspective. Both approaches seem to deprive globalizing processes of an agency dimension, since they remain captivated by the ‘necessity’ to ‘look up,’ which preconditions an understanding of globalization as an ‘external macro force emanating from above’ and overwhelming local life (Brøgger, 2014; Dale, 2004; Rizvi, 2006; Shore & Wright, 1997, 2011; Staunæs, 2007; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012, 2013). It is continuously asserted that globalization has a tremendous impact on everyday life, and yet, if globalization is viewed as essentially related to macro structural changes and transformations, it is difficult to demonstrate the ways in which this is the case. However, if we loosen globalization from transformations at the level of the nation state and the macro economy, the conceptual language – which is tightly connected to macro analysis – also seems to slip from our grasp. For this reason, a different conceptual language on globalization is required. In order to grasp the agency dimension of globalizing processes, I argue that it is important to relinquish globalization as a geometrical concern of size – the macro – and a geographical concern of domain – the territorial claims. Part of redefining the approach to studying globalizing processes involves the possibility to study detail, so that an analysis can entail these processes as equal parts of, for example, organizational processes. Law argues along similar lines. With his ‘looking down’ approach (inspired by Leibniz and Deleuze), Law seeks to enable the researcher to identify and explore complexity in detail (Law, 2003a: 6). This is a signifcant step,

30

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

since this approach in itself challenges the idea that the concept of globalization is reserved for macro structural changes. However, it does not escape the geometrical concern of size. In recent years, researchers have attempted to shake loose globalization’s evolutionary status as the latest stage of macronarratives (Tsing, 2005: 58). Researchers are currently offering performative alternatives by exploring understandings, conceptualizations and studies of globalization that differ from macro analysis and aim to reconceptualize the field by connecting local enactments with international policy processes. I suggest these are analytical conceptualizations of globalization as either a dimension of social geography  – created, negotiated and contested processes (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010; Scholte, 2008; Shore & Wright, 1997; Tsing, 2000)  – or as specific movements of policy ideas and practices (Carney, 2009; Cuban, 1998; Phillips, 2004; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010; Robertson & Dale, 2008; Robertson et  al., 2012; Rosenau, 2008; Steiner-Khamsi, 2004a, 2012; Waldow, 2012; Whitty, 2012). I also suggest that they are methodological conceptualizations of globalizing processes, policy movements and scale, propelled (mostly) by posthumanist and performativity oriented thinking within the turn to materiality, which seeks to revitalize ontological considerations; for example, Barad’s agential realism, Fenwick and Edwards’ ANT-inspired understandings of policy processes as mobilized by micro-negotiations, Rosenau’s journalistic-inspired methodology that moves from microincidents to more general processes, Reinhold’s policy-­ anthropological ‘studying through’ perspective or Law’s Leibniz and Deleuze-­ inspired subversion of the global to situated ‘smallness’ (Barad, 2007; Fenwick & Edwards, 2011; Law, 2003a; Rosenau, 2008; Shore & Wright, 1997; Wright & Reinhold, 2011). These approaches represent performative clarifications of globalization and education. In various ways, these approaches tend to relinquish the imagining of global as macro and local as micro. Also, as Robertson suggests, they attempt to challenge the exclusive interpretation of the global as scale, primarily connoting size, and widen it with understandings of the global as reach, connoting impact but also topological concerns of connectivity as emphasized below (Robertson et  al., 2012). Macro narratives constrain our analytic imagination. However, disregarding them confronts us with a formidable challenge, since many of the present analytical concepts focus almost exclusively on macro-phenomena (Rosenau, 2008). However, by ceasing to think in terms of territorial and geometrical nesting, it may be possible to move beyond the global as scale and thus leave behind the use of it as context for the local. Questions of size and shape (geometrical concerns) must be supplemented by, and reevaluated in terms of, questions of boundary, connectivity, interiority and exteriority (topological concerns) […] The relationship between the local, the regional, the national, and the global is not a geometrical nesting. Local, regional, national, and global are topological matters, intra-actively produced through one another. (Barad, 2007: 244–246)

If the global is a topological matter, it concerns the where and it concerns connections. This way of understanding globalizing processes collapses the ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’ of globalization and allows a tracing of the creation of the global as part

Exploring Agency in Policy Processes Through ‘Policy Borrowing’

31

of the doings and practices anywhere and everywhere; for example, as part of educational practice. Scholte translates this philosophical ambition to overcome the global as macro and size into a social scientific understanding of the social: Event and developments are not global, or national or local or some other scale, but an intersection of global and other spatial qualities. The global is a dimension of social geography rather than a space in its own right […] We must not turn the global into a ‘thing’ that is separate from regional, national, local and household ‘things’. (Scholte, 2008: 1494)

Considering globalizing processes as a dimension of social geography rather than a territorial domain suggests that the global connections that are made qualitatively change the ‘where’ of social life and the ways in which social intra-acting is organized (Scholte, 2008; Winneche-Nielsen, 2013). As I will explain later, even the development of curricula is entangled with and co-constituted by globalized reform processes that change the processes and organizing of the work. Globalized reform processes alter the ways in which social geography is organized despite or beyond territorial geography through human and non-human agents’ intra-actions (Winneche-Nielsen, 2013). This is precisely what makes it possible to study globalizing reform processes across different sites (as I do in this monograph). Studying these processes is not a question of considering the global to be either an outside structural force or local, situated activity (Flyverbom, 2010). Rather it is a question of how to understand the quality of the changes of the social intra-actions that these processes create. This approach may render it possible to reject the top-down analysis (which displays the big picture but does not continue very deeply into the details of practice) and the bottom-up analysis (which tends to miss the globalized dimensions of local educational practice (also see (Keeling, 2004)) – that is, how international reform such as the Bologna Process changes the social geography and intra-action of educational development). Moving between four sites across a field provides temporary windows onto the enactment of the policy processes in all its multi diversity.

 xploring Agency in Policy Processes Through ‘Policy E Borrowing’ As already mentioned the macro narratives on the Bologna Process do not seem to encompass the importance of agency in the negotiations and translations of reform processes. The policy borrowing and lending approach provides a policy-specific approach to reform studies that includes local enactments in the understanding of the reform as such. Gaining inspiration from and perhaps also expanding on this approach makes it possible to include managers’ and professors’ translations of the reform processes in the understanding of international education reform. In policy, organization and management studies, the turn to materiality is reflected in the investigation of the processual character of policy processes, the local translations, practices and enactments. As in globalization studies, this could

32

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

be referred to as the ‘smallness’ of policy-making and organizational life. Due to my object of research, the Bologna Process, I attach great importance to my positioning in policy studies; however, since my field is nested in the intersection between other disciplines (as already mentioned), I also relate my policy studies approach to organization and management studies. According to Rizvi and Lingard, “globalization cannot be viewed as a generalized phenomenon but rather needs to be seen as a dynamic phenomenon expressed in particular histories and political configurations” (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: x). For Rizvi and Lingard, policy is both product and process. Like other scholars, they reject one-way and linear accounts of policy processes as something that emanates from the setting of political agendas, the production of the policy text and its implementation into practice. Instead, they emphasize the importance of agency in the contested and non-linear relationships that exist between the various negotiation zones in the policy process (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: x; Shore & Wright, 2011). The participating actors are not simply passive receptacles (Ozga, 2000: 7; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: 5, 6). However, this does not mean that the processes are characterized by open democratic spaces in which everybody can freely engage, as Ozga indicates as part of her slightly more normative project to create strong practitioners. Moreover, organizations and agents also seem to change reforms. The globalizing processes of education reform are contested. They are not historically inevitable (processes that people and nations simply have to come to terms with) and neither are they merely a question of a quantitative change to a phenomenon’s scope and magnitude. Instead, they are equally concerned with the qualitative change of social intra-action, including the ways in which agents from all sites (for example, governing bodies but also organizations) co-produce the globalizing processes – how they take part in the phenomenon in question (as we shall see later). As Rizvi and Lingard claim, “Policy is multidimensional and multilayered and occurs at multiple sites” (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: 14), which, to a large extent, corresponds with my understanding of a multisited field; though I would like to add that policy is co-produced by human and non-human agents across sites. Policy borrowing and lending, policy transfer, policy mobility, policy travel, policy movement, policy attraction and policy tourism are all terms that aim to describe the movement of policy ideas and practices, including those concerned with higher education as in the case of the Bologna Process (Brøgger, 2014; Robertson et  al., 2012; Steiner-Khamsi, 2004a, 2012). Policy borrowing, understood not only as a research field but also as a research approach, emerged within the field of comparative education and offers a way to operationalize the tracing of globalizing processes as specific agencies in organizations and among individuals. In other words, it offers a conceptual framework for studying cross-national policy attraction, including the relation between situated events and international dynamics (Carney, 2009: 63; Phillips, 2004). Researchers engaged with travelling reforms center on local policy contexts or contextual reasons for adapting or rejecting the borrowing of international reforms. The policy borrowing approach also aims to transform a normative preoccupation with borrowing within policy studies by analytically exploring the context of ­borrowing and asking questions such as: In which instances do policy makers refer

Exploring Agency in Policy Processes Through ‘Policy Borrowing’

33

to lessons learned?; Whose practices are considered best practices?; Under which conditions is dissemination of a practice likely to occur? Such questions differ from questions such as: What are the best practices to be adopted? and; How can these be disseminated most effectively? (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004b, 2010, 2013). Alongside this, other commentators, such as Robertson et  al. (2012), Marsh and Sharman (2009), and Steiner-Khamsi, highlight the agency dimension of studying policy transfer processes. The policy borrowing approach argues that an investigation of a local policy context is the key to understanding how and why a reform resonates – or does not resonate (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012). In this way, a policy borrowing perspective differs from perspectives that reproduce the understanding of reforms as inevitable and approaching from the ‘outside’ or ‘up-there.’ Steiner-Khamsi writes, “Emphasis on local policy context as the analytical unit for examining policy transfer places greater weight on the agency, process, impact, and timing of policy borrowing” (2012: 5). From a policy borrowing perspective, this also serves as a critique of the neo-institutionalist perception of the discrepancies between international reform and local adaption as a ‘loose coupling’ between policy ambitions and the putting implementation into practice (Steiner-Khamsi, 2013). The policy borrowing approach advises against viewing inconsistencies and contradictions between policy ambitions and local translations as “unpleasant ‘noise’ that is best ignored” (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012: 14). There is undoubtedly no causality or linearity in the implementation of the Bologna Process, and the reform is clearly not unaffected by the road it travels (Gornitzka, Kyvik, & Stensaker, 2005: 53; Shore & Wright, 2011: 20; Veiga & Amaral, 2006: 286). This is precisely the agenda that the policy borrowing approach advocates and attempts to nuance. At the core of this approach is the role of local translations  – or what Schriewer and Martinez call culture-specific diversification of what appears to be standardization at the macro level – and how these local translations co-produce (and perhaps even change and transform) the reform (Schriewer & Martinez, 2004; Steiner-Khamsi, 2002b). The reforms ‘morph’ as they move move (Cowen, 2009; Staunæs et al., 2018). The policy borrowing approach lends explanatory power to local translations and contexts in order to display this ‘morphing’ and how it is crucial to the understanding of reform as such (I will expand on morphing as the definition of translation in the following chapter). Other researchers  – for example, Shore Wright and Reinhold  – share this ambition to display the morphing of a reform as it travels and the role of local translations in this process. Shore and Wright refer to this ambition as the studying of policies “as they develop and as they are enacted in everyday practice,” and this idea is further sharpened with Wright and Reinhold’s concept of ‘studying through,’ which involves following a process of contestations across different sites in a policy field over time (Shore & Wright, 2011: 20; Wright & Reinhold, 2011: 87–88). Keeling, Karseth and Solbrekke also identifies that there is a lack of research on the very enactment of policy processes within educational organizations and thus how reforms are played out in different ways (Karseth & Solbrekke, 2010; Keeling, 2004). In part, this could be due to the somewhat tenacious maintenance of globalized processes belonging exclusively to the macro-structural level (as indicated ­previously, this approach provides no language to capture the shifting ‘reals’ in organizations), but it could also be due to the way in which policy formation is con-

34

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

ceived; often based on the assumption that policy analysis involves studying rational and linear decision-making processes. The multilayered Bologna Process clearly shows that there is much more involved. To paraphrase Cuban and Steiner-­Khamsi, organizations and individual agents change reforms as much as reforms change the organizations (Cuban, 1998; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012, 2013). As part of the analysis in Chaps. 5 and 6, I expand on the policy borrowing approach with a concept of mimicry and mimetic desire. The mimetic desire – the so-called triangular desire – is a figure suggested by René Girard in his early work Deceit, Desire and the Novel from 1961 (Girard, 1966). Mimetic desire is an expansion of the structure of desire to encompass not only subject and object but also a third party: the mediator and initiator of the desire. The subject desires the object only because it is desired by a third party. The third party mediates the desire and is therefore both admired and despised as an ideal of and a barrier to the desired object: the closer the mediator comes, the more bitter the fruits of mimetic desire (Girard, 1966: 42). Desire turns into the mimesis of another’s desire. I argue that the borrowing of a policy also seem to imply a borrowing of a desire. In his novel The Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz presents his famous concept of mimicry as being a question not of changing nature but of changing appearance (Paz, 1985: 43–44). Due to the character of mimesis, the mimetic desire is precisely a borrowed desire helping one to mimic the performance of others – making you ‘keep up’ appearances. The interest for including local enactments and translations within policy studies is also reflected in organization studies and management theory under the label ‘practice turn,’ which includes the ‘strategy as practice’ approach (Brøgger, 2014; Czarniawska, 2007; Jarzabkowski, 2005; Johnson et al., 2003; Nicolini et al., 2003; Regnér, 2008; Schatzki et al., 2001; Whittington, 2006). The turn towards practices places greater emphasis on how practices are constitutive of an organization and less emphasis on for example the wording of documents. The practice turn positions itself in the same realization as the dynamic approaches to policy studies outlined above; namely, that there are likely to be severe inconsistencies and mismatches between policy and strategy ambition and the ways in which these are practiced. Reading and analyzing a written strategy is not necessarily indicative of what is being practiced as part of everyday working life within an organization. A strategy is not something an organization has; rather, it is something people do (or do not do). The focus on practices offers a way to overcome the macro-micro dichotomy and transforms ‘reality’ into a question of ‘situated activity over time’ (Jarzabkowski, 2005: 24; Whittington, 2006). However, the focus on doings often identifies micro perspectives as the key to opening up the processual character of organizational practices, particularly since they appear to have been overlooked by policy studies as well as organizational and management studies (Johnson et al., 2003; Regnér, 2008). By referring to philosophers such as Heidegger, it is argued that these approaches emphasize the processual and performative character of the organizations  – and ultimately the world  – by introducing a vocabulary of verbs such as knowing, translating, organizing, and understanding (Nicolini et al., 2003: 9, 21). These efforts refer back to Weick’s emphasis on ‘organizing’ and enactment within organizational studies (Czarniawska, 2005; Jarzabkowski, 2005; Weick, 1979).

Exploring Agency in Policy Processes Through ‘Policy Borrowing’

35

Inspired by Heidegger, Derrida also injects nouns with movement and temporality and allows them to become verbs. He does this in order to indicate that everything is historic and processual. By accentuating the inspiration from major theorists of the turn to materiality, such as Barad, Mol, Butler and Latour (see previous sections), I would like to argue that, in order to access this kind of data, the methodological and analytical approach needs to center on practices, doings, and enactments in a way that recognizes the post-human or socio-material character of the practices; that material and human agency constitute one another (Nicolini et al., 2003: 12; Orlikowski, 2007: 1435–1438; Pickering, 2001: 163–164; Schatzki, 2006: 1865). In line with the policy borrowing approach within policy studies, these approaches renounce the idea of rational, top-down implementations in favor of the processual and emerging character of policy and strategy processes. This involves allowing everyday practices to question the naturalized ideas of policies and reforms when they appear as successfully implemented on the surface or in written documents. Due to the current prevalence of pervasive international reforms, it is becoming increasingly necessary to explore international higher education  – such as the Bologna Process – not just as macro phenomena but also as phenomena that include the agencies of professors and managers in higher education organizations (Robertson et al., 2012; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012). Although I draw on the policy borrowing approach, I refrain from using the central Luhmann-inspired concept of ‘externalization’ introduced by Schriewer. The concept of externalization seems suited to exploring in which instances policy makers refer to international lessons learned at the rhetorical and discursive level. These are important investigations – particularly since studies show that these references tend to occur in instances in which educational policies are contested within the domestic and national arena and thus serve as a way of legitimizing policies and strategies (Steiner-Khamsi, 2002a) – but they do not correspond to my research ambition. However, although my aim differs from this interest in the strategic use of global and international references, I still share the ambition to challenge naturalized versions of ‘international standards’ as well as the ambition to include local translations in the understanding of the reform. I believe my approach adds to the policy borrowing approach in two ways. Firstly, it challenges the naturalization of international standards by tracing how two educational standards are enacted and come into being as hegemonic standards and, secondly, it helps to clarify local translation processes by exploring radical instances of translation in which standards are completely circumvented through the enactment of camouflage practices. These additions contribute to the understanding of how standards spread and are enacted and how the proliferation of new standards as part of a new mode of governance within higher education gives rise to evasive camouflage practices among professors as well as managers. Furthermore, I argue that my identification of the policy ontology and the material-affective infrastructure results in an analytical approach with generic qualities. The identification of the ontology and its infrastructure may be applied in the analysis of any current reform. The approach is designed to identify the specificities of a reform; how it works, through which mechanisms it works (in my case, I describe these characteristics as the transition from government to governance),

36

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

and how the implementation process is powered and driven – the follow-up structures that scaffold the reform (in my case, I identify this as a material-affective infrastructure through which the new educational standards are efficiently spread throughout 48 countries). The policy ontology and its infrastructure are of course likely to vary depending on the specificities of the reform process in question.

From Diffusion to Translation Studying the Bologna Process does not leave any impression of linear adaptation processes in which education standards are copied ‘as they are,’ unaffected by social influences and leading to calculated changes of practice. Therefore, and particularly in order to grasp the complex actions and negotiations among professors and managers as part of the reform, I introduce the concept of translation. Rather than implementation, the concept of translation seems to be a key to understanding and discussing the Bologna Process, including national reforms shaped in accordance with the Bologna principles (Gornitzka, 2007; Juelskjær, Knudsen, Pors, & Staunæs, 2011). The notion of translation focuses on how new education standards cannot be conceptualized as ‘self-contained entities’ but rather as something that is actively mobilized and transform (I will elaborate on this in this chapter and Chap. 4) (Czarniawska & Joerges, 1996; Czarniawska & Sevón, 1996a; Mennicken, 2008: 389; Sahlin-Andersson & Engwall, 2002). The spreading of ideas is often described by the metaphor of diffusion. Diffusion is a transport phenomenon and is defined within the laws of physics; it refers to the transport of particles from areas of high concentration to areas of less concentration. To invoke a more social scientific terminology, one could say that diffusion indicates a kind of mass transport from the center to the periphery (Brunsson, 2000; Czarniawska & Joerges, 1996; Czarniawska & Sevón, 1996a). The diffusion model does not indicate any change in what is being diffused. However, when studying policy ideas and, in this case, policy ideas formulated and designed as educational standards, it is necessary to find a language that can capture the transformative dimension of diffusion; that what is diffused does not stay the same. This is one of the reasons why social scientists  – including organization researchers and policy researchers ‘of the practice turn’ – prefer the concept of translation to that of diffusion (Czarniawska & Sevón, 1996b; Sahlin-Andersson & Engwall, 2002; Steiner-­ Khamsi, 2002b, 2012). Centering on translation shifts the attention to the ongoing processes of ‘spreading’ – to the transport itself and how ideas become powerful as they spread (as opposed to spreading because they are powerful). This turns the practices of the actors who transport the ideas into interesting objects of study, and it facilitates an exploration of the ways in which something morphs as it moves and thus how both the translators and that which is translated are agents (Cowen, 2009: 315; Sahlin-Andersson & Engwall, 2002: 20). The concept of translation has been explored by several philosophers, perhaps most notably by Derrida and Latour. Even in his early work, Derrida addresses

From Diffusion to Translation

37

both the challenges and the potentials of the notion of translation. In an interview by Kristeva published in Positions in 1972 (English translation in 1981), Derrida suggests that “translation practices the difference between signified and signifier” (Derrida, 1982: 20). For Derrida, translation is transformation, and it has never been connected to “the transport of pure signifieds” (Derrida, 1982: 20). Inspired by Benjamin, Derrida continues to develop his thoughts on translation in his 1982 work Oreille de L’autre (English translation in 1986; The Ear of the Other). Derrida continues to return to the subject of translation in subsequent works; for example, Des Tours de Babel from 1985 and the article What Is a “Relevant” Translation from 2001. Derrida stresses that translation is not about reproducing, representing or copying the original; neither is it about reception, information or communicating a message or the meaning of the original. Rather, translation is about augmenting and modifying the original in a continual process of transformation. This process alters the original as well as the translation itself. As such, translation is transmutation; the transformation of something into something else (Derrida, 1985: 122; Juelskjær et al., 2011). What is incredibly appealing about Derrida’s philosophical elaboration of translation is the way he manages to capture both epistemological and ontological dimensions of the process. Translation is a transformative practice connected to the experience of experimentation (Derrida, 2001: 175). So it is a transformative practice that experiments in its way of practicing. Derrida also connects the tower of Babel with the conditions of translation. He argues that the tower of Babel does not merely figure “the multiplicity of tongues; it exhibits an incompletion, the impossibility of finishing, of totalizing, of saturating, of completing something on the order of edification, architectural construction, system and architectonics” (Derrida, 1992b: 218). Here, Derrida ‘injects’ translation with the fuel propelling deconstruction; namely, that the process will always remain unfinished and its (ontological) manifestations will remain incomplete, incapable of halting the constant flow of signifiers and, therefore, incapable of freezing a specific signified. During the 1990s, organizational researchers appear to selectively adopt parts of Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (ANT). In particular, they seem to appeal to his notion of translation published in John Laws anthology Power, Action and Belief in 1986. In his article The Powers of Association, Latour aims to distinguish the translation model from the diffusion model. The fact that Latour addresses diffusion as the commonly used metaphor for the spread of ideas within the social sciences probably makes his contribution recognizable for many social scientific researchers, including organizational researchers. Like Derrida, Latour emphasizes that what is translated is also changed and transformed; however, he does so without referring to Derrida, who, many years earlier, initiated the ‘transformative’ understanding of translation that Latour now echoes. In a sense, this presents Latour as an actor with no network. However, what Latour contributes is the underlining of the role of specific actors. In some ways, this dimension is already part of Derrida’s conceptualization given the impact of the deconstructive project as such (namely, that it is always a question of ‘passing on’ what you translate); however, Latour sheds more light on this dimension and he ‘translates’ from a

38

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

philosophical language into a social scientific language, which makes actors (for instance, in organizations) stand out more clearly. Latour claims that what is translated is always in the hands of actors who may modify, betray or add to it in various ways (Latour, 1986: 267). Latour also seems to strengthen the ontological impact of the translation processes by enhancing the performativity of the processes; that the actors who translate actively shape what is being translated, which, in turn, exposes what is being translated to continuous transformation (Latour, 1986: 268). Following Latour’s performative logic, standards are created through the translating processes themselves. They do not pre-exist these processes. However, I do not take the more programmatic notion of translation (typically associated with ANT and following for instance Callon’s outlining of four different phases of translation (Callon, 1986)) as my point of departure. Instead, my aim is to get close to the empirical material and not to apply a new theoretical ‘program.’ Furthermore, I do not intend to prioritize the construction of common definitions and meanings that are also connoted by the ANT concept of translation. My empirical material suggests that various ontologies are at play simultaneously. To summarize, the notion of translation that permeates my understanding of the ways in which the education standards are negotiated includes epistemological as well as ontological dimensions. It is inspired by Derrida’s philosophical elaboration of the concept throughout his work and also – though to a lesser extent – by Latour’s strengthening of the ontological dimension through his insistence on the performative aspect of the translation processes. However, despite this, my notion of translation does not embrace the role of translation in Latour’s ANT project in general. My transformative understanding of translation claims that translation processes are characterized by the impossibility of finishing and that their ontological manifestation – such as material work practices – are incomplete in the sense that they are part of a never-ending process of transformation and displacement. As part of this process, both what is translated and the translator are transformed; what is translated can be ‘read’ or grasped in different ways and new connections can be made through the experimenting process of translating. The educational standards that constitute the object of study here do not exist prior to the translation processes – they are continuously produced from the moment the translation processes are set in motion. Ideas are not goods, but they are still passed on between actors who shape and reshape them, who imitate, ignore or alter part of them; overlapping processes whereby the ideas but also the adopters are shaped and transformed (Czarniawska & Sevón, 1996b; Sahlin-Andersson & Engwall, 2002). Furthermore, in recent years, there has been a tremendous acceleration in the scale and reach of translations of ideas, since this spread is powered by globalizing processes such as technology and extensive standardizations of everything from computer data to education. However, the ideas that are passed on and studied in this monograph are different from the ideas that Sahlin-Andersson and Czarniawska address; for instance, management knowledge and fashion. The ideas in this monograph are formulated and embedded in education reform, packaged and executed through the implementation in national

Methods and Knowledge Production

39

laws and regulations as specific educational standards. This is precisely why the surrounding infrastructures of the standards (which I will present in Chap. 6) prove to be of vital importance; they are part of the standards’ characteristics.

Methods and Knowledge Production In my view, the notion ‘section zero’ (denoting the casual conversations that never appeared on the official meeting agendas) is tightly connected to the use of ethnographic method, as already mentioned in a previous section. Or, to be more precise, it is connected to ethnography as a way of looking, of knowing – in many ways, a kind of epistemology (Green, Skukauskaite, & Baker, 2012). Method is about the selected techniques for data collection. However, employing an ethnographic approach represents much more than this (for choice of field and case sites, see previous sections on multisited ethnography); it is a way of exploring, a gaze, and a certain working mode in which I allow myself to let the field open up as I progress. The constitution of my knowledge production significantly differs from the ‘what works’ approach that seems to have colonized much educational research conducted over the last 20 years (Bridges, Smeyers, & Smith, 2009; Lather & St. Pierre, 2014). This neo-positivist approach has been closely connected to the regime of the so-called evidence-based education policy representing and promoting an increase in interventionist regulatory practices at government level in many countries (Bridges et al., 2009; Lather, 2004). It has been argued that, despite its supposed status as the antithesis of dogmatic ideology-driven policy-making, the evidence-based paradigm is not politically neutral. It has been criticized for disavowing decades of critique and endeavors to reveal science as a historical phenomenon  – a historical, cultural practice  – and for promoting a claim on a specific understanding of rationality and universality on behalf of science (Lather, 2004; Steiner-Khamsi, 2013). This paradigmatic move is characterized by a descriptive approach through evidence-based policy planning and a prescriptive approach through standardized comparisons aimed to extract best practices. The criticism that evidence-based policy planning is not politically neutral is based on the analysis that political action has been operating under the guise of scientific rationality (Steiner-Khamsi, 2013: 21). The evidence-based paradigm produces an extensive ‘borrowing and lending’ of policy reforms between countries and institutions and, since this approach promotes a certain alignment of the education sector, it also promotes a logic in which local problems must be (redefined so that they can be) solved by global solutions (Steiner-Khamsi, 2013). Of course, this tends to mask the negotiations, contestations and perhaps even counter-performings of globalized reform that lie at the heart of this monograph. The negotiation on scientific positioning already begins with a researcher’s choice of philosophy of science, methods, literature and how to search for literature. In the following paragraphs, I attempt to

40

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

invite the reader into my considerations regarding my choice of methods and the character of the knowledge that I produce; how I crafted certain kinds of knowledge into existence by translating ethnographic data into philosophy and vice versa. As already mentioned, as part of my ethnographically inspired approach, I select certain qualitative research techniques through which I seek to collect my data. The research project ran from 2010 to 2015. Out of respect for the participants – and to protect the working lives of everybody who offered their insights into the dynamics of ‘living’ through a reform process within higher education – all of the empirical data has been anonymized. In the following paragraphs, I will elaborate on the process and state the reasons for my choices. I selected my methods to allow me to learn from others. My observations, logbooks and interviews (which I will describe later in this chapter, along with my use of documents) are all methods designed to nurture this opportunity. They are also methods designed to focus on sophisticated micro dynamics and patterns of behavior. Of course, my methods contribute to shaping what I can see (Bramming, 2012; Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995), and they are performative in terms of being co-­ constitutive of what kind of data can be created (Lather, 2007; Law, 2004). In this sense, methods and findings are closely related. In my view, theory – or, perhaps more precisely, philosophy – is also always already inherent in the notion of data (Emerson et al., 1995: 167). I do not believe any of my methods provide discourse-­ free zones stripped of negotiation and contestation. This also corresponds with Barad’s understanding of phenomena; that the researcher and the ‘agencies of measurement’ are part of the phenomenon. For this reason, I appreciate that the data I create with participants cannot provide access to an external organizational reality (Svensson, 2009: 171). Rather social practices enact a multiplicity of ‘reals’ (which I will return to later in Chap. 6). In continuation of this, I regard observations, logbooks, and interviews as situations in which (re)creations of organizational ‘reals’ can occur and be triggered (Svensson, 2009: 173). I do not regard them as re-­ presentational events but as performative events. As such, the selected methods offer access to the performative and constituting processes and practices of the field rather than (imagined) accurate descriptions of ‘a shared’ reality. They do not state reality but instead reflect and enact realities (Staunæs & Søndergaard, 2005). As part of my fieldwork, I observed meetings about the revision of the Bachelor degree programs as a result of the educational reform. These meetings included participants from mid-level management, professors and students. I also attended meetings about the development of specific education modules within the degree program. These meetings included professors only. I also attended classroom lessons – though to a much lesser extent – which included professors and students. Finally, I attended several top-management meetings. My participation in all these meetings can be most accurately described as participant observation (Angrosino, 2012). However, I did not attend the meetings as if I were ‘one of them.’ I was allowed access to the meetings and thus to be part of the everyday working processes; but I was present in a research capacity, and everybody present acknowledged my aim to learn more about their working life experiences regarding the ongoing reform processes.

Methods and Knowledge Production

41

My study also makes reference to email-based logbooks that were mostly completed by professors. I designed an email-based logbook called Moorage 117, and I encouraged the professors to participate by sending them an introductory text in which I presented Moorage 117 as a place to unload thoughts; a breathing space and personal sphere in which to reflect on various issues, such as everyday work and the organizational processes surrounding the implementation of the new curriculum and study plans. I urged the professors to write whatever they wished – whatever they found important or experienced as frustrating, easy or well functioning. Every Friday, I sent an email reminder and I would encourage them to simply hit the reply bottom and share their thoughts on the ongoing processes. I found the logbooks to be a productive method of gathering information about experiences of everyday working life, and I later used the material from both the logbooks and the observations to prepare interview guidelines for 31 semi-structured, qualitative interviews (Kvale, 1997). I selected my interviewees throughout the research process; as my research progressed, I slowly realized what I needed to know more about, who might know it and who might be able to connect me with people (Campbell & Gregor, 2004: 77). The interviewees were professors, top-level managers and mid-­ level managers. Since my interviews were informed by my observations and material from the logbooks, I devoted quite some time to designing my interview guides so that the interviews would provide me with the information I was seeking. At no point did I regard myself as a ‘modest witness,’ but rather as a researcher creating the findings together with the interviewees; I viewed the interview as a social situation in which we co-created and enacted a piece of realit(ies) (Haraway, 1997; Staunæs & Søndergaard, 2005). I always began by asking the interviewees to situate themselves within their working field; for example, to describe their job and their career paths and to say how long they had worked in their current position. When I interviewed the professors, I then asked questions aimed directly at the ongoing curricula reforms. These questions focused on some of the curriculum changes and asked them to explain these changes in various ways. I then asked them to elaborate on the consequences of these changes and how they made it possible – or impossible – to ‘think’ education. After this, I gradually moved to questions regarding the organizational processes surrounding the implementation process at their home institution. I asked what kind of changes the curricula reform had brought about and in which ways, if any, it had brought about changes in the relations and positionings among professors and between professors and managers. I then progressed to ask questions about possible connections between current curricula reforms and the Bologna Process and the relation between the Bologna Process and globalizing processes within higher education as such. By asking these questions I did not require the professors to assess the degree to which the current reforms were part of the Bologna Process. I already had this information. Instead, I wished to establish whether or not the professors had a sense of the international character of the reform processes or whether they simply regarded the reforms as local or national phenomena. As the interviews progressed and I began to analyze part of the material, I acquired a sense of the importance of the agency of what was ‘absent’; I therefore

42

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

started to introduce questions concerning the ‘archeological layers of the organization.’ These questions were usually the final questions I asked. I arranged the questions in a sequence that not only directed the interviewees towards my own research interests (the Bologna Process) but, first and foremost, allowed me to gain access to their experience of the ongoing reform processes and the organizational processes that were interlinked with these; in other words, their everyday working life experiences (Chase, 1995). Interviews with mid-level managers followed the same guide, although I expanded the section on the curricula with questions that also addressed changes at the institutional and sectorial levels. I also used the same guide for interviews with top-level managers, but, again, I adjusted the section on the curricula to include changes at the institutional and sectorial levels. My decision to perform semi-structured interviews – and thus work with an interview guide – proved useful, since I was able to track themes and assess the saturation of my data in terms of recognizable patterns and iteration. The saturation of my data was also strengthened by interviewing people in different positionings within the field; in other words, professors, mid-level managers, and top-level managers. When I performed my interviews, I endeavored to create space for this multi-­ voicedness (Staunæs & Søndergaard, 2005) and I selected examples from observations, interviews and logbooks in order to display what struck me as the two most significant tensions that I encountered in my fieldwork: 1. the slippage between a standard and its realization displayed through the professors’ radical translations of the new education standards, and 2. the degree to which the top-level managers and the professors did not share educational and organizational ‘reals.’ Alongside my formal interviews, I also engaged in numerous informal conversations with professionals in the field. In this way, part of my field-work was simply ‘talking to people,’ since it comprised not only formal interviews and observations but also unofficial chats (Campbell & Gregor, 2004: 77). These unofficial chats avoided the risk of an interviewee simply repeating her/his ‘official’ opinion dictated by her/his professional role within the organization (Svensson, 2009). I further combined the diverse qualitative techniques of observations, logbooks and interviews with document analysis of international steering documents related to the EU and the Bologna Process and existing research on the establishment of the Bologna Process as part of an EU agenda. I also studied follow-up reports in relation to the Bologna Process, official websites, and existing research on the governing tools of the Bologna Process. This part of the study was occasionally complex, since the archiving of these documents was sometimes inconsistent and difficult to decipher (for further details in relation to the specific case sites, see the chapter on multisited ethnography). In addition, I also studied national steering documents related to the governmental and institutional level. Considering my non-­ representational approach, I do not use the documents as documentation of an objective and already completed historic past. In this way, I remain faithful to the turn to materiality, including the critique of knowledge as representation and thus universalist pretensions in documentation (Day, 2001: 730; Riles, 2006: 6). The document is the archetype of the representationalist claim. It claims transparency. When ‘document’ transforms from noun to verb – as it did during the 1930s (Riles, 2006: 5) – this claim intensifies, since the verb pretends to account for the ongoing

References

43

fixation of present actions by turning them into a transparent, closured and accessible past. However, as Riles underlines, documents are artifacts of modern knowledge practices (Riles, 2006: 7). And it is in this sense  – as artifacts  – that I use documents. Documents serve as artifacts through which I can conduct my investigative ethnographic work. They are non-human agents with agency that produce performative effects (as I shall present later as part of the ethnographic research on the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process). The object of my ethnography is never the documents themselves and what they claim to represent; rather it is an investigation into how standards become a major part of the governing of higher education (this ethnographic research proves to be an exploration of the policy ontology of the governing mode of the Bologna Process) and an investigation into how two educational standards gain a hegemonic status within the Bologna Process (this ethnographic research proves to be an exploration of the infrastructure of the policy ontology which I ultimately trace through the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process). Some of the documents I investigate have enjoyed impressive careers (Harper, 1998; Riles, 2006); for example, the Bologna stocktaking reports that managed to produce major (competitive) effects (and affects) through their multicolored scorecards. The chapters dealing with these documents, in particular in Chaps. 3, 4 and 5, should be carefully read with the object of the ethnographic studies in mind; for example, readers should not forget themselves in realist ideas of the documents’ timelines. What matters here is the ethnographic tracking through the artifacts and what this can reveal in terms of shifts in the mode of governance and performative follow-up mechanisms that set this governance in motion.

References Ahmed, S. (2010). Orientations matter. In D. Coole & S. Frost (Eds.), New materialisms. Ontology, agency, and politics. Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press. Alaimo, S., & Hekman, S. (2008). Introduction: Emerging models of materiality in feminist theory. In S.  Alaimo & S.  Hekman (Eds.), Material feminisms. Bloomington/Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Angrosino, M.  V. (2012). Observation-based research. In J.  Arthur, M.  Waring, R.  Coe, & L. Hedges (Eds.), Research methods and methodologies in education. Los Angeles: Sage. Ash, M. G. (2008). From Humboldt to Bologna: History as discourse in higher education reform debates in German speaking Europe. In B. Jessop, N. Fairclough, & R. Wodak (Eds.), Education and the knowledge-based economy in Europe (pp. 41–62). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. Barad, K. (1996). Meeting the universe halfway: Realism and social constructivism without contradiction. In L. H. Nelson & J. Nelson (Eds.), Feminism, science, and the philosophy of science (Vol. 256). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Barad, K. (2001). Re(con)figuring space, time, and matter. In M. DeKoven (Ed.), Feminist locations. Global and local, theory and practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

44

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

Barad, K. (2010). Quantum entanglements and Hauntological relations of inheritance dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and justice-to-come. Derrida Today, 3(2), 240–268. Braidotti, R. (2013). The posthuman. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press. Bramming, P. (2012). (Im)perfect pictures: The performative non-representationalism of snaplogs. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 7(1), 54–71. Brenneis, D. (2004). A partial view of contemporary anthropology. American Anthropologist, 106(3), 580–588. Bridges, D., Smeyers, P., & Smith, R. (2009). Evidence-based education policy. What evidence? What basis? Whose policy. Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Brøgger, K. (2013). Akademisk samlebåndsballade. Lidt om de organisatoriske effekter af uddannelsesstandardisering. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift (Danish Journal of Education), 2, 27–37. Brøgger, K. (2014). The ghosts of higher education reform. On the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12(4), 520–541. Brøgger, K. (2018). The performative power of (non)human agency assemblages of soft governance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(5), 353–366. Brunsson, N. (2000). Standardization and uniformity. In N. Brunsson & B. Jacobsson (Eds.), A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter. On the discursive limits of sex. New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1999). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity (10th anniversary ed.). New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (2010). Performative agency. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2), 147–161. Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation; domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief. A new sociology of knowledge? (Vol. 32). London: Routledge/Kegan Paul. Callon, M. (2010). Performativity, misfires and politics. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2), 163–169. Campbell, M., & Gregor, F. (2004). Mapping social relations. A primer in doing institutional ethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Carney, S. (2009). Negotiating policy in an age of globalization: Exploring educational “Policyscapes” in Denmark, Nepal, and China. Comparative Education Review, 53(1), 63–88. Carnoy, M. (2000). Globalization and educational reform. In N.  Stromquist & K.  Monkman (Eds.), Globalization and education. Integration adn contestation across cultures. Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Chase, S. E. (1995). Taking narrative seriously. Consequences for method and theory in interview studies. In R. Josselson & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Interpreting experience. The narrative study of lives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cheah, P. (2010). Non-dialectical materialism. In D. Coole & S. Frost (Eds.), New materialisms. Ontology, agency, and politics. Durham, NC/London: Duke University press. Clough, P. (2008). The affective turn: Political economy, biomedia and bodies. Theory Culture Society, 25(1), 1–23. Clough, P., & Halley, J. (2007). The affective turn. Theorizing the Social. Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press. Coole, D., & Frost, S. (2010). Introducing the new materialisms. In D. Coole & S. Frost (Eds.), New materialisms. Ontology, agency, and politics. Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press. Cowen, R. (2009). The transfer, translation and transformation of educational processes: And their shape-shifting? Comparative Education, 45(3), 315–327. Cuban, L. (1998). How schools change reforms: Redefining reform succes and failure. Teachers College Record, 99(3), 453–477. Czarniawska, B. (2005). Karl Weick: Concepts, style and reflection. In C. Jones & R. Munro (Eds.), Contemporary organization theory (Vol. 53, pp. 267–278). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Czarniawska, B. (2007). Shadowing and other techniques for doing fieldwork in modern societies. Malmö, Sweden: Liber, Copenhagen Business School Press, Universitetsforlaget.

References

45

Czarniawska, B., & Joerges, B. (1996). Travels of ideas. In B. Czarniawska & G. Sevón (Eds.), Translating organizational change. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. Czarniawska, B., & Sevón, G. (1996a). Introduction. In B.  Czarniawska & G.  Sevón (Eds.), Translating orgnizational change. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. Czarniawska, B., & Sevón, G. (1996b). Translating organizational change. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. Dale, R. (2004). Forms of governance, governmentality and the EU’s open method of coordination. In W.  Larner & W.  Walters (Eds.), Global governmentality (pp.  174–194). New  York: Routledge. Dale, R. (2009). Contexts, constraints and resources in the development of European Educaion space and European education policy. In R.  Dale & S.  Robertson (Eds.), Globalisation and Europeanisation in education. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Day, R. (2001). Totality and representation: A history of knowledge management through European documentation, critical modernity, and post-Fordism. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(9), 725–735. Deleuze, G. (1997). Bergsonism (4. printing ed.). New York: Zone books. Derrida, J. (1967a). L’écriture et la différence. Paris: Èditions du Seuil. Derrida, J. (1967b). La voix et le phénomène. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France (collection “Épiméthée”). Derrida, J. (1972). Marges de la Philosophie. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. Derrida, J. (1982). Positions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Derrida, J. (1985). The ear of the other. New York: Schocken Books. Derrida, J. (1987). The truth in painting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Derrida, J. (1992a). Of grammatology (11. printing ed.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. Derrida, J. (1992b). Des Tours de Babel. In R. Schulte & J. Biguenet (Eds.), Theories of translation: An anthology of essays from Dryden to Derrida. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Derrida, J.  (1994). Specters of Marx. The state of the debt, the work of mourning and the new international. New York: Routledge. Derrida, J. (2001). What is a “relevant” translation? Critical Inquiry, 27(2), 174–200. Derrida, J. (2002). Differance. Frederiksberg, Denmark: Det Lille Forlag. Derrida, J. (2003). The “world” of the enlightenment to come (exception, calculation, sovereignty). Research in Phenomenology, 33, 9–52. Derrida, J. (1972 [2013]). Outwork. In Dissemination. London/New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Dolphijn, R., & van der Tuin, I. (2012). New materialism: Interviews & cartographies. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press/Michigan Publishing. Dunn, E.  C. (2009). Standards without infrastructure. In M.  Lampland & S.  L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Emerson, R.  M., Fretz, R.  I., & Shaw, L.  L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Chicago/ London: The University of Chicago Press. Fejes, A. (2006a). The Bologna Proces – governing higher education in Europe through standardization. Revista Española de Educación Comparada, 12, 203–231. Fejes, A. (2006b). Constructing the adult learner – a governmentality analysis. Lindköpings Studies in Education and Psychology, 106, 5–86 Lindköping Universitet Educational Sciences. Fejes, A. (2008). Standardising Europe: The Bologna Process and new modes of governing. Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 25–49. Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2011). Considering materiality in educational policy: Messy objects and multiple reals. Educational Theory, 61(6), 709–726. Flyverbom, M. (2010). Globalization as it happens – Globalized assemblages on wealth management. Paper presented at the EGOS, Lissabon. Girard, R. (1966). Deceit, desire and the novel – Self and other in literary structure. London: The John Hopkins University Press.

46

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

Gornitzka, Å. (2006). What is the use of Bologna in national reform? The case of the Norwegian quality reform in higher education. In V. Tomusk (Ed.), Creating the European area of higher education: Voices from peripheries (Vol. 12, pp. 19–41). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Gornitzka, Å. (2007). What is the use of Bologna in national reform? In V. Tomusk (Ed.), Creating the European area of higher education: Voices from the periphery. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Gornitzka, Å. (2010). Bologna in context: A horizontal perspective on the dynamics of governance sites for a Europe of knowledge. European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 534–548. Gornitzka, Å., Kyvik, S., & Stensaker, B. (2005). Implementation analysis in higher education. In Å. Gornitzka, M. Kogan, & A. Amaral (Eds.), Reform and change in higher education (Vol. 8). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Green, J. L., Skukauskaite, A., & Baker, W. D. (2012). Ethnography as epistemology. In J. Arthur, M. Waring, R. Coe, & L. Hedges (Eds.), Research methods and methodologies in education. Los Angeles: Sage. Guillén, M.  F. (2001). Is globalization civilizing, destructive or feeble? A critique of five key debates in the social literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 235–260. Haraway, D. (1988). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599. Haraway, D. (1991). Simians, cyborgs and women: The reinvention of nature. New York: Routledge. Haraway, D. (1992). The promises of monsters: A regenerative politics for inappropiate/d others. In L. Grossberg, C. Nelson, & P. Treichler (Eds.), Cultural studies. New York/London: Routledge. Haraway, D. (1997). ModestW̲ [email protected]̲ illennium.FemaleManM̲ eetsO̲ ncoMouse: Feminism and technoscience. New York: Routledge. Harper, R. (1998). Inside the IMF: An ethnography of documents, technology, and organizational action. San Diego, CA: Academic. Heidegger, M. (1927 [2001]). Sein und Zeit. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer. Hekman, S. (2008). Constructing the ballast: An ontology for feminism. In S. Alaimo & S. Hekman (Eds.), Material feminisms. Bloomington/Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Hekman, S. (2010). The Material of Knowledge. Feminist disclosures. Bloomington/Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Held, D. (2002). Globalization/Anti-globalization. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press. Held, D., & McGrew, A.  G. (2007). Globalization theory: Approaches and controversies. Cambridge, MA: Polity. Henckel, O., & Wright, S. (2008). The Bologna Process: A voluntary method of coordination and marketisation? (Henckel interviewed by Wright). Teaching and Learning, 1(2), 1–24. Hirst, P., & Thompson, G. (2000). Globalization – a necessary myth? In D. Held & A. McGrew (Eds.), The global Tranformations reader. An introduction to the globalization debate. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press. Huisman, J. (2009). Coming to terms with governance in higher education. In J. Huisman (Ed.), International perspectives on the governance of higher education. Alternative frameworks for coordination (pp. 1–9). New York: Routledge. Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research. In Viewing data across multiple perspectives. London/New York: Routledge. Jarzabkowski, P. (2005). Strategy as practice. An activity based approach. London: Sage. Johnson, G., Melin, L., & Whittington, R. (2003). Micro strategy and strategizing: Towards an activity-based view. Journal of Management Studies, 40(1), 3–22. Juelskjær, M. (2013). Gendered subjectivities of spacetimematter. Gender and Education, 25(6), 754–768. Juelskjær, M., Knudsen, H., Pors, J. G., & Staunæs, D. (2011). Ledelse af uddannelse: at lede det potentielle. Frederiksberg, Denmark: Samfundslitteratur. Juelskjær, M., & Schwennesen, N. (2012). Intra-active entanglements: An interview with Karen barad. Kvinder, Koen og Forskning, 21(1–2), 10–23.

References

47

Karseth, B., & Solbrekke, T. D. (2010). Qualifications frameworks: The avenue towards the convergence of European higher education? European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 563–576. Keeling, R. (2004). Locating ourselves in the ‘European higher education area’: Investigating the Bologna Process in practice. Retrieved from ECPR, European Political Science Network. www.epsnet.org Keeling, R. (2006). The Bologna Process and the Lisbon research agenda: The European Commission’s expanding role in higher education discourse. European Journal of Education, 41(2), 203–223. Krejsler, J. B., Olsson, U., & Petersson, K. (2012). Governing Europe by comparison, peer pressure & self-interest: On the Bologna stocktaking process. Bulletin of Institute of Technology and Vocational Education, 9, 35–47. Kvale, S. (1997). Interview. En introduktion til det kvalitative forskningsinterview. Copenhagen, Denmark: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lather, P. (2004). This IS your Father’s paradigm: Government intrusion and the case of qualitative research in education. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(1), 15–34. Lather, P. (2007). Getting lost. Feminist efforts to toward a double(d) science. New York: SUNY. Lather, P., & St. Pierre, E. A. (2014). Introduction: Post-qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 629–633. Latour, B. (1986). The powers of association. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief. A new sociology of knowledge? (Vol. 32). London, UK: Routledge/Kegan Paul. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action. How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1996). On interobjectivity. Mind, Culture and Activity, 3(4), 228–245. Latour, B. (2005a). How to talk about the body, the normative dimensions of science studies. Body and Society, 10(2–3), 209–249. Latour, B. (2005b). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Law, J.  (2003a). And if the global were small and non-coherent? Method, complexity and the baroque. Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, Online-paper. Law, J.  (2003b). Making a mess with method. Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, Online-paper. Law, J. (2004). After method. Mess in social science research. London/New York: Routledge. Lawn, M. (2011). Standardizing the European education policy space. European Educational Research Journal, 10(2), 259–272. Lawn, M. (2013a). The internationalisation of education data: Exhibitions, tests, standards and associations. In M. Lawn (Ed.), The rise of data in education systems. Collection, visualization and use. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Lawn, M. (2013b). Introuction: The rise of data in education. In M. Lawn (Ed.), The rise of data in education systems. Collection, visualization and use. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Li, V. (2000). What’s in a name? – Questioning ‘globalization. Cultural Critique, 45, 1–39. Lyotard, J.-F. (1979 [1996]). Viden og det postmoderne samfund. Aarhus, Denmark: Slagmark. Marcus, G. E. (1995). Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 95–117. Marsh, D., & Sharman, J. C. (2009). Policy diffusion and policy transfer. Policy Studies, 30(3), 269–288. Massumi, B. (2002). Parables for the virtual: Movement, affect, sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

48

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

Mazzei, L. A. (2007). Inhabited silence in qualitative research. Putting poststructural theory to work. New York: Peter Lang. Mennicken, A. (2008). Connecting worlds: The translation of international auditing standards into post-Soviet audit practice. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33, 384–414. Michelsen, S. (2010). Humboldt Meets Bologna. Higher Education Policy, 23, 151–172. Miller, H. (2007). Performativity as performance/performativity as speech act: Derrida’s special theory of performativity. South Atlantic Quarterly, 106(2), 219–235. Mol, A. (1999). Ontological politics: A word and some questions. In J. Law & J. Hassard (Eds.), Actor network theory and after (Vol. 47, pp. 74–89). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers/The Sociological Review. Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Mol, A., Moser, I., Piras, E. M., Turrini, M., Pols, J., & Zanutto, A. (2010). Care in practice. On normativity, concepts, and boundaries. TECNOSCIENZA, 2(1), 73–86. Naidoo, R., Shankar, A., & Veer, E. (2011). The consumerist turn in higher education: Policy aspirations and outcomes. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(11–12), 1142–1162. Nash, C. (2000). Performativity in practice: Some recent work in cultural geography. Progress in Human Geography, 24(4), 653–664. Nicolini, D., Gherardi, S., & Yanow, D. (2003). Introduction: Toward a practice-based view of knowing and learning in organizations. In D.  Nicolini, S.  Gherardi, & D.  Yanow (Eds.), Knowing in organizations. A practice-based approach. New York: M.E. Sharpe. Nielsen, G. B. (2010). Student figures in friction. Explorations into Danish University reform and shifting forms of student participation. PhD, Aarhus University, Copenhagen. Nietzsche, F. W. (1873 [1973]). Über Wahrheit und Lüge im Außermoralischen Sinne (Vol. Werke in drei Bänden, dritter Band). München: hersgb Schlechta, K. Carl Hanser Verlag. Nóvoa, A. (2002). Ways of thinking about education in Europe. In A. Nóvoa & M. Lawn (Eds.), Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Nóvoa, A., & Lawn, M. (Eds.). (2002). Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Orlikowski, W. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28(09), 1435–1448. Ozga, J.  (2000). Policy research in educational settings. Contested terrain. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. Paz, O. (1985). The labyrinth of solitude. New York: Grove Press. Phillips, D. (2004). Toward a theory of policy attraction in education. In The global politics of educational borrowing and lending. New York: Teachers College Press/Columbia University. Pickering, A. (2001). Practice and posthumanism. Social theroy and a history of agency. In T. R. Schatzki, K.  K. Cetina, & E.  V. Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory. London/New York: Routledge. Regnér, P. (2008). Strategy-as-practice and dynamic capabilities: Steps towards a dynamic view of strategy. Human Relations, 61(4), 565–588. Riles, A. (2006). Introduction. In A. Riles (Ed.), Documents. Artifacts of modern knowledge. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. Rizvi, F. (2006). Imagination and the globalisation of educational policy research. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 4(2), 193–205. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge. Robertson, S. (2009). Europe, Competetiveness and higher education: An evolving project. In R. Dale & S. Robertson (Eds.), Globalisation & Europeanisation in education (pp. 65–83). Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Robertson, S., & Dale, R. (2008). Researching education in a Globalising Era. Beyond methodological nationalism, methodological Statism, methodological Educationism and spatial fetishism. In J. Resnik (Ed.), The production of educational knowledge in the global era (pp. 19–32). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

References

49

Robertson, S., Dale, R., Moutsios, S., Nielsen, G. B., Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2012). Globalisation and regionalisation in higher education: Toward a new conceptual framework. (Summative working paper for work package 1, URGE, Working Paper, 20, pp 1–69). Rosenau, J.  N. (2008). Three steps toward a viable theory of globalization. In I.  Rossi (Ed.), Frontiers of globalization research. Theoretical and methodological approaches (pp.  307– 315). New York: Springer. Sahlin-Andersson, K., & Engwall, L. (2002). Carriers, flows, and sources of management knowledge. In K. Sahlin-Andersson & L. Engwall (Eds.), The expansion of management knowledge. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Sarauw, L.-L. (2011). Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser: Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003. PhD, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen. Schatzki, T. R. (2006). Organizations as they happen. Organization Studies, 27(12), 1863–1873. Schatzki, T. R., Cetina, K. K., & Savigny, E. V. (2001). The practice turn in contemporary theory. London/New York: Routledge. Scholte, J.-A. (2005). Globalization: A critical introduction. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave. Scholte, J.-A. (2008). Defining globalisation. The World Economy, 31(11), 1471–1502. Schriewer, J., & Martinez, C. (2004). Constructions of internationality in education. In G. Steiner-­ Khamsi (Ed.), The global politics of educational borrowing and lending. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Shore, C., & Wright, S. (1997). Policy. A new field of anthropology. In C.  Shore & S.  Wright (Eds.), Anthropology of policy. Critical perspectives on governance and power. New  York: Routledge. Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2011). Introduction. Conceptualising policy: Technologies of governance and the politics of visibility. In C. Shore, S. Wright, & D. Però (Eds.), Policy worlds. Anthropology and the analysis of contemporary power (Vol. 14). New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books. Smith, D. W. (2012). Essays on deleuze. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. St. Pierre, E. A. (2000). Nomadic inquiry in the smooth spaces of the field: A preface. In E. A. St. Pierre & W. S. Pillow (Eds.), Working the ruins. Feminist poststructural theory and methods in education. New York/London: Routledge. Staunæs, D. (2007). Subversive analysestrategier (subversive analytical strategies). In J. Kofoed & D.  Staunæs (Eds.), Magtballader (pp.  252–268). København, Denmark: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitetsforlag. Staunæs, D. (2016). Notes on inventive methodologies and affirmative critiques of an affective edu-future. Research in Education (Manchester), 96(1), 62–70. Staunæs, D., Brøgger, K., & Krejsler, J. B. (2018). How reforms morph as they move. Performative approaches to education reforms and their un/intended effects. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(5), 345–352. Staunæs, D., & Søndergaard, D. M. (2005). Interview i en tangotid (interviews in the time of the tango). In M. Järvinen & N. Mik-Meyer (Eds.), Kvalitative metoder i et interaktionistisk perspektiv. Interview, observationer og dokumenter. Copenhagen, Denmark: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002a). Re-framing educational borrowing as a policy strategy. In M. Caruso & H.-E. Tenorth (Eds.), Internationalisierung. Semantik und Bildungssystem in vergleichender Perspektive. Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002b). Reterritorializing educational import. Explorations into the politics of educational borrowing. In A. Nóvoa & M. Lawn (Eds.), Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2004a). The global politics of educational borrowing and lending. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2004b). Introduction. Globalization in education: Real or imagined? In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.), The global politics of educational borrowing and lending (pp. 1–6). New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.

50

2  Analyzing Education Reforms

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2010). The politics and economics of comparison. Comparative Education Review, 54(3), 323–342. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding policy borrowing and lending. Building comparative policy studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2013). What is wrong with the what-went-right approach in educational policy? European Educational Research Journal, 12(1), 20–33. Stromquist, N., & Monkman, K. (2000). Defining globalization and assessing its implications on knowledge and education. In N.  Stromquist & K.  Monkman (Eds.), Globalization and education. Integration adn contestation across cultures. Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Svensson, P. (2009). From re-presentation to re-creation. Contributing to a radicalisation of linguistically turned interviewing in management studies. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 4(2), 168–185. Thrift, N. (2000a). It’s the little things. In K. Dodds & D. Atkinson (Eds.), Geopolitical trditions: A century of geopolitical thought. London/New York: Routledge. Thrift, N. (2000b). Performing cultures in the new economy. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 90(4), 674–692. Thrift, N. (2007). Non-representational theory: Space, politics and affect. London: Routledge. Tsing, A. (2000). The global situation. Cultural Anthropology, 15(3), 327–360. Tsing, A. (2005). Friction. An ethnography of global connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University press. Tsing, A. (2012). Worlding the Matsutake diaspora. Or, can actor-network theory experiment with holism? In T. Otto & N. Bubandt (Eds.), Experiments in Holism. Theory and practice in contemporary anthropology. Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Ursin, J., Zamorski, B., Stiwne, E.  E., Teelken, C., & Wihlborg, M. (2010). Introduction. The Bologna Process: Help or hindrance to the development of European higher education? European Educational Research Journal, 9(1), 29–31. Veiga, A., & Amaral, A. (2006). The open method of coordination and the implementation of the Bologna process. Tertiary Education and Management, 12(4), 283–295. Villani, A. (1999). La guêpe et l’orchidée: Essai sur Gilles Deleuze. Paris: Belin. Waldow, F. (2012). Standardisation and legitimacy. Two central concepts in research on educational borrowing and lending. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Weick, K. E. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Wetherell, M. (2012). Affect and emotion. A new social science understanding. London: Sage. White, S. K. (2000). Sustaining affirmation. The strengths of weak ontology in political theory. Princeton/Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press. Whittington, R. (2006). Completing the practice turn in strategy research. Organization Studies, 27(5), 613–634. Whitty, G. (2012). Policy tourism and policy borrowing in education. A trans-Atlantic case study. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education (pp. 354–370). New York: Routledge. Wihlborg, M., & Teelken, J. C. (2014). Striving for uniformity, hoping for innovation and diversification: A critical review concerning the Bologna process – Providing an overview and reflecting on the criticism. Policy Futures in Education (e-journal), 12(8), 1084–1100. Winneche-Nielsen, A. M. (2013). Gymnasiet i det Globale. Perspektiver på demokrati, viden og dannelse med globale gymnasier som case. PhD, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen. Wright, S. (2011). Studying policy: Methods, paradigms, perspectives. In C. Shore, S. Wright, & D. Però (Eds.), Policy worlds. Anthropology and the analysis of contemporary power (Vol. 14). New York/Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books. Wright, S., & Reinhold, S. (2011). ‘Studying through’: A strategy for studying political transformation. Or sex, lies and British politics. In C. Shore, S. Wright, & D. Però (Eds.), Policy worlds. Anthropology and the analysis of contemporary power (pp.  86–104). New  York: Berghahn Books.

Chapter 3

The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

The Loose Ends of the Bologna Process This chapter and Chap. 4 of this monograph constitutes an ethnographic study on the policy ontology of the Bologna Process; that is, the mechanisms through which certain policies work. The ethnographic analysis is an attempt to disentangle the complex and entangled relations between the EU, which is an economic and political union between 28 European countries, and the Bologna Process in order to expose the ontology. For this reason, neither this chapter, Chaps. 4 and 5 of the monograph should be read as a historical context for the micro empirical analysis in Chap. 6. This chapter, Chaps. 4 and 5 are ethnographic studies in their own right. I do not consider the macro processes of the Bologna Process as a contextual architecture that frames local and lived working life in higher education institutions. The macro processes and the local negotiations are equal parts of the research phenomenon. My ambition is not to portray the system as a totality but to open windows onto the reform. The negotiations between the EU and the Bologna Process constitute the first window. This window provides access to the Bologna Process as a potential solution to an inconvenience within the EU; namely, that education falls within the scope of the subsidiarity principle and thus makes the EU-‘rule of law’ impossible. This calls for alternative ways of governing education, which gives rise to the voluntary intergovernmental Bologna Process. Through declarations and reports, standards and standardizing processes materialize as major components of what constitutes this mode of governing; for this reason, it is analytically necessary to thoroughly theorize these standards and standardizing processes, which I will do in Chap. 4. Over recent decades, the possibilities of practicing traditional national education policies have radically changed (Rinne, 2008). This change is a result of the influence of supranational agents such as the OECD and the EU and their standard-­ setting agenda. This development is not limited to higher education; however, due © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_3

51

52

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

to these international agents (not least the Bologna Process), within higher education, this process is proceeding at a tremendously fast rate. During the 1960s and 1970s, the conception of education as an investment in human capital and knowledge and, hence, as a factor of production was introduced (Becker, 1964; OECD, 1961). Furthermore, in 1979, Lyotard’s philosophically claimed that the link to education, as in the German ‘Bildung,’ was disappearing in modern society. Knowledge was becoming externalized, consumer-oriented and, hence, increasingly ruled by the logic of the market, in which funding was tied to performance. To some extent, this change in rhetorical dominance and metaphorizing of knowledge modeled the later systematization of a common European educational strategy based on the 1999 Bologna Declaration. From the 1980s onwards, keywords such as labor market- and consumer-orientation, effectiveness and evidence attained rhetorical dominance within the educational policy field  – both nationally and internationally. However, perhaps most importantly, this tendency was accompanied by a radical shift in the governance of higher education throughout Europe. This type of soft governance differs from the hierarchical parliamentary steering chain since it expands the nature of governance to include not only the force of law but also, and not least, the force of persuasion. But what was actually occurring, and how did the balance between the European Union and the Bologna Process unfold as a major factor propelling this development? This chapter explores the relation between the Bologna Process and the European Union and, in particular, it focuses on the role of the European Commission in relation to European higher education. It provides the reader with suggestions as to why standardization initially became a mode of European governance and which interests, rationalities and smooth policy operations underlie the shift from government to governance in Europe. So, in essence, this is the story of how educational standards became omnipresent and governed everyday higher education work life; this story explains why it is necessary to both analyze and understand such standards. Later, especially in Chap. 6, I will also explore the performative, and often unintended and perhaps even contingent, effects of these standards. The transformation of the higher education architectures through the Bologna Process implies the construction of a European policy architecture. Through the complex construction of such a policy architecture, a so-called European Higher Education Area is made governable. In 1998, some of the first significant steps were taken towards increasing the standardization of higher education; the Sorbonne Declaration was ratified and was soon followed by the Bologna Declaration and several communiqués, which, by 2014, had been ratified by 48 nations (EHEA-­ ministers, 1998, 1999).1 As already mentioned, the aim of the Bologna Process is to create a European Higher Education Area through initiatives and ambitions such as  Part of this and the following sections were previously published in the article Brøgger, K. (2016). “The Rule of Mimetic Desire in Higher Education: Governing through naming, shaming and faming”. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 72–91 (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ abs/10.1080/01425692.2015.1096191) and Brøgger, K. (2014). “The Ghosts of Higher Education Reform. On the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing.” Globalisation, Societies and Education 12(4): 520–541 (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14767724.2014.90 1905). 1

The Loose Ends of the Bologna Process

53

educational harmonization, comparability, mobility, flexibility, employability and qualification frameworks. Today, most of the participating nations regard the Bologna process and the ambition of harmonization as inevitable, and many of them adapt to the process almost in advance (Fejes, 2008; Nóvoa & Lawn, 2002). In the Sorbonne Declaration, education ministers from France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany proposed a new architecture of European higher education, which was intended to ensure the “progressive harmonization of the overall framework of our degrees and cycles” (EHEA-ministers, 1998: 3). This ‘progressive harmonization’ was supposed to be carried out through the development of the so-called two-cycle system: undergraduate (Bachelor) and graduate (Master) (which later turned into the three-cycle system; Bachelor, Master and PhD; 3 + 2 + 3). The Bologna Declaration in 1999 was designed to follow up this ambition and to incorporate more countries than the ‘EU big four,’ who, on occasion, were suspected of initiating the process in order to attract the most talented students and thereby create a ‘brain drain’ in low-waged countries (Jing, 2008). The Bologna Declaration served as the launching pad for the Bologna Process. Originally, the Bologna Process was only supposed to run until 2010. However, in the Leuven Communiqué in 2009, education ministers established new objectives until 2020 and, in 2010, the Budapest-Vienna Declaration was adopted, which launched the European Higher Education Area (EHEA-ministers, 2010). The period after 2010 – the year of the formation of the European Higher Education Area – is often referred to as the post-­ Bologna Process (even though the process is still ongoing). There is a close relation between the European Commission and the Bologna Process (I will return to this idea in the chapter Governance without government). The Memorandum from the European Commission under Jacques Delors in 1991 on Higher Education in Europe shows that higher education has become part of the European Community’s “broader agenda on economic and social coherence” (Huisman & Van der Wende, 2004: 350). In many ways, this memorandum seems to pave the way for the Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations in 1998 and 1999. The memorandum is embedded in the commission’s ambition to ensure that higher education helps the internal market to function. Already at this stage, education was connected to the labor market and economic needs of Europe (Huisman & Van der Wende, 2004; Neave & Maassen, 2007; Robertson & Keeling, 2008; Tomusk, 2007). This connection to the labor market was linked to the construction of the internal market during the period from the Single European Act (1986) to the Maastricht Treaty (1992). Free movement of labor was – and still is – a fundamental principle of the internal market. In order to meet this ambition, mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications was crucial (European  Commission, 1986, 1992). However, mutual recognition of diplomas required education reforms that included an alignment of European education systems. To meet the challenges of the ‘nineties and beyond,’ the Commission stated

54

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

that the European community dimension in higher education needed to be strengthened. The Commission outlined the following components (European Commission, 1991: 13, 41): • • • • • • • • •

Student mobility Cooperation between institutions Europe in the curriculum The central importance of language The training of teachers Recognition of qualifications and periods of study The international role of higher education Information and policy analysis A dialogue with the higher education sector

Eight years later, the 29 signatory European countries of the Joint Bologna Declaration stated six objectives for a European Higher Education Area. They adopted some of the objectives from the 1991 memorandum on higher education and excluded others (EHEA-ministers, 1999: 3–4). The six interlocking objectives were: • • • • • •

Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees Adoption of a system based on two main cycles Establishment of a system of credits – such as the ECTS system Promotion of mobility Promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education

Three additional objectives were added at the Ministerial Conference in Prague (The Prague Communiqué) in 2001 (EHEA-ministers, 2001: 2–3): • Lifelong learning • Involving higher education institutions and students • Promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area Considering both the memorandum and the Bologna Declaration, three basic ambitions stand out: firstly, the ambition to produce a qualified labor force to meet (imagined) labor market demands; secondly, the ambition to marketize education, to sell education and thus promote its attractiveness; finally, the ambition to govern the first two requirements (through comparability, harmonization (the Sorbonne Declaration) and quality assurance). Based on these objectives, the Bologna Process moved from a declaration of intent to a radical mode of higher education governance in 10 years. This is partly why some researchers describe the Bologna Process as a moving target (Kehm, 2010; Neave & Maassen, 2007). In many ways, the Commission’s ambitions regarding the Bologna Process are clearly summarized in the Commission’s 2003 communication The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge, in which it states:

The Loose Ends of the Bologna Process

55

The structural reforms inspired by the Bologna Process constitute an effort to organise that diversity within a more coherent and compatible European framework, which is a condition for the readability, and hence the competitiveness, of European universities both within Europe itself and in the whole world. European universities have for long modelled themselves along the lines of some major models, particularly the ideal model of the university envisaged nearly two centuries ago by Wilhelm von Humboldt in his reform of the German university, which sets research at the heart of university activity and indeed makes it the basis of teaching. Today the trend is away from these models, and towards greater differentiation. This results in the emergence of more specialised institutions concentrating on a core of specific competences when it comes to research and teaching (European Commission, 2003: 5–6).

The Commission states clearly that it perceives the Bologna Process as an important tool to enhance the competitiveness of European higher education and to overcome and move beyond the Humboldtian university towards competence-driven higher education. Naidoo names this transformation the marketization and commodification of higher education, in which the student is turned into a consumer (Naidoo, 2003; Naidoo & Jamieson, 2005; Naidoo, Shankar, & Veer, 2011; Naidoo & Williams, 2014). The Bologna Process cannot be regarded as one coherent narrative, a consistent and harmonious phenomenon (Keeling, 2004). The European Higher Education Area has no single ‘center’ (Tomusk, 2007: 15); rather, it appears as though the European educational organizations are asymmetrically related to each other, leaving the so-called Bologna Process to be a relatively open frame of reference, suggesting that processes like the Bologna Process have provided a welcome opportunity to justify and accelerate domestic educational reforms (Huisman & Van der Wende, 2004; Kehm, 2010; Ravinet, 2008; Steiner-Khamsi, 2002a, 2002b, 2004). One could even claim that ‘Europe’ or the creation of a European Higher Education Area functions purely as a regulatory ideal, since resistance against some of the reform goals – such as the cycle-system and modularization – and the fact that these goals have been put into practice in a variety of contrasting ways means that homogenization cannot occur at the institutional and individual level (Kehm, 2010; Nóvoa, 2002; Ravinet, 2008). Newer research indicates that implementation is not as straightforward as expected. Or, in other words, it suggests that harmonization at the (European) macro level is much easier to detect than harmonization at the (national and institutional) ‘micro’ level, which is characterized by great diversity. The devil is in the detail, and the somewhat messier picture emerging at the national and institutional levels has “ousted the boundless confidence that earlier accompanied the registration of consensus” (Enders & Westerheijden, 2011; Huisman, 2009; Neave & Amaral, 2008: 59; Ursin, Zamorski, Stiwne, Teelken, & Wihlborg, 2010). Furthermore, there is no legislative power connected to the process at the European level, because the Bologna objectives are only legally binding once they become part of national legislation. This absence of legal obligation is one of the reasons why the process has been actualized at different paces due to the so-called Open Method of Coordination (OMC). I will discuss the OMC in more detail later, but, at

56

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

this point it is important to note that the method is based on voluntariness and variations of ‘soft governance.’ Modes of soft governance supplements what is usually known as the so-called parliamentary steering chain. This mode of governance is closely connected to the bureaucratic hierarchy analyzed by Max Weber and is based on the chain of delegation that runs from mass publics to parliament, ­government and the public administration. This steering chain is organized according to a fixed hierarchy and is based on state authority and the rule of law (Brøgger & Clausen, 2017; Damgaard, 1997; G. J. Miller, 2005). Soft governance implies the creation of persuasive incentive structures and instrumentalizing forms of authority other than those of the state – new non-state powers – in order to govern ‘at a distance’ (Brøgger, 2016; Lawn, 2011: 259; Lawn & Grek, 2012: 69; P. Miller & Rose, 2008: 205; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: 117). Among other things, these ‘soft’ technologies assign greater priority to benchmarking, local best practice, measurements and extensive standardization (Dale, 2004; Gornitzka, 2005; Henckel & Wright, 2008; Keeling, 2006). Because of the OMC, the Bologna reforms are implemented in a decentralized way at the national level – for instance, through standardization – yet at the same time, they are closely monitored at the European level through reports, ministerial conferences and communiqués, and follow-up meetings, which I will discuss in Chap. 5 (Brøgger, 2016; Keeling, 2006; Ravinet, 2008). The Bologna Process works with very effective follow-up technologies (as I will explain later). Despite its fragmented character, these follow-up technologies make the Bologna Process one of the most extensive examples of policy transfer in higher education, which, due to its (policy) attractiveness, now reaches far beyond Europe and the European Union as a constitutional entity; for example, it now includes the Russian Federation and Southeast Europe and is currently appealing to the US (regarding a US interest in borrowing certain standards such as the qualifications frameworks) and Asia (under the China-ASEAN auspices) (Adelman, 2008, 2010; Ewell, 2010; Huisman & Brookes, 2009; McKiernan & Birtwistle, 2008, 2009; Robertson et al., 2012; Robertson & Keeling, 2008; Roper, 2007; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012; Zeng, Adams, & Gibbs, 2013). Accelerating quickly from its original declaration of intent, the process has now produced substantive curricular reform, qualifications frameworks, and systems of quality assurance (Kehm, 2010). These extensive curricula reforms (currently on the rise throughout Europe and beyond) include the shifts from semestrial time frame structures to modular structures, in which each module constitutes a learning unit in itself and must be completed by a test. They also involve shifts in orientation, from curricula that are oriented towards the student’s development throughout her/his education to outcome-based curricula that are oriented towards learning outcomes; that is, specified knowledge, skills and competences, as identified by the European qualifications frameworks (EQF) (Framework of Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area from 2005 and The European Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning from 2008) (EHEA-ministers, 2001, 2005b; European Commission, 2008). The core of the EQF concerns eight reference levels, which describe what a learner knows, understands and is able to do on completion of a learning process. Despite the occasional domestic tightening of the objectives (Sarauw, 2011), the Danish qualifications

Governance Without Government: Circumventing the Subsidiarity Principle?

57

framework follows the European framework with regards to learning outcomes, and these learning outcomes are put to work in new educational ministerial orders and curricula.

Governance Without Government: Circumventing the Subsidiarity Principle? The need to harmonize European laws and regulations in order to avoid the hindering of trade (for example) was voiced at an early stage by the European Communities Council. In fact, even before the Maastricht Treaty (signed in 1992 and entering into force in 1993) developed the European collaboration by establishing the European Union, the European Communities Council voices the need to harmonize: Whereas the laws which regulate the use of units of measurement in the Member States differ from one Member State to another and as a result hinder trade; whereas, in these circumstances, it is necessary to harmonize laws, regulations and administrative provisions in order to overcome such obstacles (European Communities Council Directive 80/181/ EEC, 1979: 1).

Over the years, the European Commission has pushed this overall standardization agenda by actively designing and promoting a European standardization (European Commission, 2009). Education within Europe was previously considered to be the responsibility of individual states. And this perception is still reflected in the Maastricht Treaty, in which education falls within the scope of the subsidiarity principle (Huisman & Van der Wende, 2004; Magalhães & Amaral, 2009) and not within the responsibility of the EU as such. However, education still seems to be singled out as a major area of interest within the EU (Grek & Rinne, 2011; Rinne, 2008). The subsidiarity principle inscribed in the Maastricht Treaty implies that: In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community (European Union (EU), 1992: article 3b).

Subsidiarity is an organizing principle of decentralization. Education is considered part of this principle and, hence, part of the responsibility of the states: While fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organization of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity (European Union (EU), 1992: article 126).

However, since the knowledge economy objectives were adopted by the EU in the 1990s – as the OECD launched the concept of the knowledge economy by linking the role of education to growth – education has become increasingly important to govern as a policy area in itself (Robertson, 2008), and standards have played a major role in this process. Standardization aims to create goals and to ensure the measurement of them and thus standardization is decisive for managing education

58

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

across states in Europe (without compromising national latitude). As Lawn identifies, these standardizing processes have begun to reshape the European education area; standardization “shapes the future by shaping systems, institutions and people” (Lawn, 2011: 263). The increasing pace of standardization throughout European education is indicative of a shift in governance in Europe that accelerated throughout the 1990s (Kohler-Koch & Eising, 1999) and gained even more speed after 2000. Since the launching of the Lisbon agenda in 2000, European education policy has been governed by a new policy formation: the so-called Open Method of Coordination (OMC) (European Council, 2000: section 7). The OMC (which I will discuss later in detail) effectively enables governance to be achieved through benchmarking, best practice strategies, and standardizations (Brøgger, 2016, 2018; Krejsler, Olsson, & Petersson, 2012). These practices shift the motivating powers from the execution of direct governmental orders to peer pressure and naming/shaming mechanisms. Such a shift towards standardization and benchmarking through the OMC is also indicative of a way of steering through the production of data. However, this development was already underway before the introduction of the OMC in Europe; it began when the OECD assumed the leading role in producing assessment data in the late 1990s by developing the powerful ‘Programme for International Student Assessment’ (PISA). Rinne (2008) accurately calls the OECD phase from the 1990s and onward The Economic of Education and Quality Monitoring phase. But, even prior to this (in the 1980s), the OECD and the World Bank had criticized UNESCO’s more descriptive approach to educational comparability and demanded new statistical (and more normative) comparisons and rankings. An example of this was PISA’s listing of skills that 15-year-olds require for successful learning in their future lives (OECD, 1999). These demands coincided with the growing strength of the ‘school effectiveness’ movement in the US and the UK (Cussó & A’mico, 2005; Rubenson, 2008). During the 1990s, the OECD, the EU and the World Bank began to collect data and publish statistics that underlined the socioeconomic role of education (Cussó & A’mico, 2005; Rubenson, 2008). This development transformed the function of international comparisons; they were no longer an administrative tool but were intimately connected to the reform and steering of education policies. In practice, this meant that statistical comparisons were now linked to performance and auditing (Lawn, 2013: 22–23). The intensification of the competitive dimensions of education, which stages education as a major driver of European growth, is reflected in all major European policy documents, which meticulously reference each other and continually reproduce the agenda by constant iteration. Here is an example from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education: Quality assurance in higher education is by no means only a European concern. All over the world there is an increasing interest in quality and standards, reflecting both the rapid growth of higher education and its cost to the public and the private purse. Accordingly, if Europe is to achieve its aspiration to be the most dynamic and knowledge-based economy in the world (Lisbon Strategy), then European higher education will need to demonstrate that it takes the quality of its programmes and awards seriously and is willing to put into

Governance Without Government: Circumventing the Subsidiarity Principle?

59

place the means of assuring and demonstrating that quality. The initiatives and demands, which are springing up both inside and outside Europe in the face of this internationalisation of higher education, demand a response. The commitment of all those involved in the production of these proposals argues well for the fulfilment of a truly European dimension to quality assurance with which to reinforce the attractiveness of the EHEA’s higher education offering (ENQA, 2015: 9).

European governance works by “instituting a host of ‘harmonized’ regulations, codes, and standards” and by locking standards together (Dunn, 2005: 175). The standardization becomes the means with which to create a desirable future  – an attractive and competitive European Higher Education Area as expressed by the ENQA (Fejes, 2006, 2008). As mentioned above, the education policy area was not originally mandated by the EU as part of the competency of the union and, for this reason, the respect for cultural differences outlined as part of the Maastricht Treaty was reformulated and repeated in the documents of the Bologna Process. The Bologna Declaration from 1999 explicitly avoids the impression that the intergovernmental Bologna collaboration would in any way compromise the EU’s subsidiarity principle: We hereby undertake to attain these objectives – within the framework of our institutional competences and taking full respect of the diversity of cultures, languages, national education systems and of University autonomy – to consolidate the European area of higher education (EHEA-ministers, 1999).

Part of this pledge is reiterated in the Berlin Communiqué from 2003: The aim is to preserve Europe’s cultural richness and linguistic diversity, based on its heritage of diversified traditions, and to foster its potential of innovation and social and economic development through enhanced co-operation among European Higher Education Institutions (EHEA-ministers, 2003: 2).

Taking into account the EU’s subsidiarity principle, the fact that education falls within this principle, and the EU’s partial connection to the Bologna process via the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 (which I will discuss later), it appears as though the Bologna process serves as a subtle means to circumvent the subsidiarity principle. The increased focus on the knowledge economy and the transformation of education into a core commodity – which guaranteed European growth during the 1990s – both serve as strong political incentives to govern education on a larger and more global scale that transgresses the boundaries of nation states. Obviously, due to the subsidiarity principle, this remains impossible within the scope of the union. However, the status of the Bologna Process as a voluntary intergovernmental collaboration seems to ‘smoothly’ overcome the obstacle of the subsidiarity principle (Brøgger, 2016). And, of course, this also necessarily alters the mode of governance. Governance can no longer be executed through direct orders but must be transformed into modes of ‘soft’ governance; and this proves to be very performative and efficient indeed. This is one of the major reasons why the Bologna Process can be viewed as a standardization process; standardization simply constitutes one of the core steering technologies of the process (Fejes, 2006). This is also why I will later theorize standards and standardizing processes so that the analysis does not

60

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

end by employing standardization as a diagnosis but rather explores standards and the impact of standards and standardizing processes.

Governance in the Bologna-Lisbon-Mesh For the last almost 20 years, European higher education has been significantly influenced by reforms initiated by both the Bologna Process and the EU Lisbon Strategy. The Bologna Process and the Lisbon Agenda have become virtually indistinguishable since they have almost converged into one policy framework. This has occurred despite the Bologna Process’ status as an intergovernmental collaboration that extends far beyond Europe and the Lisbon Agenda’s role as part of a wider economic platform aimed at securing competiveness and jobs within the EU (Huisman & Van der Wende, 2004; Robertson & Keeling, 2008). The near conflation of the two processes is partly due to the initial subtle circumvention of the subsidiarity principle and partly due to the significant role of the European Commission. Given this ‘mesh,’ it is easy to overlook that higher education is supposedly still not an EU competency (Brøgger, 2016; Keeling, 2006: 204). In 2001, Anders Hingel, head of unit in the European Commission, described the determined Europeanization of education as follows: The “Europeanisation” of education has provoked the development of a strong feeling of “mutual accountability” between Ministers of Education […] The “politicians” of initiatives during the last few years in the field of education of injecting “from the top”, an acceleration and deepening of European co-operation might have been an answer to the more slow and more conservative development of Ministries and National Education authorities (Hingel, 2001: 13–14).

Hingel understands the development as a necessary response to the slower and more conservative national authorities. In his opinion, Europe needs to accelerate, and the Lisbon Strategy – with its close relation to the Bologna Process – can achieve this efficiently by injecting Europe with benchmarks and indicators from the top (Nóvoa, 2002: 142–143). Considering the subsidiarity principle, the so-called ‘injection from the top’ is noteworthy. The Lisbon Strategy sets the new strategic goal for the European Union “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” (European Council, 2000). This goal changes the role of education in the EU, since human capital and education are thought to pave the way to realizing a knowledge-­ based economy (Lawn & Grek, 2012: 83). This agenda was further reinforced by Wim Kok – former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and chair of the High-Level Group on the Lisbon Strategy at the time – in his critical review of the strategy in 2004, which stated the strategy’s goals had not yet been achieved. This review led to the mid-term evaluation of the strategy by the Commission in 2005 (European Commission, 2005a; High level Group chaired by Wim Kok, 2004). Here the Commission clearly stated that the Bologna ambition to create a European Higher

Governance in the Bologna-Lisbon-Mesh

61

Education Area was an integral part of achieving the Lisbon goals of growth, employment and long-term competitiveness: Spreading knowledge through high-quality education systems is the best way of guaranteeing the long-term competitiveness of the Union. In particular, the Union must ensure that our universities can compete with the best in the world through the completion of the European higher education area (European Commission, 2005a: 11).

Reading the Bergen Communiqué, it became clear that this ambition was also clearly mirrored in the conclusions of the ministerial conference of the Bologna Process in Bergen in 2005: With a view to achieving better results we recognise the need to improve the synergy between the higher education sector and other research sectors throughout our respective countries and between the EHEA and the European Research Area (EHEA-ministers, 2005a: 3).

In the same communiqué, the responsible ministers also support the reform of the degree structures, credit transfer and quality assurance, thereby underpinning the interests of the Union with a political mandate (EHEA-ministers, 2005a; Keeling, 2006). In the time between the Lisbon agenda in 2000 and the midterm evaluation in 2005, the Commission published two core reports on the crucial role of higher education and research. Among others, they put forward recommendations on institutional governance and curricular reform: A second condition is that the governing structures of a university must respond both to the varied needs of that institution and to the expectations of society – those who provide its core funding. That implies that they should have an effective decision-making process, a developed administrative and financial management capacity, and the ability to match rewards to performance (European Commission, 2003:17).

Notably, in this extract, the European Commission recommends that higher education institutions aim to ensure that rewards match performance. This idea (among others) has been deeply integrated into the governance of most higher education institutions and can take the form of performance-related funding based on a department’s publications, citations (according to bibliometric indicators), and securing of external funding. The Commission’s recommendations on curricular reforms indicate that such reforms should be oriented towards the needs of the labor market: If universities are to become more attractive locally and globally, profound curricular revision is required – not just to ensure the highest level of academic content, but also to respond to the changing needs of labour markets (European Commission, 2005b:5). Universities should be responsible for […] defining their curricula – subject to internal QA [Quality Assurance, KB] and in accordance with the common principles of the European Higher Education Area (European Commission, 2005b: 8).

Again, the Commission clearly emphasizes compliance with the ambitions of the Bologna Process. However, this very clear integration of the Bologna Process into the initiatives of the Commission is not the only way the Commission exercises its

62

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

major role in the development of higher education as part of the European growth strategy. The Commission is also the only ‘non-state’ full member of the Bologna Process (not a consultative member such as the Council of Europe or the European University Association) and an influential member of the Bologna Follow-up Group; a forum acting as the major driver of developments between the ministerial meetings every 2  years (Keeling, 2006). These factors all helped to cement the Commission’s ongoing role in the Bologna Process and hence to form the close ties between the Bologna Process and the initiatives and ambitions of the Union, despite the fact that, due to the subsidiarity principle, higher education was not part of the Union’s competency. However, the Commission succeeded in presenting education as part of the economic agenda of the Union. And the Bologna Process both scaffolds and fulfills the ambitions of the Union through the implementations of qualifications frameworks, credit transfer systems and quality assurance systems despite the fact that the political mandate of education belongs to the intergovernmental collaboration under the auspices of the Bologna Process and not the Union (Keeling, 2006). The connection between education and growth continued to intensify over the following years. In 2007, European ministers adopted the Strategy for the European Higher Education Area in a Global Setting, which was designed to enhance competitiveness. Together with the EU’s growth strategy, Europe 2020, the strategy constituted part of the Higher Education Modernisation Agenda, published in 2011. These strategies all portray higher education as a strong driver of economic growth (Brøgger, 2016). When the Bologna Declaration called on universities to contribute to the endeavor of building a European Higher Education Area, a new mode of governance clearly emerged in Europa (EHEA-ministers, 1999: 1, 4). Governing shifted from government to governance, which involved a move from executing orders through legislative procedures to steering future developments through ‘incentivizing’ techniques, such as standardization and the desire to integrate the responsibility of supporting the political initiatives (as seen in the Bologna Declaration). Standardization is an instrument of supranational governance and “through the scope of standards and their extensions to new fields, the European standardization process acts as a powerful harmonization factor” (Borraz, 2007: 71; Pasias & Roussakis, 2012). However, as I will show later, this reflects the realities at the level of the political ambitions more than at the level of practice. Standardizing processes are indeed powerful and performative, but they seem to give rise to just as many unintended as intended effects, which brings into question the idea that implementation can be executed through the act of standardization. It would undoubtedly be fruitful to explore the relations between standardization and audit further – to investigate how standardization is always accompanied by some kind of measurement. However, a detailed discussion of this would extend beyond the remit of this monograph. I will explore this subject during my analysis of the OMC, but only in terms of accounting for the ways in which the infrastructure of the standards function; in this case, how the OMC works in relation to systems of reporting. This will hopefully shed light on the effects of this mode of governance.

References

63

Summary: From Orders to Incentives The ethnographic research on the relation between the EU and the Bologna Process suggests that the initiation of the Bologna Process as a voluntary intergovernmental collaboration was connected to the need to subtly circumvent the EU’s subsidiarity principle. This is substantiated by the fact that, while education was out of the EU’s legislative reach, during the 1990s, education became an increasingly important policy area to govern in its own right (due to the rise of the knowledge economy and due to the construction of the internal market and related ambitions of free movement of labor and mutual recognition of diplomas). It is also clear that the ambitions of the Bologna Process – as stated in the Bologna objectives – were already partly formulated within the EU in the European Commission’s 1991 memorandum on higher education in Europe. In addition, at the beginning on the 1990s, education was already viewed as a potential growth factor that supported the labor market and economic needs of Europe. This view of education is still maintained by the European Commission’s perception of the Bologna Process as a tool to enhance the competitiveness of European higher education and to transform the Humboldtian university into a competence-driven higher education institution. The Commission exercises its interests through its powerful role in the Bologna Process as a prominent member of the BFUG and a main sponsor of all Bologna-related activities. The dislocation of the governing of education from the EU to the Bologna Process prompted a shift in the design of governing from order-based to incentive-based governance ensuring that the process did not directly compromise the sovereignty of the nation states.

References Adelman, C. (2008). Accountability “light”. Our version is going the way of the dollar vs. the euro. Liberal Education, 94(4), 6–13. Adelman, C. (2010). The US response to Bologna: Expanding knowledge, first steps of convergence. Europan Journal of Education, 45(4), 612–623. Becker, G. S. (1964 [1993]). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis with special reference to education. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. Borraz, O. (2007). Governing standards: The rise of standardization processes in France and in the EU. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20(1), 57–84. Brøgger, K. (2016). The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: Governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 72–91. Brøgger, K. (2018). The performative power of (non)human agency assemblages of soft governance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(5), 353–366. Brøgger, K., & Clausen, T. (2017). Uddannelsesstyring og  – forvaltning. In A.  K. Ljungdalh, J.  Lysgaard, & O.  Tafdrup (Eds.), Uddannelsesvidenskab: en kritisk introduktion (pp.  155– 174). Frederiksberg, Denmark: Samfundslitteratur. Cussó, R., & A’mico, S. (2005). From development comparatism to globalization comparativism: Towards more normative international education statistics. Comparative Education, 41(2), 199–216.

64

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

Dale, R. (2004). Forms of governance, governmentality and the EU’s open method of coordination. In W.  Larner & W.  Walters (Eds.), Global governmentality (pp.  174–194). New  York: Routledge. Damgaard, E. (1997). The political roles of Danish MPs. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 3(1), 79–90. Dunn, E.  C. (2005). Standards and person-making in East Central Europe. In A.  Ong & S.  J. Collier (Eds.), Global assemblages. Malden, MA: Blackwell. EHEA-ministers. (1998). Sorbonne joint declaration. Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system. By the four Ministers in charge for France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Paris, the Sorbonne, May 25 1998. EHEA-ministers. (1999). Bologna declaration. The European higher education area, June 19, in Bologna. EHEA-ministers. (2001). Prague Communiqué. Communiqué of the meeting of European ministers in charge of higher education in Prague on May 19th 2001 EHEA-ministers. (2003). Berlin Communiqué. “Realising the European Higher Education Area”. Communiqué of the Conference of ministers responsible for higher education in Berlin on 19 September 2003. EHEA-ministers. (2005a). Bergen Communiqué. Communiqué of the Conference of European ministers responsible for higher education, Bergen, 19–20 May 2005. EHEA-ministers. (2005b). The framework of qualifications for the European higher education area. Adopted by the ministers of education of the Bologna Process at their meeting in Bergen in May 2005, through the Bergen Communiqué. EHEA-ministers. (2010). Budapest-Vienna declaration. Bologna ministerial anniversary conference 2010 in Budapest and Vienna, March 2010. Enders, J., & Westerheijden, D. F. (2011). The Bologna Process: From the national to the regional to the global, and back. In R. King, S. Marginson, & R. Naidoo (Eds.), Handbook on globalization and higher education. Cheltenham/Northampton, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. ENQA. (2015). Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Brussels, Belgium. European Commission. (1986). The Single European Act. European Commission. (1991). COM (91) 349 Final: Memorandum on higher education in the European community. Brussels 5 November 1991. Brussels. European Commission. (1992). The Maastricht Treaty; Treaty on European Union. European Commission. (2003). The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge. Brussels, 05.02.2003. COM(2003) 58 final. European Commission. (2005a). Growth and jobs – Working together for Europe’s future. A new start for the Lisbon strategy. European Commission. (2005b). Mobilising the brainpower of Europe: Enabling universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon Strategy. Brussels, 20.4.2005. COM(2005) 152 final. European Commission. (2008). The European qualifications framework for lifelong learning. Education and Culture. European Commission. (2009). Action plan for European standardisation. December 2009. European Communities Council Directive 80/181/EEC. (1979). The approximation of the laws of the member states relating to units of measurement and on the repeal of directive 71/354/EEC (80/181/EEC). 20 December. European Council. (2000). Lisbon European Council 23 and 24 March (The Lisbon strategy/ agenda). Ewell, P. T. (2010). From the states. Imitation as art: Tuning USA and higher education accountability. Assessment Update, 22(1), 13–14. Fejes, A. (2006). The Bologna Process – Governing higher education in Europe through standardization. Revista Española de Educación Comparada, 12, 203–231. Fejes, A. (2008). Standardising Europe: The Bologna Process and new modes of governing. Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 25–49.

References

65

Gornitzka, Å. (2005). Coordinating policies for a ‘Europe of knowledge’. Emerging practices of the ‘Open method of coordination’ in education and research (Arena Working Papers, 16). Retrieved from http://www.arena.uio.no Grek, S., & Rinne, R. (2011). Fabricating Europe. From cultures to numbers. In J. Ozga, P. Dahler-­ Larsen, C. Segerholm, & H. Simola (Eds.), Fabricating quality in education. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Henckel, O., & Wright, S. (2008). The Bologna Process: A voluntary method of coordination and marketisation? (Henckel interviewed by Wright). Teaching and Learning, 1(2), 1–24. High level Group chaired by Wim Kok. (2004). Facing the challenge. The Lisbon strategy for growth and employment. Hingel, A. (2001). Education policies and European governance. Directorate-Generale for education and culture. Huisman, J. (2009). Insitutional diversification or convergence? In B. M. Kehm, J. Huisman, & B.  Stensaker (Eds.), The European higher education area: Perspectives on a moving target. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense. Huisman, J., & Brookes, M. (2009). The Eagle and the circle of gold stars: Does the Bologna Process affect us higher education? Higher Education in Europe, 34(1), 3–23. Huisman, J., & Van der Wende, M. (2004). The EU and Bologna: Are supra- and international initiatives threatening domestic agendas? Europan Journal of Education, 39(3), 349–357. Jing, X. (2008). A critical analysis of the barriers to achieving the Bologna Process. Frontiers of Education in China, 3(4), 607–622. Keeling, R. (2004). Locating ourselves in the ‘European Higher Education Area’: Investigating the Bologna Process in practice. Retrieved from ECPR, European political science network. www.epsnet.org Keeling, R. (2006). The Bologna Process and the Lisbon research agenda: The European Commission’s expanding role in higher education discourse. European Journal of Education, 41(2), 203–223. Kehm, B. M. (2010). Editorial. The future of the Bologna Process – The Bologna Process of the future. European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 529–534. Kohler-Koch, B., & Eising, R. (1999). The transformation of governance in the European Union. London/New York: Routledge. Krejsler, J. B., Olsson, U., & Petersson, K. (2012). Governing Europe by comparison, peer pressure & self-interest: On the Bologna stocktaking process. Bulletin of Institute of Technology and Vocational Education, 9, 35–47. Lawn, M. (2011). Standardizing the European education policy space. European Educational Research Journal, 10(2), 259–272. Lawn, M. (2013). The Internationalisation of education data: Exhibitions, tests, standards and associations. In M. Lawn (Ed.), The rise of data in education systems. Collection, visualization and use. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Magalhães, A., & Amaral, A. (2009). Mapping out discourses on higher education governance. In J.  Huisman (Ed.), International perspectives on the governance of higher education. Alternative frameworks for coordination. New York: Routledge. McKiernan, H. H., & Birtwistle, T. (2008). The changing landscape of higher education: An analysis of how national change might be brought about in Amaerican higher education compared with the Bologna signatory states. Education and the Law, 20(4), 317–336. McKiernan, H. H., & Birtwistle, T. (2009). Making the implicit explicit: Demonstrating the value added of higher education by a qualifications framework. Journal of College and University Law, 36(2), 511–564. Miller, G. J. (2005). The political evolution of principal-agent models. Annual Review of Political Science, 8(1), 203–225. Miller, P., & Rose, N. (2008). Governing the present. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press.

66

3  The Bologna Process: From Hard Government to Soft Governance

Naidoo, R. (2003). Repositioning higher education as a global commodity: Opportunities and challenges for future sociology of education work. Britsh Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(2), 249–259. Naidoo, R., & Jamieson, I. (2005). Empowering participants or corroding learning? Towards a research agenda on the impact of student consumerism in higher education. Journal of Education Policy, 20(3), 267–281. Naidoo, R., Shankar, A., & Veer, E. (2011). The consumerist turn in higher education: Policy aspirations and outcomes. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(11–12), 1142–1162. Naidoo, R., & Williams, J. (2014). The neoliberal regime in English higher education: Charters, consumers and the erosion of the public good. Critical Studies in Education, 1, 208–223. Neave, G., & Amaral, A. (2008). On process, progress, succes and methodology or the unfolding of the Bologna Process as it appears to two reasonably benign observers. Higher Education Quaterly, 62(1/2), 40–62. Neave, G., & Maassen, P. (2007). The Bologna Process: An intergovernmental policy perspective. In P. Maassen & J. P. Olsen (Eds.), University dynamics and European integration. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Nóvoa, A. (2002). Ways of thinking about education in Europe. In A. Nóvoa & M. Lawn (Eds.), Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Nóvoa, A., & Lawn, M. (Eds.). (2002). Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. OECD. (1961). On economic growth and investment in education. Paper presented at the Policy Conference, October 1961, Washington. OECD. (1999). Measuring student knowledge and skills. A new framework for assessment. Paris: OECD Publications Service. Pasias, G., & Roussakis, Y. (2012). “Who marks the bench?” A critical review of the neo-­European “paradigm shift” through higher education policies and discourses. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(1), 127–141. Ravinet, P. (2008). From voluntary participation to monitored coordination: Why European countries feel increasingly bound by their commitment to the Bologna Process. Europan Journal of Education, 43(3), 353–367. Rinne, R. (2008). The growing supranational impacts od the OECD and the EU on national educational policies, and the case of Finland. Policy Futures in Education, 6(6), 665–680. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge. Robertson, S. (2008). Producing knowledge economies: The World Bank, the KAM, education and development. Bristol, UK: The Centre for Globalisation, Education and Societies, University of Bristol. Robertson, S., Dale, R., Moutsios, S., Nielsen, G. B., Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2012). Globalisation and regionalisation in higher education: Toward a new conceptual framework. (Summative Working Paper for Work Package 1. URGE, Working Paper 20, pp 1–69). Robertson, S., & Keeling, R. (2008). Stirring the lions: Strategy and tactics in global higher education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 6(3), 221–240. Roper, S.  D. (2007). European education reform and its impact on curriculum and admissions: Implications of the Bologna Process on united states education. Journal of Political Science Education, 3, 51–60. Rubenson, K. (2008). OECD education policies and world hegemony. In R. Mahon & S. McBride (Eds.), The OECD and transnational governance. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. Sarauw, L.-L. (2011). Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser: Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003. (PhD), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002a). Re-framing educational borrowing as a policy strategy. In M. Caruso & H.-E. Tenorth (Eds.), Internationalisierung. Semantik und Bildungssystem in vergleichender Perspektive. Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang.

References

67

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002b). Reterritorializing educational import. Explorations into the politics of educational borrowing. In A. Nóvoa & M. Lawn (Eds.), Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2004). Introduction. Globalization in education: Real or imagined? In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.), The global politics of educational borrowing and lending (pp. 1–6). New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding policy borrowing and lending. Building comparative policy studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Tomusk, V. (2007). Introduction. In V. Tomusk (Ed.), Creating the European area of higher education: Voices from the periphery. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Ursin, J., Zamorski, B., Stiwne, E.  E., Teelken, C., & Wihlborg, M. (2010). Introduction. The Bologna Process: Help or hindrance to the development of European higher education? European Educational Research Journal, 9(1), 29–31. Zeng, Q., Adams, J., & Gibbs, A. (2013). Are China and the ASEAN ready for a Bologna Process? Factors affecting the establishment of the China-ASEAN higher education area. Educational Review, 65(3), 321–341.

Chapter 4

Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

Standards, Standardization and Standardizing Processes Since the EU adopted the knowledge economy objectives in the 1990s, it has become increasingly important to govern education as a policy area in its own right. As mentioned above, standards have played a crucial role in this endeavor. Standards are particularly important given that education falls within the scope of the EU’s subsidiarity principle, which displaces higher education to the voluntary intergovernmental collaboration between member states in order to safeguard national latitude. The modus operandi of the Bologna Process proves to consist of standardization processes initiated through the Bologna objectives (Brøgger, 2016a, 2016b). The increased production of standards and pace of the standardizing processes is indicative of a shift in governance in Europe. In order to fully comprehend this shift empirically, it is important to theorize standards and standardizing processes. After all, such standards and standardizing processes seem to constitute the very DNA of the Bologna mode of governance and thus the development within higher education over the last 15 years. Of course, standardization in the broadest sense of the word has always been part of human communities. However, during the enlightenment, standardization was proliferated as part of the attempt to rationalize and control the world. The notion that predictability, accountability, and objectivity will follow uniformity belongs to the Enlightenment master narratives promising progress through increased rationality in control. (Timmermans & Berg, 2003: 8)

Rational thought and ‘empiricism’ propelled the standardization of scientific methods aimed at excluding competing hypotheses or errors. This was followed by an expansion of print culture and a dissemination of scientific knowledge which makes the enlightenment stand out as “a great project of standardization” (Busch, 2011: 83). Through mergers, digitalization of administrative procedures, and not least through a host of new standards that design quality assurance systems and redesign © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_4

69

70

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

the curriculum, higher education has moved in the direction of an increasingly intensive and extensive educational standardization (Goldstein & Heath, 2000). Of course, the educational system and its institutions have long been marked and shaped by certain standardization processes; however, they have not always been subject to the type of supranational governance that this monograph addresses. An earlier example of educational standardization is the modeling of elementary schools as factories in the nineteenth century. William Bagley (1874–1946) was influential in this standardizing process, which was designed to increase efficiency (Bagley, 1912) and he was not afraid to articulate his vision: “The school resembles a factory in that its duty lies in turning a certain raw material into a certain desired product” (1912: 4). This standardization ambition – also investigated as disciplinary techniques by Foucault in his 1975 work Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison – spanned class periods, school attendance, disciplinary measures, and the layout of the classroom, which represented the factory of the day: the teacher as head, the students as workers (all facing the same way behind desks in rows), and the standardized shape and positioning of the teacher’s desk; such a layout is still present in many traditional classroom settings today (Bagley, 1912: 126; Busch, 2011: 106–107; Foucault, 1975 [1995]). Another historical example is the new research university which was standardized through new disciplines and exams – the so-called “factories of science,” as polemicized by Nietzsche (Nietzsche, 1874 [1999]). However, through connections, collaborations and rekindled (governmental and institutional) anxieties to perform and compete, globalizing processes now seem to propel this travelling of standards even further (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000: 138–139; Goldstein & Heath, 2000). These globalizing processes make the standards extend across time and space. And they are usually on a mission to produce rules intended for others and to standardize policies or products and consequently to standardize those who are administered by or consume them; in the case of education, this include managers, professors and students (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Busch, 2000; Lampland & Star, 2009: 36). In 1976, the academic Raymond Williams published the famous Keywords; a vocabulary of culture and society. In this work, Williams traces the origin and development of various words – among others, the word standard. Williams examines how the word standard begins to be used in its more modern sense as early as the fifteenth century. During this century, the use and the meaning of the word transformed from signifying a source of authority – as in the ‘Royal Standard’ flag – to signifying weights and measures. During the nineteenth century, the word also changed to include levels of achievement (as it is often used today). However, the word standardization did not come into use until the late nineteenth century, when it emerged from science and industry. Williams remarks that the word standardization has been widely resisted when applied to matters of mind and experience, and he provides us with the example – that is both interesting and ironic in the context of this monograph  – that ‘teaching mustn’t be standardized’ (Williams, 1976: 296–299). In recent years, various definitions have been attached to the concept of standards, and these definitions are simultaneously at play. Some distinguish between

Standards, Standardization and Standardizing Processes

71

standards for people and standards for things. However, this distinction seems unsatisfactory, since standards for things often imply changes – and perhaps even standardizations – for humans and vice versa (Busch, 2011: 26). This type of separation also seems to presuppose a certain ontological distinction between humans and things, which is at odds with the philosophical standpoint of this monograph. A standard can be perceived as a ‘level’ of excellence; either as a yardstick for judging performance – as in ‘does she live up to the standards?’ (perhaps measured by a test) – or as an average level – as in ‘this is merely a standard product.’ A standard can also be perceived as ideal  – as in ‘she holds high moral standards’ (Sutherland, 2000) – or as a regulatory technology, which is closely connected to the understanding of standardizing processes mentioned above – that is, as something active and ongoing; a performative process (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; V.  Higgins & Larner, 2010). In addition to this definitional classification, Busch suggests an object-related classification of capitalist standards, which includes the standardization of the worker and the markets but also the standardization of standards themselves and those who create them (scientists, organizations like the OECD etc.) (Busch, 2000). Furthermore, Timmermans and Epstein (2010) suggest a typology consisting of four subtypes of standards: (1) Design standards, (2) terminological standards, (3) performance standards, and (4) procedural standards. The curricular standards in which I am interested present themselves as combinations of design standards and performance standards. On the one hand, they are structural specifications that outline the structure of the curriculum through the qualifications frameworks or the organizing of the degree programs (for example, through modularization). However, on the other hand, they also act as performance standards in the way that they specify outcomes; in the case of the qualifications frameworks, they outline how outcomes should be measured and they outline the professional levels of the outcomes. The modular standard is not a performance standard in the same sense; however, as I shall explain later, one of the apparent purposes of this standard is to accelerate the students’ performance, which, in its own way, makes it a performance standard. It is possible to distinguish between standards with high or low specificity. Some standards are specified in very formal and detailed manner to protect safety and health. This is the case for the building standards applied by architects, engineers, constructors and similar professionals in order to specify required minimum standards – or perhaps new innovative standards – to increase sustainability for the construction of objects. Other standards are characterized by low specificity; that is, few or even no detailed procedural instructions on how to implement the standard. This applies to high standards of conduct for certain professions that rely on implicit understandings within the profession (Timmermans & Epstein, 2010). But it also applies to some standards used on a large scale and as regulatory technologies, such as the European qualifications frameworks. The European qualifications frameworks present themselves as highly formal specifications; however, the Open Method of Coordination, through which these technologies are set in motion, does not contain detailed procedural instructions. I will elaborate on this particular example and the dynamics linked to these modes of governance later in this monograph.

72

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

Another way to highlight this monograph’s interest is to distinguish between the everyday standardizing practices of individual and working communities and the standardization practices used as a mode of governance. In daily life, most working communities routinize and standardize their mutual work practice in ways that make sense in regard to the tasks at hand. This monograph does not focus on such practices. Instead, it hopes to shed light on what occurs when standards are used as a regulative technology and become a mode of governance. Classifications, such as the one I just applied on standards, are themselves closely related to standards; however, as Bowker and Star explain, classifications and standards are not identical (Bowker & Star, 2000: 13–16). Despite this, given the various ways standards can be understood, it may prove difficult to effectively distinguish between the two concepts. Classification is a segmentation of the world. Ideally, classification works by setting certain classificatory principles in motion for the purpose of ordering, such as constructing a genealogical tree of family relations. And categories are (presumed to be) mutually exclusive; they are viewed as demarcated silos (to return to the genealogy example, the family tree classifies one father, one mother, and so on). This perception is clearly challenged by different ways of being a family, which (fortunately) causes the silos to collapse the very instant they are constructed (Bowker & Star, 2000: 10–16). However, this does not alter the classificatory principle of ordering the world by making objects fit neatly into silos. Finally, Bowker and Star argue that classificatory systems are complete in the sense that their purpose is to provide complete coverage of the world they describe. Of course, in practice, no classificatory systems meet these requirements; however, they are principles that propel the very effort to classify. Classifications may remain local and limited or they may become standardized and enlarged. At the same time, as Bowker and Star identify, every standard that has actually been realized as a standard tendentially imposes a classification system “between good and bad ways of organizing actions or things” (Bowker & Star, 2000: 15). Despite the entanglement of classifications and standards, it might be possible to outline a few characteristics of standards. The attraction of standards – along with other soft technologies – is governing without government within higher education reform processes (Lawn, 2011; Waldow, 2012). In many ways, the reform processes are propelled by the production of numerous interlocking standards or standards that are nested within other standards (Lampland & Star, 2009; Lawn & Grek, 2012). For instance, the development of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is entangled with the modular design of higher education, and the European and national qualifications frameworks are entangled with the curricular focus on learning outcomes. I will discuss both of these standardizing processes in Chap. 5. Standardizing de-historizes and de-individualizes; this is its purpose, because standards are a set of agreed-upon rules for the production of an object and are supposed to ensure reproducibility regardless of time and place (Brøgger, 2013). Moreover, a standard spans more than one site of activity, persists over time and aims to make things work together over distances (Bowker & Star, 2000). For exam-

The Onto-epistemology of Standards: Re-configuring Practice

73

ple, computers and computer-related communication involves an almost infinite number of standards. Educational systems are also highly standardized; consider standardized testing in school – for example, PISA – or the increasingly standardized higher education curricula. Summing up, in this monograph, I distinguish between standard, standardization and standardizing processes. I define and investigate standards as a form of regulation that is characterized by low specificity – that is, a form of regulation with few or no detailed procedural instructions, which prove to be part of what characterizes the governing mode of which the standards are part. I regard standardization as something that implies (the idea of) a process complete with the intent to construct uniformities across time and space. I employ this concept infrequently, since it implies a view of the standardizing processes based on realist and top-down assumptions. However, I often employ the concept of standardizing processes, which I understand as continual and processes of producing, distributing and reproducing these regulations (Bowker & Star, 2000; Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; V. Higgins & Larner, 2010; Timmermans & Epstein, 2010).

The Onto-epistemology of Standards: Re-configuring Practice As part of globalizing processes, organizational knowledge practices are continuously reinvented as more formalized and standardized. This development facilitates the emergence of standards and new auditing systems as powerful mechanism of modern governance (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Drori, Meyer, & Hwang, 2006; V. Higgins & Larner, 2010; Strathern, 2000; Tamm Hallström, 2004). However, the grand narratives on homogenization that accompany these extensive standardizations often fail to account for local contestations and challenges to, for instance, educational homogenization (Timmermans & Epstein, 2010). As Higgins and Larner identify, most scholarly research addresses these contemporary processes from a macrostructural approach and focuses on the international authorities responsible for setting certain standards (for example, in the case of education, the OECD), the global diffusion of certain standards, and the democratic consequences of non-state actors gaining power of governance through the setting of standards and hence the agenda (Borraz, 2007; Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; V. Higgins & Larner, 2010: 1; Tamm Hallström, 2004). However, there has been little research into how these standardizing processes are enacted in local settings. Mennicken argues – in line with Higgins and Larner – that most literature tends to focus on the rise and spread of global rules, “but not to their actual involvement in the reorganizing and redefining of local practices” (V. Higgins & Larner, 2010: 1–2, 207; Mennicken, 2008: 385). Again, as already mentioned in Chap. 2 of this monograph, it appears as though research into globalizing processes in recent years has begun to emphasize the importance of investigating how these processes are enacted and operationalized, how in this case the dream of ‘global’ standards or at least those of ‘European and beyond’ are given substance – or the opposite – as part of

74

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

everyday work practice. Mennicken argues that standards should be adjusted to the practice and environment into which they are brought. However, my philosophical approach in this monograph demands a more specific focus on the ways in which negotiations as part of everyday work practices enact and therefore also co-create and (re)configure standards (and hence governance) in certain ways (V. Higgins & Larner, 2010; Mennicken, 2008). Chapter 6 of this monograph will center on an enquiry into these everyday work practices. All of these various approaches to understanding and conceptualizing standards rest on different underlying philosophical assumptions. To a large extent, approaches that focus on macro-structural processes tend to work with more realist ways of designing and analyzing their research (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Drori et al., 2006; Tamm Hallström, 2004). In other words, these approaches perceive and execute their research on standards as ‘standardization,’ which, as mentioned above, views standards as part of a ‘completed’ process and a rationalization of the social, including work practices (V. Higgins & Larner, 2010: 205). In contrast, post-realist approaches emphasize how different practices and agents co-construct organizations and subjects that are governable through standards. These performative approaches tend to focus on the local adaptations, rejections and negotiations propelled by a perception of standards as part of an ongoing standardizing process that continually shapes and (re)configures social practices. However, even within post realist approaches, the units of analytical attention are debated. Governmentality-­ oriented approaches have been criticized for focusing exclusively on how the technologies of governing are discursively constructed at the level of those who seek to govern. But, again, this leaves aside the negotiations and contestations of standardizing practices that are part of everyday material work practices (V.  Higgins & Larner, 2010: 6). In this way, governmentality-driven analysis is exposed to the same critique as realist approaches, at least from the perspective of newer post realism/new materialism. However, it is likely that this critique represents a somewhat reductionist understanding of the sophisticated notion of discourse and governance developed by Foucault, which is undoubtedly relevant to a discussion of modern governance (Foucault, 1991, 2010). The issue at stake here does not seem to be part of Foucault’s philosophy itself, but rather the ways in which his philosophy is applied to current research objects. Foucault’s philosophy and conceptualizations are often used as a contemporary diagnosis. And this particular way of using Foucault means it is always possible to know the conclusions of any given analysis in advance, which is clearly an untenable position (Staunæs, 2007). The realist approaches tend to examine how standards inter-act with a world already structured and categorized in certain ways, whereas post-realist approaches tend to center on the ways in which standards (and classifications) are involved with the creation, shaping and (re)configuring of the world; they essentially alter that which they seek to govern (Bowker & Star, 2000; V. Higgins & Larner, 2010: 208). This implies that standards and standardizing processes do not merely exist at an epistemological level. Centering on epistemology alone would count as a more constructivist-inspired perspective and would neglect the ways in which standards intra-act with the material world; that is, the (material) practices of work and pro-

Setting Governance in Motion

75

duction of knowledge while doing education. As already mentioned, standards are always part of a practice or production; they come into existence by being enacted in specific places (Dunn, 2009; Mennicken, 2008). It is possible to refer to the ‘instruction paintings’ as an analogy. In instruction paintings, the artwork does not come into existence until others perform it/paint it. The same applies to standards. They do not come into existence until they are set in motion through practices and production, until others negotiate and contest them. From the moment negotiations begin, the standards themselves become something different and, at the same time, they occasion the alteration of that which they seek to govern. As such, standards are in constant flux; they are constantly migrating and transforming (both themselves and that which they meet on their way). They are historical and embedded in social practices. I refer to this entanglement of standards and organizational processes and practices as the onto-epistemological impact of standards. Standards are not merely discursive practices. Their trajectories and impacts reach deep into the ontological matter of everyday working life; for those who pave the infrastructures and for those who are supposed to implement the standards (I will elaborate on this in Chap. 6) (Millerand & Bowker, 2009: 165).

Setting Governance in Motion Standardization and measurement are integral parts of the new European educational policy processes. They are the means by which these processes are made governable. Standardization is a form of ‘steering and governing’ that gets things done without the legal competence to command that they be done, as in the case of the Bologna Process with its distributed form of organizing and absence of a legal center of authority. In this way, standardization compensates for the inability to issue direct orders and the absence of a common culture or a common community of practice; for example, between countries or between institutions (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000: 34, 38, 48; Czempiel, 1992: 250; Timmermans & Epstein, 2010: 71). Although governance is related to government, it is not backed by formal authorities (police power for instance) in the same way as government is. Instead, as Rosenau identifies, it is backed by shared goals (1992: 4). In this sense, governance is a more encompassing phenomenon that also includes non-state agents. It is a system of rule that uses mobilizing techniques and agents other than those of the state capacitating ‘governing at a distance’ (Brøgger, 2018; Lawn, 2011; P. Miller & Rose, 2008; Pasias & Roussakis, 2012; Rosenau, 1992). Rhodes suggests that governance implies self-organizing networks. Although insightful, this description is perhaps a little imprecise when applied to educational standards distributed through the Bologna Process. Rhodes claims that people tend to “enroll voluntarily” as part of the governing processes (Rhodes, 1996: 658; 1999: 9). Lawn agrees with this, and he also argues that governance is paved with persuasive incentive structures that draw actors to work within and produce it; in the case of the Bologna Process, one of these inscentive structures is the way standards are interlocked – the linking of

76

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

ECTS and modularization and qualification frameworks, outcome-based curricula and grading scales (in later sections, I will discuss the specific interlocking of these standards) (Lawn, 2006; Lawn & Grek, 2012). The shift to governance within the EU and the Bologna Process resonates with the public sector reforms that took place in many of the EU member states in the same period (Alexiadou, Fink-Hafner, & Lange, 2010; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010). It could be interesting to explore this relationship, though, unfortunately, this falls outside the scope of the current monograph. Many researchers, including Lawn, call the Bologna mode of governance ‘soft’ governance in order to distinguish it from ‘hard’ government. On this view, ‘soft’ governance refers to governance that does not emerge from a recognized legal center; instead, the legitimacy of governing authorities has to be negotiated. ‘Hard’ governance refers to coercive, direct orders based on the competency of government in which the legitimacy of governing can be demanded and enforced if necessary (Lawn, 2006: 280). The use of the soft/hard metaphor might suggest that ‘hard’ government is more regulative than ‘soft’ governance – that soft governance connotes something ‘gentle’ and ‘less intrusive.’ However, even in the absence of legal enforcement, so-­ called ‘soft’ governance can be very powerful and performative indeed. As mentioned previously, I suggest a different set of terms to describe this distinction: incentive and order. Nation states, institutions and people are incentivized to comply with the educational standards through incentive structures and interlocking standards. The interlocking standards constitute incentives in which one is encouraged to fulfill the political ambitions. Governance involves managing incentives by attracting people to and capturing people in an almost inescapable network of interlocking standards. It is not about coercive, direct orders. For this reason, I argue that it is possible to distinguish between incentive-based governance and order-based government and to substitute this for the metaphor soft/hard. In recent years, incentive-based governance has been a major force in governing European higher education. Many actors and agencies are involved in these processes, which include bench marking, measurements and extensive standardization technologies to govern performance. The standardizations range from specified regulatory requirements to descriptions of quality assurance, good practice or curriculum frameworks with low specificity  – the latter being at the center of this monograph (Brøgger & Karseth, 2020 (forthcoming); ENQA, 2015; Lawn, 2011). Standardization is the key to setting in motion incentive-based governance without government. Standards are an integral part of the governance (without government) of higher education at the level of the Bologna Process and the EU (Stensaker, Harvey, Huisman, Langfeldt, & Westerheijden, 2010). This particular way of governing appears to leave the national systems intact while simultaneously producing major changes, which also means that the smooth policy operation can subtly bypass the subsidiarity principle. Standards simply make the European Higher Education Area governable without the use of government at the international level. Or, in other words, the shift from government to governance is indicative of a new mode of governing shaped by a veritable explosion in the quantity and scope of standards

Setting Governance in Motion

77

(Busch, 2007; Lawn & Grek, 2012: 77; Steiner-Khamsi, 2013). Meanwhile, these governing capacities, that are being displayed at the level of the Bologna Process and the EU, have proven flexible and by recycling particular governing technologies such as comparative scorecards, graphs and league tables they now also permeate governance of education at national levels (Valverde, 2015: 52). The increased production of educational standards might lead to the assumption that this new mode of governance lays the foundation for a reemergence of industrialization. This assumption is based on the idea that the production of standards ensures the ‘reproducibility’ of the ‘product’; that the product can be produced regardless of time and space. Following Walter Benjamin’s critique of modern commodification in 1935 through his famous understanding of ‘reproduction’ in his well-known critical essay on society and culture, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Technical reproducibility), the reproductive techniques substitute mass existence for a unique existence by replicating (Benjamin, 1936 [1991]). In many ways, this also seems to apply to the accelerated mass-production of educational standards produced by the follow­up mechanisms of the Bologna Process (which I will discuss in Chap. 5). However, upon a closer analysis of the dynamics of the production of standards, it becomes clear that the educational standards produced within the OMC structures differ from industrial standards. As already indicated (and as I will expand on later), the main dynamic of this form of governance is the participants’ voluntary co-option of themselves into the process. It is therefore not surprising that detailed procedural descriptions appear to be absent from the standards. For example, in the case of qualifications frameworks, the standard consists of this framework but no procedural instructions on how precisely to implement it. Of course, since the Bologna Process is a voluntary intergovernmental collaboration and cannot compromise domestic legislation, such a detailed instruction is unable to be passed as law. It is the responsibility of each country to decide on the ways in which they wish to implement the new standards. Having said this, the implementation process is strictly monitored through follow-up mechanisms. The absence of procedural instructions leaves a large void in which there is plenty of room for benchmarking, peer pressure and monitoring. And it is precisely this void that nourishes the new governance and makes it so efficient, despite the absence of detailed procedural instructions coerced through ‘hard law.’ Of course, in spite of the shared mass-­ production, the dynamics through which the standards are produced are different from nineteenth century factory industrialization, which was marked by detailed and rigid procedural instructions that efficiently production-lined modern goods. In many ways, industrialization has shifted from content standards to framework standards, in which content can be negotiated but only under the strict guidance of peer pressure through benchmarking exercises. This also explains why the gap between a standard and its complex translations presents itself as a particularly vibrant analytical unit – how the void is filled in various ways depending on the agents (for example, country, organization, and individual). I shall later discuss how these standards create and shape overlapping and occasionally colliding social worlds.

78

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

 he Policy Ontology of the Governing Mode of the Bologna T Process As we have established, the Bologna Process’ status as a voluntary intergovernmental collaboration affects its mode of governance. In order to analyze the complex dynamics of this new mode of governance transparently, I distinguish between policy and policy ontology. The governing mode of the Bologna Process can be viewed as ‘monitored coordination.’ This monitored coordination should not be mistaken for a specific policy in itself. Rather, it should be viewed as something that accounts for how specific policies work. In this sense, drawing on Wahlström and Dale’s Pawson-inspired concept of ‘program ontology’ (Dale, 2004; 2009: 131; Pawson, 2002; Wahlström, 2010), it can be perceived as a kind of ‘policy ontology’ in the sense that it involves the ‘quality’ or the condition and constitution of the ways in which policies work. It refers to the ways in which the policies work – the underlying reasons and resources they offer to agents, such as member states, that generate change. In the Sorbonne Declaration from 1998 and the Bologna Declaration from 1999, the new mode of governance presents itself as the ambition to harmonize the architecture of the European higher education system through intergovernmental collaboration and new educational standards, such as the three cycles, the credit system, and quality assurance. The policy ontology is constituted by the absence of ‘government’ and decrees and the presence of ‘incentives’ and standards. The monitored coordination that characterizes the Bologna mode of governance is largely indistinguishable from the very same shift in governance that took place within the EU codified as the Open Method of Coordination and formally adopted by the Lisbon European Council in 2000 (Gornitzka, 2005). The near conflation of the EU Lisbon Agenda and the Bologna Process in 2000 meant that the two processes converged into one policy framework, especially in terms of the underlying policy ontology. However, before this occurred, the monitored coordination – which formed a part of both processes  – seemed to follow slightly different historical trajectories. It is possible to identify initial outlines of the shift in governance within the EU in the 1994 presidency conclusions of the European Council (European Council, 1994): The European Council urges the Member States to transpose these recommendations in their individual policies into a multiannual programme having regard to the specific features of their economic and social situation. It requests the Labour and Social Affairs and Economic and Financial Affairs Councils and the Commission to keep close track of employment trends, monitor the relevant policies of the Member States and report annually to the European Council on further progress on the employment market, starting in December 1995. (European Council, 1994: 1.5)

The presidency decisions to monitor the development and progress of the member states draw on Delors’ 1993 white paper on growth, competitiveness and employment (European Commission, 1993; Schäfer, 2004: 8; Veiga & Amaral, 2006: 284–285).

The Policy Ontology of the Governing Mode of the Bologna Process

79

According to Schäfer, who draws attention to national implementation and the Commission’s appointed task to surveil member states, the core elements of the Open Method of Coordination were already in place in 1994. Coordination padded with ‘soft’ monitoring was established as an accepted ‘modus operandi’ – a mode of governance that did not compromise domestic policy-making (Schäfer, 2004: 8). In this way, the Open Method of Coordination once again seems to date back to decisions inscribed in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, particularly the subsidiarity principle (Alexiadou et al., 2010; Schäfer, 2004). In 2000, the monitored coordination was codified as The Open Method of Coordination as part of the Lisbon Agenda. Implementing this strategy will be achieved by improving the existing processes, introducing a new open method of coordination at all levels, coupled with a stronger guiding and coordinating role for the European Council to ensure more coherent strategic direction and effective monito-ring of progress [accentuation, KB]. (European Council, 2000: article 7)

In article 7, it was clearly stated that one of the Open Method of Coordination’s ambitions was to effectively monitor the progress of the member states. Later, in article 37, some of the elements involved in this new method of coordination were outlined: Implementation of the strategic goal will be facilitated by applying a new open method of coordination as the means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals. This method, which is designed to help Member States to progressively develop their own policies, involves: • fixing guidelines for the Union combined with specific timetables for achieving the goals which they set in the short, medium and long terms; • establishing, where appropriate, quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks against the best in the world and tailored to the needs of different Member States and sectors as a means of comparing best practice; • translating these European guidelines into national and regional policies by setting specific targets and adopting measures, taking into account national and regional differences; • periodic monitoring, evaluation and peer review organised as mutual learning processes. [emphasis, KB]. (European Council, 2000: article 37)

As an intergovernmental mode of governance, The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) differs from the established mode of EU decision-making: the Community Method (CM), which, among other things, is characterized by the Commission’s right to initiative and a widespread use of majority voting in the Council (Gornitzka, 2005). The OMC incorporates benchmarking and monitoring as part of the new governance (Grek et al., 2011; Walters & Haahr, 2005), and many of its instruments (outlined in the extract above) also became part of the monitored coordination of the Bologna Process. As the extracts show, the OMC is based on voluntariness and the assigning of greater priority to benchmarking and local best practice (Dale, 2004; European Council, 2000; Gornitzka, 2005; Henckel & Wright, 2008; Keeling, 2006). The OMC works by individual countries implementing concepts and ideas within national laws and regulations. As a result of collective pressure and the profound

80

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

incentive structures, it becomes untenable and unrealistic to remain outside the OMC framework. An example of this is the continuous transformation of the Bologna incentive structures. From its informal and flexible beginnings, the process gradually slid into more unified and formal constraints, which have since proved very binding for the signatory states (Ravinet, 2008). This is displayed most powerfully through the development of the follow-up mechanisms applied during the process. It is possible to understand European governance through its instruments and the processes in which these instruments are used (Lascoumes & Gales, 2007; Ravinet, 2008; Salamon, 2002a, 2002b; Zito, Radaelli, & Jordan, 2003). The instruments form part of the policy ontology – how the policies work and the quality and condition of their infrastructure. As Ravinet argues, the tools of the monitored coordination became increasingly standardized as the process advanced (Ravinet, 2008: 358). Ravinet identifies the process as a movement from ‘voluntary participation’ to ‘monitored coordination’ (Ravinet, 2008). Some of the disciplining technologies used to evaluate the implementation of the Bologna objectives are national reports, the Trends reports from the European University Association (EUA), stocktaking reports, and the BFUG (The Bologna Follow-up Group). At the outset, national reports were voluntary, but they soon become binding – as we shall see in Chap. 5 – and were followed by demands of extensive standardization, which facilitated comparisons between participating countries. The development of these monitoring techniques was accelerated by the so-called TUNING project  – TUNING Educational Structures in Europe  – which started in 2000. The purpose of the TUNING project was to link the political objectives of the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Strategy to the higher educational sector by contributing to the development of the design and evaluation of first, second and third cycle degree programs. As we shall see later, TUNING developed templates for the implementation of the ECTS credit system and efficiently propelled the spread and impact of the new educational standards. Because of the similarity in which monitored coordination is practiced within the scope of the EU and within the scope of the Bologna Process, researchers widely accept that the Bologna Process is governed through the Open Method of Coordination. However, contrary to many researchers, Ravinet argues that the OMC and the ‘Bologna method’ were introduced and developed in very different ways (Ravinet, 2008). I agree with some of Ravinet’s claims, and I believe she deserves credit for her meticulous approach and close reading of the empirical material, which clarifies and further comprehends the complex follow-up mechanisms (which I will address in detail in Chap. 5). However, I suggest a slightly adjusted view. My analysis of the shift in governance and the policy ontology strongly indicate both a historical and an analytical argument for the EU and the Bologna monitoring ­coinciding. Firstly, the new mode of governance within both the EU through the Lisbon agenda and through the initiation of the Bologna Process follows historical trajectories that lead back to the subsidiarity principle codified in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The

The Policy Ontology of the Governing Mode of the Bologna Process

81

shift from government to governance has everything to do with this principle and the bypassing of it (as already shown). Secondly, the monitored coordination, which is part of the EU and the Bologna Process, shares the same policy ontology. This is the reason it is widely accepted that the Bologna Process is governed through the OMC. The reasons for this premise are not based on the fact that the Open Method of Coordination is formally adopted as part of the Bologna Process and hence explicitly stated in the communiqués; instead, they are based on the resemblance in monitoring practices. Or, in other words, they are based on the condition that the EU processes and the Bologna processes share the same policy ontology (underpinning the governance turn in Europe as such (Ozga, Segerholm, & Simola, 2011)) – not the same policies. They share the ways in which the policies work; they share a ‘practice’ and what they offer to generate change, which is nothing less than the opportunity to become the best performing country in Europe and beyond.

 ummary: Governance Through the Open Method S of Coordination The incentive-based governance uses extensive standardization processes as a main technology to govern performance. Since the production of standards and standardizing processes now forms the core of new higher education governance, it proved necessary to theorize standards and standardizing processes in order to further analyze their character and their effect on the development of higher education in Europe. By theorizing standards, I was able to develop a performative notion on standards that emphasizes how standards come into existence through practices. This approach underlines the onto-epistemological character of standards and argues that the impact of standards permeates the ontological matter of everyday working life in higher education organizations. Standardization is a form of steering that ensures that major changes (for example in the design of the curriculum) can be executed without a legal center of authority to command it. Standardization is one of the ‘mobilizing techniques’ used in order to make the new European education policy area governable. The Bologna mode of governance is characterized by a ‘monitored coordination,’ which was originally codified as the Open Method of Coordination within the EU  – a certain work practice formally adopted by the Lisbon European Council in 2000. I argue that the monitored coordination, the OMC, constitutes the ontology of the Bologna Process. I use the concept of policy ontology to capture how specific policies work and the quality and constitution of how they work. The ontology of the Bologna Process is characterized by the absence of ‘government’ and decrees and the presence of ‘incentives’ and standards. The OMC works by individual countries implementing the ratified objectives within national law. It is based on the voluntary enrollment of member states as part of the governing processes. Because of the collective pressure and the profound

82

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

incentive structures, it becomes untenable and unrealistic to remain outside the OMC framework. The OMC is not formally adopted by the Bologna Process, but it is widely accepted that the Bologna mode of governance is virtually indistinguishable from the OMC. I argue that this is due to the resemblance in monitoring practices between the EU and the Bologna Process. The EU and the Bologna Process share the same policy ontology – not necessarily the same policies. They share the ways in which the policies work – a certain work practice. The Bologna mode of governing leaves national systems intact while simultaneously producing major reform changes. This shift in governance seems to bypass the subsidiarity principle, and, since it relies on ‘peer pressuring each other’ rather than ‘politicians coercing direct orders’ ‘from the top,’ it could be argued that it represents a more efficient mode of governing. In Chap. 5, I will discuss the ways in which certain standards gain a hegemonic status and, in Chap. 6, I will explore the impact and contingent effects of the standards as they unfold among professors and managers in higher education institutions.

References Alexiadou, N., Fink-Hafner, D., & Lange, B. (2010). Education policy convergence through the open method of coordination: Theoretical reflections and implementation in ‘old’ and ‘new’ national contexts. European Educational Research Journal, 9(3), 345–358. Bagley, W. C. (1912). Classroom management; its principles and technique. London: HardPress Publishing/The Macmillian Company. Benjamin, W. (1936 [1991). Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. In R. Tiedemann & H. Schweppenhäuser (Eds.), Gesammelte Schriften (Vol. I, 2). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp Verlag. Borraz, O. (2007). Governing standards: The rise of standardization processes in France and in the EU. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20(1), 57–84. Bowker, G.  C., & Star, S.  L. (2000). Sorting things out. Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Brøgger, K. (2013). Akademisk samlebåndsballade. Lidt om de organisatoriske effekter af uddannelsesstandardisering. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift (Danish Journal of Education), 2, 27–37. Brøgger, K. (2016a). Du skal ville det, du skal. Om de videregående uddannelsers nye tilskyndelsesøkonomi. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift. Danish Journal of Education, 2, 87–99. Brøgger, K. (2016b). The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: Governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 72–91. Brøgger, K. (2018). The performative power of (non)human agency assemblages of soft governance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(5), 353–366. Brøgger, K., & Karseth, B. (2020 (forthcoming)). Federalization of quality assurance in higher education? Taking stock on account of the 20th anniversary of the Bologna process: An examination of federalization through accreditation procedures. Studies in Higher Education. Brunsson, N., & Jacobsson, B. (2000). A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Busch, L. (2000). The moral economy of grades and standards. Journal of Rural Studies, 16, 273–283. Busch, L. (2007). Measuring up: How standards shape our lives (quoated in Lawn & Grek 2012). Invited paper presented at the Economic and Social Research Council Genomics and Policy Forum, University of Edinburgh, May.

References

83

Busch, L. (2011). Standards. Recipes for realities. Cambridge, MA/London: The MIT Press. Czempiel, E.-O. (1992). Governance and democratization. In J.  N. Rosenau & E.-O.  Czempiel (Eds.), Governance without government: Order and change in world politics. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Dale, R. (2004). Forms of governance, governmentality and the EU’s open method of coordination. In W.  Larner & W.  Walters (Eds.), Global governmentality (pp.  174–194). New  York: Routledge. Dale, R. (2009). Studying globalisation in education: Lisbon, the open method of coordination and beyond. In R. Dale & S. Robertson (Eds.), Globalisation and Europeanisation in education. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Drori, G. S., Meyer, J. W., & Hwang, H. (2006). Globalization and organization. World society and organizational change. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Dunn, E.  C. (2009). Standards without infrastructure. In M.  Lampland & S.  L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca. New York: Cornell University Press. ENQA. (2015). Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European higher education area (ESG). Brussels, Belgium. European Commission. (1993). European communities bulletin, supplement 6/93. Growth, competitiveness, employment. The challenges and ways forward into the 21st century. White Paper (COM(93) 700, 5 December 1993. Parts A and B). Brussels, Luxembourg. European Council. (1994). Presidency conclusions. Meeting on 9 and 10 December 1994 in Essen. European Council. (2000). Lisbon European council 23 and 24 March (The Lisbon strategy/ agenda). Foucault, M. (1975 [1995]). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage Books. Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In C. G. Burchell & P. Miller (Eds.), The foucault effect: Studies in governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M. (2010). The government of self and others. Lectures at the College de France. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Goldstein, H., & Heath, A. (2000). In H. Goldstein & A. Heath (Eds.), Educational standards (Vol. 102). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Gornitzka, Å. (2005). Coordinating policies for a ‘Europe of knowledge’. Emerging practices of the ‘Open Method of Coordination’ in education and research (Arena working papers, 16). Grek, S., Lawn, M., Lingard, B., Ozga, J., Rinne, R., Segerholm, C., et al. (2011). National policy brokering and the construction of the European education space in England, Sweden, Finland and Scotland. In J. Ozga, P. Dahler-Larsen, C. Segerholm, & H. Simola (Eds.), Fabricating quality in education. Data and governance in Europe. London/New York: Routledge. Henckel, O., & Wright, S. (2008). The Bologna Process: A voluntary method of coordination and marketisation? (Henckel interviewed by Wright). Teaching and Learning, 1(2), 1–24. Higgins, V., & Larner, W. (2010). In V.  Higgins & W.  Larner (Eds.), Calculating the social. Standards and the reconfiguration of governing. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Keeling, R. (2006). The Bologna Process and the Lisbon Research Agenda: The European Commission’s expanding role in higher education discourse. European Journal of Education, 41(2), 203–223. Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lascoumes, P., & Gales, P. L. (2007). Introduction: Understanding public policy through its instruments—From the nature of instruments to the sociology of public policy instrumentation. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20(1), 1–21. Lawn, M. (2006). Soft governance and the learning spaces of Europe. Comparative European Politics, 4, 272–288. Lawn, M. (2011). Standardizing the European education policy space. European Educational Research Journal, 10(2), 259–272.

84

4  Standardizing Europe: Standards as a Mode of Governance

Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Mennicken, A. (2008). Connecting worlds: The translation of international auditing standards into post-Soviet audit practice. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33, 384–414. Miller, P., & Rose, N. (2008). Governing the present. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press. Millerand, F., & Bowker, G. C. (2009). Metadata standards. Trajectories and enctment in the life of an ontology. In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press. Nietzsche, F. W. (1874 [1999]). Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben. Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen. Berlin, Germany: Taschenbuch Verlag. Ozga, J., Segerholm, C., & Simola, H. (2011). The governance turn. In J. Ozga, P. Dahler-Larsen, C. Segerholm, & H. Simola (Eds.), Fabricating quality in education. Data and governance in Europe. London/New York: Routledge. Pasias, G., & Roussakis, Y. (2012). “Who marks the bench?” A critical review of the neo-­European “paradigm shift” through higher education policies and discourses. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(1), 127–141. Pawson, R. (2002). Evidence-based policy: The promise of ‘realist synthesis. Evaluation, 8(3), 340–358. Ravinet, P. (2008). From voluntary participation to monitored coordination: Why European countries feel increasingly bound by their commitment to the Bologna Process. Europan Journal of Education, 43(3), 353–367. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1996). The new governance: Governing without government. Political Studies, 44(4), 652–667. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1999). Understanding governance: Comparing public sector reform in Britain and Denmark. Copenhagen, Denmark: Demokratiprojektet. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge. Rosenau, J.  N. (1992). Governance, order, and change in world politics. In J.  N. Rosenau & E.-O. Czempiel (Eds.), Governance without government: Order and change in world politics. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Salamon, L. M. (2002a). The new governance and the tools of public action: An introduction. In L. M. Salamon (Ed.), The tools of government. A guide to the new governance. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Salamon, L.  M. (2002b). The tools approach and the new governance: Conclusion and implications. In L.  M. Salamon (Ed.), The tools of government. A guide to the new governance. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Schäfer, A. (2004). Beyond the community method: Why the open method of coordination was introduced to EU policy-making. European Integration Online Papers (EIoP), 8(13), 1–23. Staunæs, D. (2007). Subversive analysestrategier (subversive analytical strategies). In J. Kofoed & D.  Staunæs (Eds.), Magtballader (pp.  252–268). København, Denmark: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitetsforlag. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2013). What is wrong with the what-went-right approach in educational policy? European Educational Research Journal, 12(1), 20–33. Stensaker, B., Harvey, L., Huisman, J., Langfeldt, L., & Westerheijden, D. F. (2010). The impact of the european Standarrds and guidelines in agency evaluations. European Journal of Education, 45(4), 577–587. Strathern, M. (2000). Audit cultures. Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy. London/New York: Routledge. Sutherland, G. (2000). Educational standards in historical perspective (with discussion by Gillian Sutherland, Anthony Heath and Sig Prais) by Richard Aldrich. In H.  Goldstein & A.  Heath (Eds.), Educational standards. Proceedings in British Academy (Vol. 102). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Tamm Hallström, K. (2004). Organizing international standardization. Iso and the IASC in quest of authority. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

References

85

Timmermans, S., & Berg, M. (2003). The gold standard: The challenge of evidence-based medicine and standardization in health care. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Timmermans, S., & Epstein, S. (2010). A world of standards but not a standard world: Toward a sociology of standards and standardization. The Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 69–89. Valverde, M. (2015). Chronotopes of law: Jurisdiction, scale, and governance. Abingdon/Oxon, UK: Routledge. Veiga, A., & Amaral, A. (2006). The open method of coordination and the implementation of the Bologna Process. Tertiary Education and Management, 12(4), 283–295. Wahlström, N. (2010). A European space for education looking for its public. European Educational Research Journal, 9(4), 432–443. Waldow, F. (2012). Standardisation and legitimacy. Two central concepts in research on educational borrowing and lending. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Walters, W., & Haahr, J. H. (2005). Governing Europe. Discourse, governmentality and European integration. London/New York: Routledge. Williams, R. (1976). Keywords; a vocabulary of culture and society. London: Fontana. Zito, A., Radaelli, C.  M., & Jordan, A. (2003). Introduction to the symposium on ‘New policy instruments in the European Union’. Public Administration, 81(3), 509–511.

Chapter 5

The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

Monitoring as a Standardizing Technique How is it that certain fashions, fads, and trends seem to spread throughout populations with a rapidity that seems to defy the logic or rationality? How do certain fears and forms of hysteria, mania and emotion spread such that they appear to bypass rationality and reason (Blackman quotes William James (Blackman, 2012: 56–57)).

Standards travel. They extend across time and space. And they are usually on a mission: to standardize policies or products and consequently also those who are administered by or consume them, such as managers, professors and students in the field of higher education (Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016; Busch, 2000; Lampland & Star, 2009: 36). Lisa Blackman’s paraphrase of William James’s original thoughts on contagion and spread may be interesting for the issue of how standards travel and how organizations, managers and professors are involved in and affected by such travel. Through connections, collaborations, and rekindled enthusiasm and anxiety to perform and compete, globalizing processes further propel this spread and translation of standards (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000: 138–139). The master narrative of a standard, which is often closely linked to the political ambition of the standardizer, tends to exclude dissenting practices and to gloss over – or make invisible – messy educational reals (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Lampland & Star, 2009: 22, 121). Furthermore, literature on the spread of standards often conceptualizes the travelling of standards as contagious processes resulting in epidemic spreads (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Cort, 2010). The metaphor of contagion is appealing because it appears as though standards travel without any evidence to justify their spread; this metaphor has also been used historically to explain affective and social circulation across spaces and bodies, particularly in relation to mass psychological phenomena as a concern for governance and regulation (Blackman, 2007a, 2007/2008; Thrift, 2008; Wetherell, 2012). However, the metaphor of contagion and epidemic inevitably calls for the normative ‘pointing-out’ of ‘sick carriers,’ since it is connected to the medical germ theories developed by Koch © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_5

87

88

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

and Pasteur in the nineteenth century (Blackman, 2007b). In addition, detached from its medical backdrop, the metaphor is often used as a causal explanation in itself. As such, explanations as to why standards travel seem to stop as soon as the metaphor is introduced. I would like to argue that the metaphor does not serve as an explanation, since it leaves us with questions such as: What are the limits of circulation and why is everything not always circulated? (Wetherell, 2012: 142). This metaphor does not explain how standards spread or how educational organizations, managers and professors are affected by the circulation of educational standardizations. Having said this, I recognize the merits of using the metaphor diffractively. As already mentioned in Chap. 2, Barad’s notion of diffraction as a psysical phenomenon is explained by an appeal to water waves and how they diffract when they encounter an obstacle – that is, how they bend and spread in ways they would not do if they had not encountered the obstacle. Translated into the context of this monograph, this highlights the value of reading insights through one another and noticing how the encounters bend the insights in different ways (Barad, 2007: 71ff; Jackson & Mazzei, 2012: 114). I therefore do not read the spread of educational standards in an oppositional practice against the contagion metaphor (Barad, 2007: 89–90); instead, I use my encounter with the metaphor to help me shape and bend my own research interests and sharpen my critical understanding of the type of deficiency the metaphor identifies within my research field. The metaphor seems to cancel the agency dimension of policy transfer – including educational standards – because it tends to assume that policies happen to people and not that people actively participate in policies themselves. However, as mentioned in previous chapters (and as I will show in the analysis below), a major driver in the spread of standards is active participation in standardizing processes and infra-structuring which provides standards with paths to travel on and attractors to desire and be affected by. In this part of the monograph, I aim to display how standards are spread within higher education and to shed light on how organizations, managers and professors are affected. I thereby question the metaphor of this spread as a process of contagious, viral epidemics. I wish to focus on the ‘how’ of the spread by performing ethnographic research on the travelling paths of two standards. As I will demonstrate later, the empirical material suggests that the spread of standards is facilitated by a material-­ affective infrastructure in which materiality and affectivity bring life to each other, making the infrastructure remarkably efficient in spreading the standards. Standards are sensitive to how organizational agents infrastructure.1 In the case of higher education reform, infrastructure is that which runs underneath structures, but it proves a little more difficult to carve out than the infrastructure of (for instance) railroad tracks or electricity. Infrastructure is that upon which something else works – therefore, the phenomenon of infrastructure can also be referred to as ‘path-­ dependence´; in my monograph, this should be understood as how standards (and their translations) depend on established paths – ways of “doing infrastructuring” in the organization or adjacent organizations (Busch, 2011: 60; Star & Bowker, 2006). 1  In order to accentuate the ‘agentic dimension’, I allow myself to use ‘infrastructure’ not only as a noun but also as a verb; an activity, a doing.

The Infrastructure of the Policy Ontology: Follow-Up Mechanisms

89

I have chosen the concept of infrastructure because it already forms an integrated part of the body of literature on standards and because, empirically and analytically, it indicates materiality. I am not interested in reintroducing a classic structural perspective. Instead, I am interested in material path-dependence – that the notion of ‘infrastructure’ denotes the ways in which something materializes and organizes. Even human bodies can be regarded as infrastructures if face-to-face conversation or social interaction is the object of study. In such a study, facial expressions or the twitch of a muscle would emerge as infrastructure (Star & Bowker, 2006). In the case of standardizing processes within higher education, the infrastructures are essentially composed of other agents’ practices, such as communication paths, channels and frameworks for reporting. This means that infrastructures are always embedded in other structures and organizational practices and, hence, they are relative to working conditions and the designs and practices of the agents who perform the infrastructuring. For example, when encountering a discrepancy between official understandings of the reform implementation and the practices encountered as part of everyday organizational life, it is worth examining the infrastructures further to see how they are practiced. In relation to the Bologna Process, the infrastructures are present as part of the dynamics of the Open Method of Coordination and the way in which this coordination is scaffolded by certain frameworks for reporting; such frameworks are highly performative in terms of making certain aspects of the implementation processes invisible (as we will see later).

 he Infrastructure of the Policy Ontology: Follow-Up T Mechanisms The Bologna Process is well known for its collaborative working mode, its expansion, its speed of expansion, and its swift transformation of higher education architectures (Ravinet, 2008; Robertson, 2009). But what provides the Bologna Process with this kind of momentum? In order to understand why participation in the Bologna Process is becoming increasingly binding for the member states  – thus making it increasingly unviable to remain outside the so-called voluntary OMC structures – it is necessary to look more closely at what I call the infrastructure of the policy ontology. The concept of infrastructure describes the mechanisms that the ontology comprises for generating change. Or, in other words, in order to ‘work’, governance needs an infrastructure (Lawn & Segerholm, 2011). As previously mentioned, the new educational standards outlined in the Sorbonne and Bologna declarations and the subsequent communiqués depend on paths  – ways of ‘doing infrastructuring’. The analytic concept of infrastructuring indicates a certain materiality – infrastructure can be seen as the way in which the ontology materializes or manifests itself. The infrastructure is the matterology of the ontology. As I argued in Chap. 2, matterology involves tracing the crafting of ontologies.

90

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

The act of carving out the infrastructures – as the following ethnographic study will do – is an act of tracing and exposing the crafting of the ontology of the Bologna Process; the paths on which the Bologna Process depend. In order to explore these materializations, I will focus on the meticulously tailored follow-up mechanisms. By investigating these infrastructural mechanisms, I hope to shed light on the performative effects of this new mode of governance and hence the performative effects of the new educational standards discussed in Chap. 6. According to Ravinet, it is not the informal declarations in and of themselves, nor the vision that they express, nor the national or local use of the Bologna objectives but the structure of the follow-up mechanisms that creates a strong sense of obligation to the process (Ravinet, 2008: 354). The follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process can be identified as a follow-up structure; that is, the steering structure of the process, which consists of the Bologna Follow-Up Group, interconnected steering groups and secretarial backup, and the tools and instruments used to steer – for instance, national reports (Brøgger, 2018a). I will address both aspects of the follow-up mechanisms in this chapter. The first follow-up group was created in 1998  in connection with the initial Sorbonne meeting (the Sorbonne Follow-Up Group; SFUG). The group worked as a preparatory group for the following ministerial conference in 1999, the Bologna meeting, and formed a precedent for the final structure of the Bologna Process established in 1999. Although the European Commission was part of this early follow-­up group and the subsequent Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) from the outset, it is usually the Prague meeting in 2001 that is regarded as the occasion when the Commission became fully included. In Prague, the Commission was invited to become a full member of the BFUG on equal terms with member states: The Bologna process coincides with Commission policy in higher education over the years through the European co-operation programmes and notably Socrates-Erasmus. In Prague, this fact was acknowledged and the Commission was invited to become a full member of the Bologna follow-up structure, alongside the Signatory States (European Commission, 2003a: 2).

It is clear that the Commission advocated close ties between the Bologna Process and the EU Lisbon strategy: The Commission supports and stimulates Bologna activities at European level and participates as a full member in the Bologna Follow-up Group and the Bologna Board. From an EU perspective the Bologna process fits into a broader agenda defined in Lisbon in March 2000, when EU Heads of State and Government decided on an objective and a strategy to make Europe by 2010 “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-­ based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion” (European Commission, 2003b: 1).

The close connection between the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Strategy was further corroborated by the Commission in the interim report on the implementation of the ‘Education and Training’ objectives. Under the headline ‘accelerating the Bologna Reforms,’ the Commission connected their report on education and training goals to their report on the Bologna objectives (European Commission, 2003c; Gornitzka, 2005: 21). This connection was confirmed by the interviews that Lažetić conducted with current and former representatives – as well as some consultative

The Infrastructure of the Policy Ontology: Follow-Up Mechanisms

91

members – of the BFUG in 2009. In these interviews, one Commission representative stated that the Commission “used the chance to take the goals of the Bologna Process and repack them into the Lisbon strategy” (Lažetić, 2010: 552). He continued by confirming that the Commission’s major political objectives were structured around the Lisbon Strategy and the Bologna Process. In 1999, the scale of the Bologna Process changed dramatically; within a year, it increased from 4 countries (France, the UK, Germany and Italy) to 29 signatory countries. It was therefore decided to establish a two-group structure for the follow­up group. The larger group included the signatory countries and the European Commission. The smaller steering group consisted of representatives from previous, current and future hosts of the presidency, the European Commission and a few other participants. The larger group was the mandated decision-making body between the ministerial conferences; the steering group was supposed to organize the next conference and was thus quite similar to the SFUG in its structure and mission (Lažetić, 2010). The follow-up structure was increasingly strengthened and formalized in the Prague (2001) and the Berlin (2003) communiqués (Ravinet, 2008). However, the smaller group experienced a period of transition after 2001 and, in 2003, the preparatory group (the former steering group) was turned into the board. At this point, the structure became even more closely aligned with the EU, since the board was now chaired by the rotating EU presidency. According to Ravinet, this final design  – which meant that non-EU signatory countries could not chair the board – cemented the process of convergence with EU interests (Ravinet, 2008: 360). However, this changed again in 2009, when the Leuven Communiqué stated that, in the future, the Bologna Process would be joint-chaired by the EU Presidency and a non-EU country. This was most likely due to the significant increase in the number of non-EU countries that had ratified the Bologna Declaration in the intervening years. The increasingly formalized follow-up structure and the rapid rise in Bologna members meant that the Bologna Process became more binding during the first few years. This was closely related to the steering tools and instruments that were developed during the same period. These tools consist of monitoring tools designed to produce and collect information on the progress of the implementation of the Bologna objectives in the member countries; for example, national reports and BFUG-initiated Bologna Process Stocktaking Reports, which produce the (in) famous Bologna scorecards. National reports are produced by each country before each ministerial conference. These reports must outline the country’s stance on the Bologna objectives and how it plans to implement objectives in the future. The reports also closely monitor some of the new major educational standards launched early in the process as part of the Bologna objectives, such as the implementation of the qualifications frameworks. These qualifications frameworks are mentioned in four of the Danish national reports – 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2012 – which means that the implementation process is being monitored closely. The stocktaking report from 2007 also assesses the progress of the implementation of national qualification frameworks using the ­multicolored scorecard (which I describe below). I will explore the details related to the qualifications frameworks in connection with the orientation towards learning outcomes as a major educational standard in a later chapter.

92

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

National reports were voluntary when they were first introduced and not all countries produced them. The reports that were produced varied enormously in content and length (Ravinet, 2008). However, in 2003, a template was introduced which aligned the reports in terms of data collection categories and made it easier to perform comparisons between participating countries. From 2003, this instrument was further enhanced by the implementation of a website maintained by the host country of the biennial ministerial conferences. The reports became accessible online and presented the countries with major exposure in terms of the progress made in implementing the Bologna objectives. All reports and main documents are now accessible on the new European Higher Education Area website, which was established in 2010 in connection with the Budapest-Vienna Ministerial Conference, which officially launched the European Higher Education Area: www.ehea.info. As Ravinet claims, standardizing and exposure of the reports increased their impact significantly. The visibility of performance was key to pushing the implementation process forward, since it gave rise to peer pressure (Lawn & Grek, 2012: 89). Moreover, by making it easy to compare performance, naming and shaming mechanisms emerged as major drivers of the process. Shaming sanctions work best when the shamee has good watchdog credentials (Pawson, 2002), and who is more likely to have that than a peer? (Brøgger, 2016b). In her 2008 article, Ravinet refers to interviews she conducted with some of the players, such as representatives from ministries, who state that it is a kind of political sanction in itself to be the bad pupil in class. They explain that this kind of practice and pressure is best described as shame; that you would simply blush and be embarrassed if you were incapable of matching the pace at which other member states implemented the Bologna objectives (Ravinet, 2008: 362). I will elaborate on this in the following chapter. Such naming-shaming-faming mechanisms are further intensified through stocktaking reports, in which multicolored scorecards are produced.2 By comparing national performance data, these scorecards expose a nation’s progress, which, in turn, increases the pressure on member states. Moreover, stocktaking reports assess the progress made by national systems and not individual institutions, which could be said to further increase the pressure on member states. The first stocktaking report was written in 2005. A Stocktaking report is designed to monitor the progress made in three lines of action (representing a selection of the Bologna objectives). In this case, the three lines of action were quality assurance, the two-cycle degree system, and recognition of degrees and periods of study (BFUG, 2005: 5). The report monitors progress in these areas with a Bologna Scorecard, which provides the reader with “a ‘big picture’ overview of the progress” (BFUG, 2005: 6). If appropriate, the working group is requested to provide the Bologna Follow-up Group with 2  Part of the analysis of the follow-up mechanisms/steering technologies have previously been published in Brøgger, K. (2016). The Rule of Mimetic Desire in Higher Education: Governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 72–91 (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01425692.2015.1096191) and Brøgger, K. (2018). The Performative Power of (Non)human Agency Assemblages of Soft Governance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 31(5): 353–366 (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs /10.1080/09518398.2018.1449985).

The Infrastructure of the Policy Ontology: Follow-Up Mechanisms

93

corrective actions. The project was funded by the European Commission and produced by a working group appointed by the BFUG. The report declared that the Bologna Process was a success, but the working group also recommended that the stocktaking exercise be continued (BFUG, 2005: 6). Since then, stocktaking reports have been systematically produced every 2 years. The rationality behind the report dates back to the Berlin Ministerial Meeting in September 2003, during which ministers requested the BFUG to undertake a stocktaking exercise on the progress made in three priority action lines – quality assurance, the two-cycle degree system, and the recognition of degrees and periods of study (BFUG, 2005: 5). The appointed working group prepared the report for the May 2005 Ministerial Meeting in Bergen. According to the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, which helps to coordinate national reporting, the stocktaking working group referring to the BFUG collects the required information from member states. Stocktaking takes place every 2  years. When this process was first introduced, it was sometimes necessary to involve higher education institutions when collecting data. However, today, the ministry usually collects the data using their own case workers as resources. According to the ministry, the data they require – standardized information – should already be archived in the ministry. The data is collected via an online reporting system. The ministry simply receives an access code from the Bologna secretariat, which enables them to enter the system and to begin the online registration of follow-­up data and current status on specified objectives (Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2014). The working group referring to the BFUG then collects and processes the data and converts it into scorecards. The stocktaking report expands the use of text with powerful visuals. These visuals work as new communication technologies that feature qualitatively different potentials: the visuals display big data and facilitate an enormous geographical reach that transgresses the nation states and thus underpins the ambition of establishing a European Higher Education Area. The reports use the color-coded scorecards to compare the progress of the participating countries and, after 2005, these scorecards were supplemented and expanded with a veritable explosion of creative benchmarking exercises materializing through graphs, numbers and indicators. In the 2005 report, the color-coding consisted of dark green for ‘excellent performance,’ light green for ‘very good performance,’ yellow for ‘good performance,’ orange for ‘some progress has been made,’ and finally red for ‘little progress has been made yet’ (BFUG, 2005: 15): Explanation of colour codes used in Bologna scorecard

94

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

It is noteworthy that the color-coding is supplemented with text categories exclusively presenting opportunities ‘of making progress’. The exclusive focus on progress combined with the color-coding jointly contributes to a certain staging of the Bologna-realities. The technology does not seem to leave any option not to subscribe to the ambition of progress. It merely seems to leave the opportunity of either poor or excellent performance. ‘Motivational’ technologies like the scorecard induce performative effects by creating ‘incentives’ through competition and ‘naming and shaming’ mechanisms. The potential embarrassment of failure adds enormous pressure on member states, which most likely increases due to the myth that the Bologna Process is voluntary. These are the competitive elements that propel the implementation process; the shame of losing and the pleasure of winning – combined with the opportunity to use the Bologna Process as leverage to justify precarious national reforms. According to Gornitzka, the OMC process represents “a podium where badges of honor and shame are awarded through the presentation of national performance data in league tables and scoreboards” (Gornitzka, 2005: 7). Member states are co-opted into this mode of governance (Henckel & Wright, 2008). Or, perhaps more precisely, member states are made to voluntarily co-opt themselves into this governance; and this is what constitutes the DNA of this form of governance. On the website for the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, it is possible to find what could be considered a prototypical example of these mechanisms; the ministry highlights that Denmark is at the very forefront regarding the implementation of the Bologna objectives. In 2009, Denmark came in second on the Bologna Scorecard. In 2012, Denmark seized the top spot. This (self) promotion on the website is followed by a recital of (impressive) current policy achievements (Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2014). This reinforcement of the steering instruments also correlates with the increased entanglement with European competitive (growth) strategies as such. Already in the Bologna declaration in 1999, promises were made to increase the international competitiveness of the European system of higher education. And as already mentioned European ministers published the Higher Education Modernisation Agenda in 2011. This strategy portrayed higher education as a strong driver of economic growth and, at this stage, the monitoring coordination within the EU and the Bologna Process resembled each other and both followed the policy ontology represented as the Open Method of Coordination at the Lisbon European Council in 2000, including benchmarking, monitoring and evaluation (Brøgger, 2016b; Gornitzka, 2006).

Infrastructuring Standards The following ethnographic research works as a thorough disentanglement of how two education standards gained a hegemonic status in the Bologna Process. In my view, as already mentioned, the denaturalization of the Bologna Process consists in the unravelling of the threads of connections.

Infrastructuring Standards

95

The extensive and meticulous stitching together of standards is a major factor in the ongoing processes of standardizing European education (Lawn & Grek, 2012: 78). Through the ECTS system in higher education, a common standard  – the credit – has been created, which measures workload and work as a ‘currency’ of exchange with other institutions, supposedly increasing mobility in Europe. The credit is locked together with the design of modules, which are each measured in a certain number of credits. Each module has its own specified learning outcomes, which are based on the generic learning outcomes in the national qualifications frameworks. These learning outcomes are, in turn, based on the international qualifications frameworks designed within the Bologna Process and the EU. In order to assess learning outcomes consistently, some Nordic countries have introduced new grading scales that refer to ECTS points (Dahl, Lien, & Lindberg-Sand, 2009). Denmark has changed its grading scale to a seven-step model with two failing grades (Norway and Sweden have introduced very similar systems). The scale ranges from 12 to −3 and follows the ECTS equivalent from A to F. This grading scale is designed to ensure the full implementation of the shift from a content-driven to an objectives- and outcome-driven curriculum: “A student’s grade should express the degree to which the student meets the intended learning outcomes [of the module]” (Dahl et al., 2009: 51). This grading scale, including its logic of measuring and assessing learning outcomes, was implemented throughout the entire education system starting in 2006 and 2007. The above example provides a small snapshot of how the new standards interlock and thus scaffold each other: the credit system is locked together with the design of modules, which are locked together with the transition to the outcome-based curriculum that focuses on learning outcomes, which is locked together with the national and international qualifications frameworks, which, in turn, are locked together with the new grading scales. A clear picture emerges. This interdependency and interlocked character of these standards is also referred to in the Bologna Stocktaking Report from 2007: All aspects of the Bologna Process are interdependent. There are two themes that link all action lines: a focus on learners, and a focus on learning outcomes. If the Bologna Process is to be successful in meeting the needs and expectations of learners, all countries need to use learning outcomes as a basis for their national qualifications frameworks, systems for credit transfer and accumulation, the diploma supplement, recognition of prior learning and quality assurance (BFUG, 2007: 3).

As previously mentioned, the standards are part of what constitutes the policy ontology of the new mode of governance. This mode of governance works through standards, or, perhaps more precisely, through initiating standardizing processes. Already in the Sorbonne and Bologna declarations in 1998 and 1999, the policy ontology emerged as the ambition to harmonize the architecture of the European higher education system through intergovernmental collaboration and new educational standards. Two of the main standards suggested at this early stage were the cycle and credit system. Providing a detailed account of how these various standards lock together would undoubtedly prove very fruitful and insightful, since the ‘bringing together of all

96

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

these standards’ in itself creates something new and very powerful. However, such an account warrants a study in itself and does not fall within the scope of this monograph. In this book, I aim to be guided by my empirical material. In the empirical material from my fieldwork at my first case-site – where I was following the translations of standards among professors regarding the implementation of a new ministerial order shaped in accordance with the Bologna principles – two curricular shifts stand out, particularly with regards to their ability to produce major performative effects in higher education organizations (which I will address in Chap. 6). The first curricular shift is the transformation from an input-based curriculum, which prioritizes knowledge content, to an output-based curriculum, which prioritizes achievement or performance through its orientation towards competencies acquired on completion of a learning process (Young, 2008: 129); or, in other words, a transformation from a content-driven curriculum, based on subjects that are tied to academic disciplines, to an objectives-driven curriculum, based on criteria of relevance to societal needs regarding both the structure and content of education (Karseth, 2008: 61). The other curricular shift is the transition from a longitudinal, semestrial timeframe structure to a block structure based on clearly defined and demarcated modules. The modules are divided into allocations of ECTS points. The European Credit Transfer System is a common European credit standard that facilitates the measurement of workload and recognition of studies abroad. Each module must be tested individually. The outcome-based curriculum and the modular structure are two interlocking standards that indicate a shift from subject-based teaching to transdisciplinary teaching organized around so-called transdisciplinary ‘core areas,’ which are thematically determined and not shaped by any specific subject. Constituting one coherent structure, it is possible to refer to this as the introduction of the outcome-­based modular curriculum in which the curriculum is modularized and each (portable) module is described in terms of learning outcomes. This design seems to institute a common educational currency that can be exchanged (on the qualifications market structured and regulated by the qualifications frameworks) as part of the process of accumulating credits, which inevitably invokes a commercial stance (Karseth, 2008: 63; Strathdee, 2003, 2011; Wheelahan, 2011: 326). Wheelahan takes up this point. He argues that qualifications frameworks have been used by governments to support a shift from the ‘provider-culture’ of education to a ‘user-led’ marketized system, which he – in a European context – relates to the ways in which the Bologna Process has borrowed policies from the outcome-oriented Anglophone countries (Wheelahan, 2011: 327). During my fieldwork, I began to question how these two standards had gained curricular momentum as part of the Bologna Process. How had these standards achieved such curricular hegemony? And did other researchers also acknowledge learning outcomes and modularization as new performative standards and educational game changers capable of radically changing the design and impact of the curriculum (particularly in Continental Europe)? Or did my empirical findings stand alone in their particular setting and context? Was the introduction of these standards widely recognized by researchers as a factor that altered the conditions of possibility

Infrastructuring Standards

97

for thinking education altogether? To answer these questions, I decided to compose an ethnographic study that included others researchers’ assessments of the possible constitutive role of these standards; I did this by studying research literature, websites and policy documents related to the Bologna Process, the EU education strategies, and the national ministerial level. This study also revealed how states and higher education organizations (at least administratively) have begun to adapt to the process. By carving out various follow-up mechanisms, the investigations show that states are made to co-opt themselves into the process through the extensive use of benchmarking (materialized through scorecards, graphs and numbers) and higher education best practice exercises (materialized through models and templates). The ethnographic research on learning outcomes is an example of how states are adapting, and the ethnographic research on modules is an example of how higher education organizations are made to adapt and co-opt at the administrative level. The following paragraphs examine how the standards are introduced as part of the Bologna Process and how they gain a hegemonic status by means of the follow­up mechanisms of the reform process. In order to explore the hegemonic status of the standards, I take inspiration in Gramsci’s conceptualization of hegemony. Gramsci’s concept on hegemony is not about domination but about the exercise of ‘direction’, how something or someone is moved in a particular direction (Gramsci, Hoare, & Smith, 1971). In this way, the concept of hegemony closely connects to concepts of ‘soft governance’. Whereas Gramsci examined the ways in which bourgeois ‘hegemony’ was shaped and reproduced in cultural life, I take an interest in the ways in which the outcome-based modular curriculum gained a hegemonic status as part of the Bologna Process. In order to understand how a particular standard, and along with it a particular way of understanding the higher education curriculum, gains a hegemonic status this monograph explores how consent and legitimization is manufactured through the infrastructure of the Bologna Process. In many ways, the infrastructure of the Bologna Process can be seen as the source of the invisible power of the process. The infrastructure is constitutive of what gains hegemony. This is not about domination but about convincing, repeating and supporting the implementation of new standards. Hegemonic power is invisible in the sense that it is based on consent. In this case, the infrastructure seems to be the manufacturer of consent across Europe and beyond (Brøgger, 2018b).

 utcome-Based Education: A New Standard for Designing O the Curriculum According to Michael Young – one of the major curriculum researchers from the Institute of Education in London (IoE) – the idea of defining qualifications in terms of outcomes originated from early developments in occupational psychology in the United States (Young, 2003). Within the education system, the development of national qualifications frameworks that focus on learning outcomes precedes the

98

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

introduction of international qualifications frameworks in Europe.3 Already during the 1980s and 1990s, national qualifications frameworks were developed in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa (Allais, 2011; Ensor, 2003; Strathdee, 2003, 2011; Wheelahan, 2011; Young, 2003, 2011). These early developments were often linked to one or two levels of the education system, such as the development of a national qualifications framework for vocational studies in the UK. According to Young, at this early stage, the outcome-based approach to the qualifications frameworks were primarily associated with Anglophone countries (Young, 2003). However, it is precisely this orientation towards learning outcomes that will later constitute the major transition of the curriculum in continental Europe through the international qualifications frameworks initiated by the Bologna Process and the EU. According to Young, the outcome-based qualification frameworks work on the assumptions that all qualifications can be described in terms of a single set of criteria and that all qualifications can be described and assessed in terms of learning outcomes. Young believes that these assumptions are radical and have far-reaching implications – partly because they shift the basis of assessment from the professional judgment of teachers to standardized formal criteria and partly because the frameworks stipulate that all qualifications have similar features and that “outcomes can be separated from the way in which they are achieved”; in other words, that outcomes are independent from the site and the curriculum (Young, 2003: 225; 2008: 128– 129). Wheelahan expands on the idea and criticizes the notion that learning outcomes can be defined independently of when, how or where learning takes place (Wheelahan, 2011). Young stresses that the introduction of qualifications frameworks has been far more problematic than expected and that it has exposed “their negative and unintended consequences as much if not more than their benefits” (Young, 2007: 446). In many ways, the classification of higher education into two cycles in the Bologna Declaration – which later became three cycles (BA, MA and PhD) – can be viewed as an organizing of higher education that laid the foundations for what later became the overarching qualifications framework of the European Higher Education Area. At a 2003 Bologna seminar to discuss qualification structures in higher education in Europe (held in March 2003 in Copenhagen), participants made the following recommendation: 1. The Ministers meeting in Berlin in September 2003 should encourage the competent public authorities responsible for higher education to elaborate national qualifications frameworks for their respective higher education systems with due consideration to the qualifications framework to be elaborated for the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2004: 56).

In the Berlin Communiqué, which was released a few months later, the European ministers explicitly call for a common framework:

3  Part of these sections has previously been published in Brøgger, K. (2018). How Educational Standards Gain Hegemonic Power and become International: The case of higher education and the Bologna Process. European Educational Research Journal (E-pub ahead of print. Special issue) (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1474904118790303).

Infrastructuring Standards

99

Ministers encourage the member States to elaborate a framework of comparable and compatible qualifications for their higher education systems, which should seek to describe qualifications in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences and profile. They also undertake to elaborate an overarching framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area. Within such frameworks, degrees should have different defined outcomes. First and second cycle degrees should have different orientations and various profiles in order to accommodate a diversity of individual, academic and labour market needs. First cycle degrees should give access, in the sense of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, to second cycle programmes. Second cycle degrees should give access to doctoral studies. Ministers invite the Follow-up Group to explore whether and how shorter higher education may be linked to the first cycle of a qualifications framework for the European Higher Education Area. Ministers stress their commitment to making higher education equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means (EHEA-ministers, 2003: 4).

In the wake of the ministerial conference in Berlin in 2003, the Bologna Follow-Up Group established a working group whose task was outlined as follows: In order to realise the objectives set by the Ministers, the Working Group shall: 1. Identify reference points for national frameworks of qualifications (in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences and profile), which may assist member States in establishing their frameworks 2. Elaborate on an overarching framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area; 3. Establish key principles for frameworks of qualifications, both at national and European levels. The Working Group must take into account other policy areas, including those within the Copenhagen Process and the wider Lisbon Agenda as articulated in “Education and training 2010” (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2004: 54).

The working group delivered its first report in 2004 (quoted above) and a final version in 2005, which was presented at the Bergen ministerial conference the same year (Karseth, 2008). The report outlined the following “purpose and nature” of the framework: The framework for qualifications of the EHEA should be regarded as an overarching framework. That is to say, it provides a meta-framework within which to develop national frameworks (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2005: 58).

Learning outcomes were a key element in the qualifications framework, and the report outlined the following understanding of learning outcomes: Learning outcomes have applications in many locations: (i) the individual higher education institution (for course units/modules and programmes of study18); (ii) nationally (for qualifications, qualifications frameworks and quality assurance regimes); and (iii) internationally (for wider recognition and transparency purposes). They are important for the understanding of qualifications in society, for example by learners and employers. Learning outcomes statements are typically characterised by the use of active verbs expressing knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, etc. With ‘outcomes-based approaches’, they have implications for qualifications, curriculum

100

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

design, teaching, learning and assessment, as well as quality assurance. They are thus likely to form an important part of 21st century approaches to higher education (and, indeed, to education and training generally) and the reconsideration of such vital questions as to what, whom, how, where and when we teach and assess. […] In terms of curriculum design and development, learning outcomes are at the forefront of educational change. They place a focus on the coherence and aims of the qualification, the judgement of the designer and how the qualification fits within the traditions of the discipline. They represent a change in emphasis from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’ typified by what is known as the adoption of a student-centred approach, as opposed to the more traditional, teacher-centred viewpoint (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2005: 37–38)

The working group recommended that the so-called Dublin descriptors be adopted as the cycle descriptors for the framework, since they offered generic statements of typical expectations of achievements and abilities associated with the completion of each of the cycles (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2005: 101). The desriptors built on: • • • • •

knowledge and understanding applying knowledge and understanding making judgements communication skills learning skills

To give an example, according to the qualifications framework, a description of the competences achieved at the end of a first cycle (BA level) is as follows:

First cycle qualification

Outcomes Qualifications that signify completion of the first cycle are awarded to students who:  have demonstrated knowledge and understanding in a field of study that builds upon their general secondary education, and is typically at a level that, whilst supported by advanced textbooks, includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of their field of study;  can apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving problems within their field of study;  have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their field of study) to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues;  can communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;  have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake further study with a high degree of autonomy

Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, (2005: 194–195)

ECTS credits typically include 180-240 ECTS credits

Infrastructuring Standards

101

The extract shows that outcomes are interlocked with the credit system. The credit is defined as “a quantified means of expressing the volume of learning based on the achievement of learning outcomes and their associated workloads” (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2005: 29). The interlocking and interdependence of these standards are confirmed in the London Communiqué from 2007, which encourages compatibility with the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning and thereby increasingly connects the process with the EU strategies. The Communiqué’s connection to the EU growth strategies – including education as a core economic factor – is highlighted by it awarding the EHEA qualifications framework a central role in the promotion of European higher education in a global context; this corresponds with the 2007 strategy on HE in a global setting, which recommends the promotion of European higher education in an attempt to enhance its worldwide attractiveness and competitiveness (EHEA-ministers, 2007b: 3–4). Qualifications frameworks are important instruments in achieving comparability and transparency within the EHEA and facilitating the movement of learners within, as well as between, higher education systems. They should also help HEIs to develop modules and study programmes based on learning outcomes and credits, and improve the recognition of qualifications as well as all forms of prior learning […] We are satisfied that national qualifications frameworks compatible with the overarching Framework for Qualifications of the EHEA will also be compatible with the proposal from the European Commission on a European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning. We see the overarching Framework for Qualifications of the EHEA, which we agreed in Bergen, as a central element of the promotion of European higher education in a global context (EHEA-ministers, 2007a: 3).

As the communiqués and background reports show, qualifications frameworks were described as the means to provide comparability and compatibility between European higher education systems and institutions. The working group’s original task was to develop reference points for national frameworks in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences, and profile in order to assist member states in establishing their frameworks. In addition, the working group identified learning outcomes as the key element of the qualifications framework. They claimed that learning outcomes are “important for the understanding of qualifications in society, for example by learners and employers,” that “[t]hey are likely to form an important part of 21st century approaches to higher education” and that “in terms of curriculum design and development, learning outcomes are at the forefront of educational change […] They represent a change in emphasis from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’ typified by what is known as the adoption of a student-centred approach, as opposed to the more traditional, teacher-centred viewpoint.” (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2005: 37–38). The 2007 and 2012 communiqués further underlined the interdependency between learning outcomes and credits and highlighted the importance of implementing learning outcomes as part of a qualifications framework. In this way, the qualifications framework, including learning outcomes as the key design element, was described not only in a neutral manner – as a means of providing comparability – but as something very ‘21st century’; something at the forefront of educational change (in contrast to something ‘more traditional’). However, these communiqués also stress that the reference points only exist to assist member states

102

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

to develop their own national frameworks. The communiqués adopt a language and rhetoric of encouragement and incentives. Through the communiqués and background reports, the policy ontology of the monitored coordination emerges; the combination of incentive and the initiation of standardizing processes (Brøgger, 2018b). Through encouragement and incentives the monitored coordination produces and sustains the Bologna Process as something build on shared goals and thus consent. Member states voluntarily coopts into the implementation of the shared Bologna goals. As we will see in the following sections, what began at the international level as mere ‘reference points’ – as the initial working group called them – soon altered the design of national curricula fundamentally. Outcome-Based Education Transitioning Danish Curricula In the 2005 Bergen Communiqué, ministers committed themselves to elaborating national qualifications frameworks based on the overarching European framework. They agreed to adopt that the generic descriptors for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences (EHEA-ministers, 2005a, 2005b; Karseth, 2008). The working group was asked to monitor the progress of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, which was in development under the auspices of the EU. They were keen to ensure complementarity, which again highlighted the convergence of the two processes (Karseth, 2008). The European Qualifications Frameworks for Lifelong Learning was formally adopted by the European Union in April 2008. The framework covered all levels of education but was only valid for EU member countries, whereas the Qualifications Framework for Higher Education was valid for all countries that had ratified the Bologna Process. The Bologna qualifications framework was interlocked with the European Qualifications frameworks at both a European and a national level. In 2006, it was decided that the Danish national qualifications framework for higher education should be revised to bring it into line with the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area. The new national qualifications framework for higher education came into force in 2008. The Danish Evaluation Institute summarizes it as follows: It contains both a systematic description of the different qualification levels at an aggregated level and the underlying descriptions of the individual Danish degree types. Qualification levels and degree types are described in terms of the learning outcomes that students are intended to have when they finish a study programme. The learning outcomes are divided into three categories: knowledge, skills and competences, which are further subdivided into more detailed subcategories (e.g. field of knowledge, understanding and reflection level, etc.) (The Danish Evaluation Institute, 2009: 20)

The higher education framework is interlocked with the Danish framework for lifelong learning based on the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning in that the descriptions of the levels of higher education (levels 5–8) are identical with those of the national qualifications framework for higher education. The Danish National Qualifications Framework (NQF) follows the Bologna framework but with a few adjustments. For example, ‘critical analysis’ is not men-

Infrastructuring Standards

103

tioned in the third cycle descriptors because, due to the Self-Certification report, “the student’s ability to think critically and engage independently with the curriculum is already sought in secondary education” (The Danish Evaluation Institute, 2009: 23). Karseth and Solbrekke consider these national modifications so significant that they question whether the NQF can be said to meet the Bologna requirements (Karseth & Solbrekke, 2010). However, in my opinion, despite these small adjustments, the NQF can be said to follow the Bologna rationality. This is because the NQF has drastically changed both the design and organization of the curriculum in a way that prioritizes learning outcomes and the inclusion of ECTS credits and thereby reflects the Bologna logic. In terms of design and the design’s impact on everyday educational practice, the adjustments seem relatively minor. The major change is not found in the details of individual descriptors but rather in the adaptation of the design as such. The design of the curriculum as outcome-based is a major game-changer despite national adjustments. By imposing the concept of learning outcomes, the frameworks do not work as a neutral register but actively prescribe a design for national curricula (Cort, 2010: 307). However, Karseth and Solbrekke highlight the fact that these processes leave an open space in which countries (as well as institutions) can maneuver according to their own preferences (Karseth & Solbrekke, 2010: 570). Yet, once again, these adjustments seem relatively minor in comparison to the adaptation of the overall framework and design as such. Researchers have reacted differently to the qualification frameworks. Several researchers are ‘policy positive’ in their attempt to support the national implementation of international qualifications frameworks and to improve the recognition of qualifications or mappings of variations in conceptual approaches to competence hindering labor mobility (Bârlea, 2010; Rauhvargers, 2004; Winterton, 2009). However, other researchers have questioned the frameworks. Of this latter group, some researchers perform a ‘suspicious’ reading and discover that working within qualifications frameworks is a performative game changer in itself; these researchers seem determined to criticize the outcome-based and objectives-driven curriculum (Bouder, 2003; Cort, 2010; Karseth, 2008; Karseth & Solbrekke, 2010; Wheelahan, 2011; Young, 2008). The detailed critique of the outcome-based curriculum is part of a broader research field on curriculum studies, so I am unable to provide a full and exhaustive account of this here. The construction and design of qualifications frameworks is not a neutral and objective operation. It is both a social and political goal, because it is a regulative standard designed to influence the behaviors of the actors involved (Bouder, 2003: 348). As Young argues, the new outcome-based curriculum undoubtedly stimulates the demand for learning and its assessment by users and employers and thus relies less on the interests of the providers – the colleges and universities (Young, 2007: 448). With this in mind, Cort claims that the introduction of qualifications frameworks is a marketization of education. The frameworks do not only work as a standardization of qualifications but also turn learners into consumers (Cort, 2010: 306). Between 2001 and 2003, Denmark was already experimenting with the implementation of a qualifications framework for higher education. It was positioning itself as capable of chairing the next working group, which was established by the BFUG following the ministerial conference in Berlin in 2003. As mentioned above,

104

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

the main task of the working group was to identify reference points for national frameworks of qualifications. The first qualifications framework was characterized by the outlining of various competency goals; however, in 2007, the Danish government already wished to revise the qualifications framework in line with the 2005 Bologna Qualifications Framework for Higher Education, to which Denmark had contributed by chairing the working group and developing and designing the framework. Moreover, the new qualifications framework gained inspiration from the European qualifications framework developed under the auspices of the EU. The new qualifications framework was designed to be based on outcomes divided into three subcategories: knowledge, skills and competencies. It was thought that the new qualifications framework would interlock closely with the new accreditation procedures (the assessment procedure for all educational programs subsequently implemented in Denmark) (Reference group for a new Danish Qualifications Framework for higher education, 2007). The new qualifications framework came into force in 2008 (Ministry af Higher Education and Science, 2008). Following this framework, the new curricula design  – which focused on learning outcomes and was divided into knowledge, skills and competencies  – was to be implemented within all existing curricula and future ministerial orders. However, what began at the international level as mere ‘reference points’  – as the initial working group called them – quickly emerged as an efficient way of governing that prescribed and hence fundamentally altered the design of national curricula. Due to a tailored and multilayered infrastructure, the spread and impact of this standard was extensive (Brøgger, 2018b). Infrastructuring Learning Outcomes: Paving the Way to Hegemony In order understand the ‘how’ of the spread of a performance standard (such as the outcome-based curriculum), it is essential to maintain and explore the agency dimension, so that a policy is not presented as something that merely happens to people but as something in which people actively participate. As I highlighted earlier, one of the main characteristics of the Bologna mode of governance is that agents are made to co-opt themselves into the ‘monitored coordination.’ However, in order to grasp the mechanisms through which policies travel, it is important to stay close to the empirical material and to thoroughly examine how the infrastructuring that surrounds the qualifications frameworks – including the focus on learning outcomes – actually takes place. And, in order to understand what happens to the travelling standards once they reach higher education institutions, it could be relevant to include policy borrowing as an approach, since policy borrowing transforms the analytical unit into local practice and perceives local practice through the lens of translating processes rather than implementation (as I shall discuss later). I suggest that educational standards – as a part of the policy ontology of the mode of governance that characterizes the Bologna Process  – do not merely travel as ideas moved by ‘invisible forces.’ Instead, they travel and move via a

Infrastructuring Standards

105

meticulously tailored infrastructure, as presented in the section Monitoring as a standardizing technique. As established earlier, the infrastructure of the policy ontology is key to understanding why participation in the Bologna Process appears to become increasingly binding for member states and why it becomes increasingly difficult to remain outside the so-called voluntary OMC structures. The infrastructure describes the mechanisms that the ontology comprises – the ways in which it materializes or manifests itself. In order to explore these materializations – the matterology of the ontology – I will focus on the follow-up mechanisms. However, I will not provide an exhaustive account that gives details of all the reports, networks and seminars. Instead, I wish to unravel the mechanisms as such; how the infrastructure works. To do this, I will provide the reader with examples of the tailored follow-up mechanisms. Core mechanisms include the communiqués (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2018), the Bologna stocktaking and implementation reports (2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018), the national reports (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018), and the Bologna working group reports on qualifications frameworks (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012). The publication years indicate that, to a large extent, the reports follow the cadence of the ministerial conferences (and hence the Communiqués). The systematic use of national reports increased the political attention given to the implementation of the national qualifications frameworks. From 2009 onwards, the national reports were fully standardized through templates. In the national reports from 2009 to 2012, countries are required to report extensively on the implementation of the national qualifications frameworks. They are asked to elaborate on and provide documentation in relation to questions such as (a) Has the national qualifications framework been prepared? (b) Does the framework or proposed framework include generic descriptors for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences? (c) Does it include ECTS credit ranges for the first and second cycle? (Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2009: 11). In the 2012 national report, the questions are very specific and demand a high level of detail; for example, (a) Please provide a reference for the decision to start developing a NQF. (b) Please provide a reference for the redesign of study programmes based on learning outcomes. (c) Please provide a reference for the self-certification report. Because of this remarkable level of detail, the reports work as a kind of micro-­ management of the implementations. The stocktaking reports (which I will address in the following paragraphs) present a summary of the national reports, so, in this sense, the national reports are integral to the stocktaking report’s scorecard positioning (which is subsequently exposed on the official website). The introduction of the qualifications frameworks transforms the development of curricula – which used to be performed within higher education institutions – into a major national and supranational political issue (Karseth, 2008: 52). The incentives already created by the stocktaking reports and the national reports are further enhanced by the ‘Lessons learned’ chapters in the Bologna working group on qualifications frameworks, which promote a ‘best practice exercise’ highlighting ‘exemplary’ solutions provided by selected countries; for instance, by

106

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

Scotland and Ireland in the 2007 report (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2007). The best practice strategies are part of the naming-shaming-­ faming mechanisms and the communiqué’s relatively direct form of ‘encouragement’; for example, its claim that non-performing countries ‘need to redouble their efforts’ (EHEA-ministers, 2012: 3). The various follow-up reports must be seen in close connection with the establishment of the European Higher Education Area website, which displays the reports and thus makes it much easier to compare across countries.

www.ehea.info (2015)

Infrastructuring Standards

107

All reports and main documents related to the Bologna Process are accessible on the new European Higher Education Area website. The website was launched in 2010 in connection with the Budapest-Vienna Ministerial Conference, which officially launched the European Higher Education Area. The above screen is accessible via the Documents tab in the left-hand menu. This screen displays all the major follow-up reports, including the communiqués, which expose the progress countries have made in implementing the Bologna objectives. This public website presence significantly increases the ability of reports (as key instruments) to push forward the implementation process. Two years after the implementation of the qualifications framework for the European Higher Education Area, ministers registered their dissatisfaction with the degree of implementation of national qualifications frameworks based on the 2005 Bologna framework. They called for countries to increase their efforts: We note that some initial progress has been made towards the implementation of national qualifications frameworks, but that much more effort is required. We commit ourselves to fully implementing such national qualifications frameworks, certified against the overarching Framework for Qualifications of the EHEA, by 2010 […] We emphasise that qualification frameworks should be designed so as to encourage greater mobility of students and teachers and improve employability (EHEA-ministers, 2007a: 3).

This discontent is most likely based on the results of the 2007 stocktaking report, which was presented at the London Ministerial Conference and prepared by a working group under the BFUG. The stocktaking report’s scorecard showed that 7 countries had implemented a national qualification framework (QF) in line with the overarching QF for EHEA (dark green), and 6 countries had discussed a proposal for a national QF in line with the overarching QF for EHEA with all relevant stakeholders at the national level and a timetable for implementation had been agreed (light green). However, the vast majority of countries obtained undesirable scores (depicted as the reddish shades yellow, orange and red): 11 countries had prepared a proposal for a national QF in line with the overarching QF (yellow), 23 countries had started the development process leading to a definition of a national QF in line with the overarching QF for EHEA including all the relevant national stakeholders (orange), and, finally, 1 country had failed to begin the process of establishing a national QF in line with the overarching QF for EHEA (red). This is how the statement was presented in the stocktaking report:

Indicator 3: Implementation of national qualifications framework. (BFUG, 2007: 16)

108

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

The stocktaking reports also contain the (in)famous multicolored Bologna scorecards, which use the same color code as the indicator above. The scorecards below are from the same 2007 stocktaking report. They display information about the degree and success of the implementation of the relevant Bologna objectives – as well as the overall progress – for each country. Here is the first example from the report:

(BFUG, 2007: 56)

Albania and Andorra primarily appear in ‘reddish shades. Red, yellow and orange mark most of the colored areas. These are the undesirable colors that represent the bottom of the scale; these are the colors associated with the shame and embarrassment of not performing well. The scorecards for Denmark and Estonia present a very different situation and set of colors. On the Danish scorecard, dark and light green dominates the picture; the colors associated with success and excellent (or almost excellent) performance.

Infrastructuring Standards

109

(BFUG, 2007: 62)

The exposure and visibility of the reports increases their significance, as emphasized by Ravinet. The visibility of the performance is an integral part of propelling the implementation process forward. The extended use of visuals to display big data has the capacity to transgress nation states since it no longer depends on text. The use of these visuals seems crucial in establishing transnational policy processes. Being able to compare countries gives rise to peer pressure and naming-shaming-­ faming mechanisms. As mentioned earlier, in her study, Ravinet explains how representatives from ministries view it as a form of political sanction to be the bad pupil in class. They argue that pressure from these ‘comparison and exposure instruments’ (such as this stocktaking exercise) is best described as shame that embarrasses you if you do not perform as well as your peer countries (Ravinet, 2008: 362). In this way, the performance visuals work as a ‘motivational’ technology. They affect us, or to use the feminist STS researcher Bellacasa’s concept of touch: we are touched by the visuals (Bellacasa, 2009). Touché is a metaphorical substitute for wounded. The Italian word ‘toccare’ means to strike or hit. The visuals hit us and expose us, which is exactly what they are designed to do. The way in which the visuals touch us displays the profound entanglement of matter and affect (Brøgger, 2018a).

110

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

Besides a clear display of each country’s individual progress, the stocktaking reports also produce an overall scorecard that compares all the countries on one sheet:

(BFUG, 2007: 80)

Infrastructuring Standards

111

This stocktaking exercise continues over the following years. Below is the scorecard from the 2009 stocktaking report. It is interesting to see how the implementation of the national qualifications frameworks still presents a challenge for the signatory states; this column (NQF) is mostly yellow and red:

(BFUG, 2009: 122)

By 2012, it appears as though some progress has been made. This is mirrored in the 2012 Bucharest Communiqué from the ministerial conference in which the interdependence of the standards is once again underlined. However, countries that

112

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

have not yet finalized the implementation and achieved a self-certified compatibility with the qualifications framework for the European Higher education Area are asked to ‘redouble their efforts in order to achieve this goal”: To consolidate the EHEA, meaningful implementation of learning outcomes is needed. The development, understanding and practical use of learning outcomes is crucial to the success of ECTS, the Diploma Supplement, recognition, qualifications frameworks and quality assurance – all of which are interdependent. We call on institutions to further link study credits with both learning outcomes and student workload, and to include the attainment of learning outcomes in assessment procedures. […] We welcome the progress in developing qualifications frameworks; they improve transparency and will enable higher education systems to be more open and flexible. We acknowledge that realising the full benefits of qualifications frameworks can in practice be more challenging than developing the structures. The development of qualifications frameworks must continue so that they become an everyday reality for students, staff and employers. Meanwhile, some countries face challenges in finalising national frameworks and in self-certifying compatibility with the framework of qualifications of the EHEA (QF-EHEA) by the end of 2012. These countries need to redouble their efforts and to take advantage of the support and experience of others in order to achieve this goal (EHEA-ministers, 2012: 3).

It seems that the Bucharest Communiqué not only pushes the implementation agenda further but that it also recognizes that the implementation of the qualifications frameworks has proved to be more far reaching and thus more challenging in terms of its ‘successful’ implementation than anticipated (“We acknowledge that realising the full benefits of qualifications frameworks can in practice be more challenging than developing the structures”). This does not prevent the ministers pursuing their agenda, but it does seem as though news of the difficulties experienced in countries and institutions may have reached the top-level of politics – at least to some degree. The stocktaking report from 2012, which also includes results from the stocktaking in 2009 and 2012, presents a more ‘green’ picture of the implementation of the national qualifications frameworks:

Scorecard indicator n°3: Implementation of national qualifications frameworks, 2010/11*. (BFUG, 2012: 45)

Infrastructuring Standards

113

And the Stocktaking report from 2015 even more so:

Scorecard indicator n°3: Implementation of national qualifications frameworks, 2013/14. (European Commission, 2015: 67)

However, the mechanism as such remains intact. The red and dark green areas succeed in catching the eye  – poor and excellent performance. The multicolored scorecards are a naming-exercise that simultaneously shame and fame. As already mentioned, this is what Gornitzka refers to as a “podium” where “badges of honour and shame are awarded through the presentation of national performance data” (Gornitzka, 2005: 7). Applying the concept of affectivity to this mechanism would create space in the analysis for qualities and intensities. As mentioned in Chap. 2, I find it fruitful to gain inspiration from concepts and analysis that capture the intensities that seem to be orchestrated through the follow-up mechanisms, such as the scorecards above. Also, as Wetherell suggests, the analytic inclusion of these aspects may contribute to the understanding of the ways in which “big phenomena” are entangled and intertwined with everyday material, affective practices (Wetherell, 2012: 56). In this case, such an approach can help trace standards as part of a material-affective circulation as opposed to processes of contagion and infection. Affects can be perceived as a kind of organized currency in an affective economy (Ahmed, 2004a, 2004b; Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016; Probyn, 2005). ‘Economy’ denotes the careful use of money and supplies as well as the management of activity. In an affective economy, a household of feelings or affects – as opposed to money – are economized. Thus, affective economy is not a matter of simply having feelings, but of exchanging, saving, spending, and capitalizing affects. An affective economy is an affective practice – something that is actively created and needs work to ­sustain (Wetherell, 2012: 142). The material-affective infrastructure of the scorecards is an example of this.

114

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

Making it easy to compare countries’ performances gives rise to material-­ affective mechanisms, which act as a major driver of the standardizing processes. This is the mechanism of naming and shaming – a mechanism already examined by several researchers (Gornitzka, 2005; Lingard & Sellar, 2013; Pawson, 2002; Ravinet, 2008; Staunæs & Pors, 2015). The scorecards seems to mobilize and recruit certain affects (Wetherell, 2012). This recruiting is onto-formative, since it co-produces and thus co-constitutes the infrastructures. Naming is a process of materializing and giving life to (in this case) states and organizations, and shaming is a mechanism of making these states and organizations feel uncomfortable affectively. The shame produced by the reddish colors of the scorecards confronts governments with their failure to live up to the standards and their own related promises (Probyn, 2005). Shame profits from the positive investment in the object that activates the shame, and this is felt as an exposing affect. A state, an organization, a professor or a manager who has shown an interest in another (for example, the EU, the Bologna Process, the ministry, the students, or simply the professor next door) has operated under the impression of receiving something positive in return. Because shame is connected to interest and engagement, it activates the desire for self-improvement (Probyn, 2005: 23). This desire for ‘better performance’ is a powerful driver in the process which is corroborated by Pawson’s studies suggesting that shaming sanctions work best if they are re-integrative and thus include the opportunity for restoration (Brøgger, 2016b; Pawson, 2002: 225). The fear of shame makes the governance feasible. The materiality of the infrastructure of the Bologna Process is affectively wired through these naming-shaming mechanisms, which are in turn further intensified through the stocktaking reports in which the (in)famous multicolored scorecards are produced. These stocktaking reports use the mechanism of ‘governing by numbers’ (Grek, 2009; Rose, 1991), using the color-coded scorecards to compare the progress of the participating countries. And these scorecards are supplemented and expanded with a veritable explosion of creative benchmarking exercises, which are materialized through graphs, numbers and indicators in the reports. The color coding works as an alert system that calibrates the signatory states (Massumi, 2005) and modulates the affective register making it span the intensity of naming, shaming and faming. The color coding and naming exercise encourage the participating countries and people to move from the reddish ‘alert colors’ to the calmer green colors that imply success. As Ravinet’s study reveals, the naming exercise and the exposure of performance data in itself gives rise to a certain anxiousness among governments. The color coding modulates the affective pressure on policy makers and educational agents, causing them to perform accordingly (Lingard & Sellar, 2013). The ‘alert system’ keeps the nations, educational systems, stakeholders, and agents stretched between the potential embarrassment of shame and the potential thrill of fame. It is a transtemporal and transspatial alert system perfectly suited to its transnational purposes. In this way, the monitoring contributes to an affective politics that propels the implementation of standards (Lingard & Sellar, 2013; Massumi, 2002; Thrift, 2007). This is part of how member states are

Infrastructuring Standards

115

made to voluntarily co-opt themselves into the ‘Bologna mode of governance’; the way the follow-up mechanisms ‘wire’ the agents involved is the ‘how’ of this form of governance – the infrastructure, the paths that ‘helps’ the process move forward. Countries voluntarily display their fame and success on the public website. A good example of this is the Danish (self)promotion of seizing the performance hierarchy top spot (Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2014). The shame for some countries is probably otherwise hidden. The road to hegemony moves through the infrastructure of the policy ontology. Because of this infrastructure, which consists of multiple paths that create intense peer pressure, the standards spread and become powerful. But this is not an abstract idea or ideology that spreads in seemingly accidental ways; these are educational standards that spread and gain hegemonic power through a tailored infrastructure. Because of its persuasive nature the power executed through the infrastructure seems almost invisible. It does not manifest as domination but as exercising a direction, a governing that entails the consent of the governed (Gramsci et al., 1971). The governed is ‘encouraged’ through peer pressure and thus volunteers data, and in this way engages in monitoring practices. Because of this multilayered infrastructure the standards spread and gain hegemonic power and since they are all interlocked once a country adopts a standard, it is very difficult to deselect it. For example, the qualifications frameworks dictate that curricula be re-designed and based on learning outcomes and credits; this is then proceeded by a very determined follow-up process, which is accompanied by an equally determined interlocking of the standards. All these factors make it practically impossible to relinquish a standard. It seems as though buying into the process implies buying the whole package. And, since the follow-up mechanisms meticulously ‘calibrate’ agents to co-opt themselves into the process, it becomes almost impossible to remain outside the structures of this so-called Open Method of Coordination. The infrastructure consists of various instruments that facilitate the extensive monitoring of progress. The follow-up mechanisms and all their various instruments – in the shape of reports, scorecards and websites – move the standards on by moving the agents through modulations of affective pressure. The mechanisms are the means to generate change, progress and efficiency through affectivity, such as the embarrassment of shame or the thrill of fame. This is the ‘how’ of the Bologna mode of governance – succumbing to peer pressure rendered possible through monitoring and exposure. This is ‘how’ one mobilizes 48 nations without passing any laws. This is the secret of the power of the policy transfer of the Bologna Process.

Modules: A New Standard for Organizing the Curriculum The following ethnographic research examines how modules have become such a popular way of structuring the curriculum. I will show how slightly different mechanisms are at play here since the infrastructering seems to work through templates,

116

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

models and best-practice exercises. Following this, I will continue the material-­ affective analysis of the infrastructure that I began in the previous sections. The implementation of the three- cycle system (BA, MA, PhD) in itself is a modularization of higher education. In Denmark, the three-cycle system was implemented in 1993 before the Bologna Process and substituted the traditional continental one-cycle system, in which the student completed his/her final university examination after 5–6 years of consecutive study. The Anglo Saxon modular structure of higher education was originally adopted as an attempt to reduce the drop-out rates at universities at the time. However, today, modularization of higher education is far more extensive and encompasses the design of the curriculum. In the UK, the modular structure of the curriculum from secondary to higher education was already being developed in the 1980s and early 1990s (Betts & Smith, 1998; Bridges, 2000; Burke & Carey, 1994; Leask, 1994). The advocates of this curricular transformation viewed modularization as an effective way of managing learning to the advantage of the students, because it introduced flexibility based on student choice and shifted the entire system from being tutor/teaching-centered to being student-centered (Betts & Smith, 1998: 2; Bridges, 2000: 43; Burke & Carey, 1994: 44). A module was soon defined as a short unit of learning and connected to the ‘logic’ that it should be followed by clearly defined learning outcomes based on knowledge, skills and understanding  – the latter subsequently being replaced with the notion of competence in the European frameworks. The module is further scaffolded by a credit system in which credits can be accumulated and transferred between courses and institutions (Betts & Smith, 1998: 49; Burke & Carey, 1994: 46; Pilz, 2002: 164). The number of credits refers to the student workload, which strengthens the student-centered approach even further (as is also the case in the European ECTS credit system). Already at this early stage, advocates of the modular system recognized that this ‘revolutionary’ approach to the curriculum required changes in “organizational systems, procedures and frameworks” and, most importantly, in organizational culture; and they predicted that these changes would be difficult to achieve (Betts & Smith, 1998: 5). It is the major organizational impact of these curricular changes that will form the center of my analysis in Chap. 6 of this monograph. Modularization can be defined and implemented in various ways and forms (Pilz, 2002). In my opinion, one of the most ‘radical’ forms is the transition from longitudinal structures (semestrial timeframe structures) to block structures, in which modules are divided into smaller, delimited units that are completed by a test and correspond to an allocated number of (accumulated) credits. The block structure requires the student to complete one module before moving on to the next (at the same or a different institution); in this sense, the structure functions almost as building blocks. Ideally, students can combine and ‘build’ their own education across institutions and countries. The transition from semestrial timeframe structures to modular block structures is influential and will prove to be one of the major game changers in higher education organizations (I will discuss this in Chap. 6). The block structure is at the center of attention in this monograph since it is part of the

Infrastructuring Standards

117

empirical material but it does not represent the only possible interpretation of the modular structure as such. It exists together with other local institutional interpretations of modules that replicate the semestrial timeframe structure. These modules are ‘stretched’ and therefore maintain the longitudinal character previously associated with the semestrial timeframe structure; for example, a 15 ECTS-point module can be stretched to the length of the former semester (6 months). As such, the student may engage in two or three modules (depending on the number of credits allocated to each module) simultaneously over a period of time. In this way, despite its modular structure, this timeframe imitates the semestrial and longitudinal structure of the curriculum. Inspired by Bridges’ critical approach to these curricular changes, it is possible to argue that the ‘module and credit revolution’ – especially in its radical form as ‘block modules’  – transforms the epistemological unit of study from subject to module, which is often based on transdisciplinarity. It could also be argued that it transforms the chronological order of the educational programs scaffolded by the semestrial timeframe structure and, not least, that it transforms the topographical location of the unit of study, since the student can no longer expect to complete a higher education program at a single higher education institution (Bridges, 2000: 42). In 2000, Bridges anticipated two major consequences of modularization. These consequences resonate with my findings in the fieldwork among professors; that modularization renders it possible to serve the need of employers more directly and that one of the features of modularization is a feeling of alienation – or perhaps even dispossession  – among staff (Bridges, 2000: 43). This marketization perspective accords with Naidoo’s equally critical research, which claims that marketization has reinforced the movement towards modularization. She argues that these curriculum changes are organized “around the principles of market need and the desire to attract students” (Naidoo & Jamieson, 2005; Naidoo et al., 2011: 1153). Naidoo et al. warn that modularization may lead to the loss of coherence usually associated with disciplinary study (Naidoo et al., 2011: 1154; Naidoo & Williams, 2014: 12). However, according to Naidoo, modularization as such predates the advent of consumerism (as supported by the UK example at the beginning of this section). It seems as though modularization was originally connected to an almost idealist notion to focus on the student’s learning process and a strong equity dimension to make higher education accessible to ‘non-traditional students’(Naidoo & Jamieson, 2005). It was only later –particularly after 2000  – that modularization became increasingly locked together with other educational standards that commoditized higher education and promoted it as a major factor of economic growth (as in the case of the EU). The transformation of the higher education architecture in the Bologna Process introduced the credit system before it considered modularization. The ambition to establish a system of credits based on the ECTS scale can be found in the Bologna Declaration, where it is connected to the ambition to increase student mobility (EHEA-ministers, 1999: 3; Naidoo et al., 2011: 1148). Already in the Prague and Berlin communiqués in 2001 and 2003, the responsible ministers claimed that the

118

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

implementation of the ECTS credit system should not merely serve as a transfer system but also as an accumulation system. They [ministers, KB] encourage further progress with the goal that the ECTS becomes not only a transfer but also an accumulation system, to be applied consistently as it develops within the emerging European Higher Education Area (EHEA-ministers, 2003: 4).

This had major implications, since the ECTS credit system rapidly moved from a means to recognize academic skills across countries and institutions to an accumulation system that constituted the organizing principle of higher education. It seems as though the introduction of the modular curriculum as part of the Bologna Process provided an answer to the ECTS credit system as an accumulation system. The modules present themselves as a way to divide the educational programs into manageable chunks and thereby turn the accumulation of credits into a relatively transparent accounting system – a student accumulates a certain number of credits on the completion of each (block) module. In the London Communiqué, the ministers promote the qualifications frameworks as important instruments in developing modules and study programs based on learning outcomes and credits. The standards become increasingly interlocked, as is also the case in relation to the learning outcomes (EHEA-ministers, 2007a: 3). As we saw earlier (in the quotation from the 2012 Bucharest Communiqué), this interlocking and increased interdependence of standards continues to emerge as an increasingly clear feature of the Bologna Process (Brøgger, 2018b). As we will see in the following sections, already at an early stage it is possible to identify an accelerated production of new ministerial orders that promote the outcomes-based modular curriculum in Denmark. Modules Transitioning Danish Curricula With only a few exceptions, the Danish policy documents do not seem to promote modularization. Modularization is mentioned at an early stage as part of the preparatory work to pass the bill on universities at the beginning of 2003. Here it is stated that the bill complies with the Bologna principles on the design of the education systems and that, in continuation of this, the bill institutes a modular design for the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (Ministry for Science Technology and Development, 2003). Following the implementation of the University Act in 2003, a new ministerial order on education (Bachelor and Master degrees at the universities) introduced the modular design of the Danish curriculum in 2004 (Ministerial order no. 338 of May 6, 2004 (Ministry for Science Technology and Development, 2004)). According to the ministerial order, the modular design is supposed to ensure the free educational choice of the student as well as a customized competency profile targeting various professions. The design clearly supports the idea that the student can compose his/her own individual educational program and, hence, the description seems

Infrastructuring Standards

119

to anticipate the idea of modules as building blocks. This modular design is interlocked with the ECTS credit system as well as the focus on learning outcomes and is sustained in the current ministerial order (Ministerial order no. 1328 of November 15, 2016 (Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2016)). This common ministerial order for all BA and MA university degrees is implemented through curricula designed by each educational program. Professional bachelor degrees – which are primarily offered by university colleges  – are subject to even more regulation through ministerial orders. Up until recently, each professional bachelor degree was regulated by its own ministerial order, which was implemented through a curriculum designed by each institution. Today, this situation is slightly different. In the wake of continuous new ministerial orders over the past 6  years, the professional bachelor degree curriculum is now typically divided into a national part – negotiated by representatives from various institutions – and a local part – designed by local management. All the new ministerial orders promote a modular design of the curriculum, and they all lock this educational standard together with the ECTS credit system and a focus on learning outcomes based on knowledge, skills and competencies. The accelerated production of new ministerial orders that promote the outcomes-­ based modular curriculum is a strong indication of the shift in the design of the curriculum. However, it is important to remember that the experimentation with modularization as part of an increased conceptualization of the student as a consumer was part of Danish higher education policy even before the Bologna Process. In fact, it can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s, albeit in a more fragmented and noncoherent form (G. B. Nielsen, 2010). This suggests that, from a policy point of view, Denmark was ready for the Bologna objectives. This probably explains why the Danish right-wing government was so keen to comply with the Bologna objectives that they began implementing national qualifications frameworks before the first European framework was completed in 2005 (Sarauw, 2011). As mentioned earlier, this undoubtedly made Denmark a suitable core player in the formulation of the Bologna framework (Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, 2004). In the 2009 self-certification report on the Danish National Qualifications. Framework for Higher Education, the Danish Evaluation Institute describes modules in relation to learning outcomes as the obvious way to organize a curriculum: Thus, the reference group suggested that it would be useful for the institutions to have a “toolbox” available with templates, inspirational tools, etc., to make the process of formulating specific learning outcomes for individual modules easier (stipulation, KB) (The Danish Evaluation Institute, 2009: 30).

Perhaps even more importantly, they suggest that institutions use a toolbox with templates to further the process of formulating the learning outcomes for individual modules. In fact, this idea of a toolbox with templates proves to be a major factor of the infrastructuring of modularization. This infrastructuring does not follow the

120

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

same paths as the learning outcomes, but, to a large extent, modularization is infrastructured through best practice exercises through the TRENDS reports and the TUNING project (Brøgger, 2018b). Infrastructuring Modules: Paving the Way to Hegemony Alongside stocktaking and national reports, there are other instruments that form part of the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna Process and encourage signatory states and their higher education institutions to comply with the Bologna objectives. As already mentioned, the ‘TUNING Educational Structures in Europe’ was initiated as a university-driven project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Deusto in Spain and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. The very concept of ‘tuning’ implies both a material and affective dimension and it is along these lines that I am concentrating my attention here. ‘TUNING’ connotes the tuning of an engine; tuning it to run faster and perform better. And this invokes two meanings of the word tuning: making the correct adjustments and bringing something onto the same wavelength (as the Bologna ambitions). Both of these meanings of ‘tuning’ are at play in the TUNING project with regard to the Bologna objectives. According to TUNING’s introduction brochure, its ambition is to offer concrete approaches to the implementation of the Bologna process at the level of higher education institutions and subject areas within all three cycles (BA, MA, PhD) (Moutsios, 2013; TUNING, 2007). TUNING offers a re-design of the curriculum in all academic subject areas in order to make studies comparable, compatible and transparent. The TUNING project reaches far beyond Europe (e.g. USA, Latin America, Africa) and works by producing models and templates for higher education institutions to use for the implementation of the Bologna objectives in the curriculum. Each TUNING report, which outlines reference points for the design and delivery of study programs within a specific subject area (e.g. education) is produced by a working group related to the subject area in question. The working group consists of members from various higher education institutions across the participating countries. During the process, the working group consults a ‘validation panel,’ which consists of a small group of ‘internationally recognized experts’ who represent a range of countries and expertise. In addition, the working group also consults experts in each member state and occasionally presents its findings at conferences; for example, the ECER Conference. The TUNING website exposes the TUNING reports, displays best practice cases, advertises the ‘Tuning Methodology’ and, of course, also highlights its funding source with the EU gold star circle in the upper-right corner.

Infrastructuring Standards

121

The curriculum design promoted by TUNING locks together the educational standards of learning outcomes, the ECTS credit system and modularization: “Study programmes which have been set up according to the Tuning methodology are output-­oriented and, preferably, modularized” (TUNING, 2014a). Tuning claims that “one of the main innovations of Tuning has been to link learning outcomes, competences and ECTS workload based credits” (TUNING, 2014b). The Tuning project claims to have highlighted the importance of competences as the basis for curriculum design and the necessary links between competences, learning outcomes and a credit system (TUNING, 2014a). With this approach to the re-design of the higher education curriculum, the transition from input to output is considerably strengthened. The special feature of this particular follow-up mechanism, which TUNING facilitates, is the production of templates. These templates are produced to enable higher education institutions to implement the Bologna objectives in alignment with institutions from other countries. The templates are relatively detailed and display the ‘Tuning approach,’ locking together learning outcomes, the ECTS credit system and modularization. Here is an example of a ‘planning form’ for education:

122

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

CFD module of 15 ECTS credits 31 Masters level. 15 taught sessions of 1.5 h each and student workload expected of 150 h additional time Pedagogy and Curriculum of (SUBJECT) (confidentiality promise) Student Week Task workload Intended outcome Weeks 1–4 set the broad context of the module Week Introductory lecture setting 1.5 h Ia Awareness 1 context Key reading 1 chapter: 20 3.5 h Ia Deepening understanding of pages contextual issues Week Lecture 1.5 h Iil&3Awareness/reflection on practice 2 Key reading 20 pages 3.5 h Ib/II2Deepening understanding Week Lecture 1.5 h IdAwareness/reflection on practice 3 Key reading 3.5 h Id/II1Deepening understanding 1.5 Ia Awareness Week Lecture 4 Key reading 9 pages 1.5 h II 1Deepening understanding Weeks 5–10 each address a different specific aspect of developing pupil’s subject skills Week Lecture/workshop 1.5 h Ic/II3 Awareness 5 Key reading: 1 chapter 20 3.5 h IcDeepening understanding pages Week Lecture 1.5 h Ic Awareness 6 Key reading I chapter 12 1.5 h Ic Deepening understanding pages Week Lecture 1.5 h Ic Background of research on 7 topic:awareness Key reading 28 pages 4 h Ic Detail of research: deepening awareness Week Lecture 1.5 h Ic Awareness 8 Key reading 1 chapter 18 2.5 h Ic Understanding pages Week Lecture 1.5 h Ic Awareness of current research on topic 9 Key reading 1 chapter 15 2 h Ic Awareness pages TUNING, (2014c)

This extract from a template is part of a prototype for a 15 ECTS module in which learning outcomes, the ECTS credits and the module as the organizing principle is promoted. Higher education institutions are encouraged to download and use these templates. On the TUNING website, it is usually possible to find a relevant template to function as a prototype for the institution in question. Below is another example. It is a planning form for an educational module. Once again, this template promotes the modular structure of the curriculum, the credit system and learning outcomes:

Infrastructuring Standards

123

(TUNING, 2014c)

The TUNING project expands on these new educational standards and propels the translating processes by inviting agents from higher education intuitions to contribute their knowledge and expertise to the templates. In this way, higher education

124

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

research and teaching experts become active participants in the standardizing processes. By contributing to the production of templates, they become standardizers themselves and increase the pressure on their peers. The TUNING project is an example of how the modular block structure of the curriculum is promoted through both the TUNING approach and the production of related templates. Due to their participation in the working groups, these templates are then distributed by the agents of higher education institutions themselves. The TUNING project develops a common language and common ways of implementing the Bologna objectives operated by the higher education institutions (though with financial support from the European Commission). However, templates are only one of the paths constituting the infrastructuring that leads to the hegemonic status of modularization as the organizing principle of the new outcome-based curriculum; another path is best practice exercises, which are also cultivated in the TRENDS reports. Since 1999, the European University Association (EUA), which is also a consultative member of the BFUG, has published the TRENDS reports, thus providing the European higher education policy processes with an institutional perspective (EUA, 2014). The reports were published in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010 (TRENDS I-VI) and were produced with financial support from the European Commission. The information was collected through a combination of questionnaires – sent to rectors’ conferences and European higher education institutions – focus groups, visits to universities, and interviews (EUA, 2010, 2014). The rectors’ conferences acted as intermediaries for the questionnaires sent to higher education institutions. Based on this method, I assume that the involvement of professors in the process was relatively limited. In all likelihood, the institutional questionnaires were responded to administratively. The TRENDS reports aim to present longitudinal information on how the European higher education area is developed across countries. EUA understands the reports as reference points for policy makers and the higher education community as such (EUA, 2014). The reports are produced as preparation for the Bologna ministerial meetings and they compare different practices between countries. This EUA-driven project also supports the implementation of the Bologna objectives in order to ensure the progress towards a European Higher Education Area. Although the EUA project is generally descriptive  – and thus less prescriptive than the TUNING project, which produces templates to follow – there is no doubt that the project is laid out as an ongoing presentation of the ‘progress towards the European Higher education Area,’ as suggested by the TREND III title. The project seems to regard the new outcome-based curriculum as something that does justice to both external stakeholders’ interest in employability and the quality of higher education – a view which they share with the TUNING project: To do justice to the concerns of stakeholders regarding the relevance of higher education and the employability of HE graduates, without compromising the more long-term perspective proper to higher education institutions and to universities in particular, may well be the most decisive challenge and success-factor of Bologna-related curricular reforms. It should be noted that the growing trend towards structuring curricula in function of the learning outcomes and competences is often seen as a way to ensure that academic quality and long-­

Infrastructuring Standards

125

term employability become compatible goals of higher education. This understanding has also been the basis for the project “Tuning Educational Structures in Europe” in which more than 100 universities have tried to define a common core of learning outcomes in a variety of disciplines (EUA, 2003: 9).

Modularization is already mentioned in the 1999 report, but, at this stage, it is seemingly only the UK that is modularizing the curriculum in a coherent manner: “[In the UK, KB] courses are increasingly being offered on a modular and credit accumulation basis” (EUA, 1999: 49). In 2003, the TREND report describes the modular structure in a recommendable tone, which helps to overcome an “artificially high risk of failure for students”: Moreover, the use of an accumulation system in a modularised study structure allows final degrees to be awarded on the basis of continuous assessments and accumulated credits, rather than traditional final exams that can pose an artificially high risk of failure for students (EUA, 2003: 69).

Furthermore, in line with the TUNING project, the 2003 report emphasizes the interlocking of the educational standards. It even provides this ‘interrelatedness’ of the standards with a name: the ‘holistic Bologna’: Implementing the Bologna objectives becomes most fruitful if they are taken as a package and related to each other. Thus, for instance, the links between creating a Bachelor/Master degree structure, establishing an institution-wide credit transfer and accumulation system, and, less obvious to some, opening a lifelong learning perspective have clearly emerged as points of synergy in the course of reflections on how to implement such reforms at institutional level. These links have crystallised around the issues of creating modular structures and defining qualification frameworks and profiles, as well as concrete learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, competences and skills (EUA, 2003: 106).

The report recommends implementing the Bologna objectives as a package that locks together the credit system with the modular structure, qualifications frameworks and learning outcomes. In the 2005 report, it is stated that this interlocking of the standards and the pedagogical changes that accompany it are now ‘utilized in practically all countries’: On the other hand, the unique opportunity provided by the Bologna process to revise pedagogical concepts by introducing student-centred learning has been utilised in practically all countries, and modular structures and clearly defined learning outcomes for the various degrees awarded are being introduced (EUA, 2005: 10).

The design of the questionnaire further incentivizes the locking together of the educational standards. The following is part of an interview questionnaire framework used during institutional site visits from the EUA. They ask the institutions about certain curricula reforms; for example, ‘teaching/learning and assessment.’ They pose the following questions: (a) What does the concept of “learning outcomes” mean to you? (b) Are you considering defining learning outcomes for each course/study/degree programme? (c) How have courses been “restructured”? Are courses “modularised” or divided into units?

126

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

( d) Are (ECTS) credits used for transfer and/or accumulation? (e) What difficulties have you experienced in the restructuring of curricula? (EUA, 2005: 58) Although there are various interpretations of how to ‘modularize’ the curriculum, the 2005 report clearly promotes the view that a full-fledged modularization equals the implementation of a modular system with interdisciplinary elements (and not merely as a synonymous description of a lecture or a seminar). The report argues that this concept is often poorly understood, and it encourages higher education institutions to coordinate their approach (EUA, 2005: 18). The report further states: A large number of HEIs [higher education institutions, KB] declare that their programmes have been or are presently being modularised, e.g. in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Turkey (EUA, 2005: 16).

In the 2009 Stocktaking report, the overall conclusion is that: Flexible learning paths are at a range of stages of development across the EHEA. Overall, considerable progress has been made to modularize curricula and thereby increase flexibility for learners: 75% of the countries answered that they are establishing modular structures (BFUG, 2009: 85).

The stocktaking report follows its usual logic and displays the support for flexible learning paths in a color-coded chart. The blue ‘yes’ area depicts the countries that support a ‘more flexible delivery’ of higher education study programs, and the yellow ‘no’ area depicts countries that do not support flexibility (and are therefore regarded as ‘rigid’ in opposition to ‘flexible’).

36

modular structures flexible delivery flexible entry requirem support HE staff flexible curricula

9

39

6

38

7

29 27

16 18

30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%100%

Support for more flexible delivery. (BFUG, 2009: 85)

yes no

127

Infrastructuring Standards

By asking questions that scaffold the locking together of standards and by comparing best practices, the EUA reports incentivize higher education organizations to implement the Bologna objectives. The TRENDS reports reveal that the number of countries implementing curriculum modularization – together with other key educational standards – increases dramatically during the years of the Bologna implementation. The 2009 stocktaking report confirms this. It seems that, in 10 years – from the 1999 TRENDS report, in which the UK was the only country to stand out as an implementer of modules, to the 2009 stocktaking report, which states that 75% of the member countries have established a modular structure  – three thirds of the signatory states confirm that they are actively implementing a modularization of the curriculum. This sudden increase is also reflected in the 2010 TRENDS report, in which 69% of the member countries confirm they have either partially or fully changed the organization of study programs from a system based on the academic year to a system based on study units or modules (EUA, 2010: 46). The 2007 and 2010 TRENDS reports (TRENDS V and VI) introduce some of the same instruments used in the stocktaking reports. These TRENDS reports move from text-­ based comparative exercises to diagram- and chart-based comparisons that measure the spread of educational standards, such as the ECTS credit system, learning outcomes and modularization as success indicators of the implementtation of the Bologna objectives. Here is an example from the 2010 report. It stresses that the implementation of modularization has led to more flexibility in the choice of courses for students: 100%

80% 70%

60%

40%

20% 4%

11%

I don’t know

Less flexibility in choice of courses for the students

15%

0% No change

More flexibility in choice of courses for the students

Q18b. If yes, has the modularisation of courses led to? (EUA, 2010: 47)

128

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

The reports acquire an increasingly ‘educative’ tone – “As with any approach to learning and teaching, it can be done well or badly” (EUA, 2010: 32) – and strongly encourage modularization as an important tool to stimulate interdisciplinarity, innovation and employment: Modularisation and a learning-outcome approach can potentially stimulate the growth of interdisciplinarity and optional courses in a study programme, thus increasing the potential for innovative studies that can better address each student’s interests and potentially enhance employment opportunities (EUA, 2010: 58).

As opposed to many of the other educational standards, such as learning outcomes, there are no specific, formal guidelines supporting the implementation of the modular structure. This is confirmed by the EUA (EUA, 2005: 15). However, through the use of instruments such as templates, best practice exercises, targeted questionnaires, diagrams, charts and the encouragement to be one of the countries supporting ‘flexibility,’ the implementation is nevertheless pushed forward efficiently. This infrastructure ensures that those involved are intertwined with the performative materiality of the scorecards, templates, and diagrams as well as the way these various charts affectively wire those involved. Borrowing a concept from Sara Ahmed, I suggest that this affective economy (Ahmed, 2004a) accelerates the implementation processes because it encourages the member states (through the scorecards) and the organizations (through the TRENDS reports and the TUNING project) to co-opt themselves voluntarily into the ‘Bologna mode of governance.’ This is precisely where Blackman is right to question the metaphor of contagion by stating that affective circulation is never simply something one ‘catches’ but rather a material-affective process that one is ‘caught up’ in (Blackman, 2007/2008: 29; Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016). The agents are seemingly caught up in a material-­ affective infrastructure that propels the implementation process and the spread of the educational standards. And, since the agents are made to co-produce the very same structures and standards by which they are pushed and affected, the agents themselves become standardizers as part of this dynamic. The material-affective infrastructure indicates a strong agentic dimension of the Bologna Process. This material-affective configuration of the Bologna Process suggests that it does not emanate from the setting of political agendas, the production of the policy text or its implementation into practice (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010: x). Rather it is circulated through a material-affective infrastructure that makes education agents co-opt themselves into the process and thus become standardizers themselves. As already mentioned in Chap. 2, globalizing reform processes of education such as the Bologna Process are not processes that people and nations simply have to come to terms with; they are processes in which these agents actively participate. The implementation is nevertheless pushed forward efficiently with the consent and active engagement from the governed. Because of how the agents are made to co-opt themselves into the implementation processes, the infrastructure facilitates an almost invisible power. The encouragement, repetition and monitoring of implementation progress is constitutive of which standards spread and gain hegemonic power. In this way, the Bologna Process does not merely represent a quantitative change to the scope and

Infrastructuring Standards

129

magnitude of education reform. It equally produces a qualitiative change of social intra-action, including the ways in which agents are made to co-produce the structures and standards involved. Tracing how the standards are circulated through the material-affective infrastructure provides an impression of how certain standards gain hegemonic power, how they are ultimately considered best practices, and under which conditions and circumstances they are spread as part of the Bologna mode of governance. These are all research interests encouraged by the ‘policy borrowing and lending approach’ (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004, 2010, 2013). Tracing the standards and how they are circulated through the infrastructure also challenges the naturalized versions of ‘international standards.’ The standards are not international but they become international by being circulated through the infrastructure, which means there is a profound agentic dimension to how a standard becomes international. A fear of shame and a thrill of fame may appear as strong affective drivers for the circulation. The fear of shame (as already discussed) incites the agents involved to self-improvement and ‘better performance.’ And the thrill of fame may also be fueled by the lighting of a competitive desire. The affective register modulated by the scorecards, diagrams and templates seems to ignite a mimetic desire – the so-­ called triangular desire – introduced in Chap. 2. As already outlined, mimetic desire is an expansion of the structure of desire to encompass not only subject and object but also a third party: the mediator and initiator of the desire. The subject desires the object only because it is desired by a third party – in this case, a peer mediates the desire and is therefore both admired and despised as an ideal of and a barrier to the desired object: the closer the mediator comes, the more bitter the fruits of mimetic desire (Girard, 1966: 42). Desire turns into the mimesis of another’s desire. As the educational agents borrow a policy (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012), they also seem to borrow a desire. The mimetic desire works as a kind of camouflage to deter predators: the peer whose desire is mimicked. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a mimic is a living species that has evolved to copy and thus resemble another successful species. This species pretends to be the other. In his novel The Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz presents his famous concept of mimicry not as a question of changing nature but of changing appearance (Paz, 1985: 43–44). Due to the character of mimesis, the mimetic desire is precisely a borrowed desire that helps one mimic the performance of others – that helps one ‘keep up’ appearances. Educational agents – such as states and organizations – strive to perform because this is what everybody else does; still interested in the other, they mimic the desire of their peers. In this way, the mimetic desire has a competitive impact and emerges as a strong affective factor that accelerates the implementation process. The way these follow-up mechanisms ‘wire’ the agents is one of the ‘how’s’ of this form of governance: it is an affective-material infrastructure that ‘helps’ the process of standardization move forward (Brøgger, 2016b). In Chap. 6, I will demonstrate how the top-managers use a mimetic strategy by mimicking the desire of their peers and how the professors use a mimetic strategy by playing dead or by shadow-practicing producing ‘camouflage documents.’ These very different ways of ‘camouflaging’ turn out to be related to the different temporalities and the quality of these temporalities, which characterizes how the actions of managers and professors are propelled.

130

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

My analysis of the fear of shame and the thrill of fame presented here suggests that the material-affective infrastructure activates both ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ affective registers. I will explore the negative registers – such as the fear of shame – in more detail in Chap. 6. According to the literature and the empirical material, negative registers are far more prevalent than positive registers. This is confirmed in Chap. 6, in which the negative registers are expressed through feelings of disgust and nausea. The so-called positive register expressed through the thrill of fame is arguably ambivalent, since it is connected to a competitive desire that is seemingly created through incentive structures and related to certain mechanisms of marketizations of higher education. Of course, it is possible to envisage other positive r­ egisters that could act as drivers in these processes, such as the desire to be included, the desire to be part of something new, and the desire to be part of a progressive community. However, these positive registers are very rare  – or even absent  – in the empirical material and most of the critical literature on the Bologna Process. This does not mean that these positive factors do not exist; it simply means that my material has not allowed me to see them. My material reveals many negative registers that relate to the tightening of the interlocking standards and the compliance to peer pressure. This includes the ways in which states and organizations become assessing peers and standardizers themselves as well as the potential loss of perspective due to the accelerated pace of organizational change, as I will discuss in Chap. 6. In Chap. 6, I will also address the effects of the material-affective dynamic and some of the re-configurations of educational agents – such as organizations, professors and managers – that occur as contingent effects of the infrastructure. In brief, the effects of the new standards concern a re-configuring of future, past and present times.

Summary: Paving the Way to Hegemony In 1999, it was not possible to predict the ‘future proportions’ of the Bologna Process or to anticipate its effects; nor was it possible to imagine that a European education area would essentially be brought into being through the materializing of certain policy ontologies  – the monitored coordination (the OMC or OMC-like activities) – and its competitive mechanisms, such as benchmarking and measurement (Dale, 2009; Gornitzka, 2006; Wahlström, 2010)). It was also impossible to foresee exactly what kind of social control would be embedded in the policy instruments that formed a vital part of the infrastructure of the policy ontology. Lascoumes and Gales argue that policy instruments always bring about certain kinds of social control and that they are never neutral devices in the sense that they always produce specific effects (Lascoumes & Gales, 2007: 3). Following the instrumentation approach allows us to address aspects of the policy processes that otherwise remain invisible (Lascoumes & Gales, 2007: 4). It allows us to see the ways in which naming-­shaming-faming mechanisms become a major driver of the implementation process, which again helps us understand the efficiency of the process despite the absence of ‘hard law.’ I will also elaborate on this in the following chapter.

Infrastructuring Standards

131

As we have seen, voluntary coordination has become increasingly less voluntary and increasingly more binding. The ontology of the new mode of governance is characterized by the absence of government and decrees and the presence of incentives and standards. The securing of the implementation of the educational standards and the continuous development and production of new standards in Europe works through the follow-up mechanisms shaped by experts and peer-pressure and, through these processes, governing without government is produced (Lawn & Grek, 2012: 70). The structure and instruments of the follow-up mechanisms constitute the infrastructure of the policy ontology of the new mode of governance. The ­infrastructure is an explosion of standardizing devices and calculative practices in accordance with ‘monitored coordination’ or OMC-like activities (Lawn & Grek, 2012: 83). Since the DNA of the OMC is that people co-opt themselves into this mode of governance, experts and peers become efficient standardizers themselves and actively participate in the development, production and systematic monitoring of standardized performance requirements. The follow-up mechanisms, including the Commission and other agents, promote the idea that educational outputs are measurable, both at the individual level (regarding the linking between ECTS credits and learning outcomes) and at the national level through the stocktaking procedures (Keeling, 2006: 209). Standards are sensitive to the ways in which organizational agents infrastructure. The spreading of standards seems dependent on infrastructure. The preceding ethnographic studies on the travelling paths of two standards – learning outcomes and modules  – work as an empirical tracing of the spread of standards. This ethnographic research carves out details from the bundle of infinite connections that characterize the Bologna Process and meticulously disentangles some of the mechanisms that constitute the infrastructure of the policy ontology. This carving out is a movement through which I have been closing in empirically and analytically on the ‘how’ of the spread. The denaturalization of the Bologna Process consists in this disentanglement from seductive metaphors, such as the contagion metaphor. The ethnographic examinations and analyses show that standards do not travel by ‘infecting’ states, higher education organizations or other agents. They do not spread as a contagious, viral epidemic. Instead, standards seem to travel via a material-affective infrastructure within which participants are made to co-opt themselves and therefore actively co-create the standards and infrastructures; a material-affective circulation that one does not catch like a virus, but in which one is ‘caught up’ by being incentivized to self-enrollment. The infrastructure is the matterology of the ontology. Through the infrastructure, it is possible to trace the crafting of the policy ontology – how the policy ontology of the Bologna process comes into existence. The infrastructure works through benchmarking exercises that materialize through scorecards, graphs, numbers and indicators (as in the case of the outcome-based curriculum) and best practice exercises through models and templates (as in the case of modularization). The borrowing of policies through these materializations is accompanied by the borrowing of certain affects, such as fear and desire. The fear of shame producing self-­improvement and better performance or the mimesis of another’s desire – the competitive mimetic

132

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

desire mediated through a peer who is equally admired and despised as an ideal of and a barrier to the desired object. This affective register is calibrated and modulated through the follow-up mechanisms. In this infrastructural dynamic, materiality and affectivity bring life to each other, making the infrastructure very efficient at spreading the standards. Seemingly, standards do not travel because they are powerful but become powerful as they travel. They gain a hegemonic status because they are circulated: they are not international standards but they become international by being circulated. The Open Method of Coordination has become the oeuvre through which (inter)national measuring and comparative tools propel education g­ overnance. This type of governance does not work through the force of law or domination but the force of persuasion and the subtle exercise of direction. In this way, the governing not only entails the consent of the governed but also, due to comparative measuring of results, makes the governed want what they have to do (Brøgger, 2016a, 2018). The consent and legitimization of the alteration of higher education is manufactured through the infrastructure of the reform. The hegemonic power of the Bologna Process, including how standards are singled out and carried forward, seems invisible because it relies on consent and voluntary co-option. The Open Method of Coordination, which constitutes the policy ontology of the Bologna Process, institutes the new mode of governance in which nations and universities volunteers data, exchange templates and become standardizers themselves and thus active contributors to the hegemonic power of the reform and the international character of the new curricular standards. The bench is not marked from the outside. All the actors involved in the process mark the bench. The benchmarking is part of a material-affective economy in which affects such as fear and desire are capitalized, borrowed and exchanged – an economy that marks the bench in the sense of setting the standards by circulating them. It is a complex, material-affective practice that requires work to sustain – it is nourished by agents who ‘voluntarily’ and continuously co-opt themselves into the process. The answer to the possible limits of circulation and to why everything is not always circulated can be found in the ‘how’ of the spread. In relation to the Bologna Process, the limits can be found in the fine-­ grained, material-affective infrastructure within which standards and affects give life to one another. The analysis of the policy ontology and its infrastructure seems to have generic qualities, and future research could help to show whether this analytic approach could also inform the ‘how’ – and hence the limits – of the spread of educational standards in other reform settings, such as school reform processes. It appears as though the standards have been borrowed from Anglophone countries and used to change continental European education. The modular outcome-­ based curriculum indicates a utilitarian ethos that fits well with the convergence between the Bologna Process and the EU growth strategies and perception of education as a growth factor. The standards have been borrowed into the Bologna Process and, as part of this process, they have been offered paths to travel through the follow-­up mechanisms. Since certain standards, such as the module, can be traced back to the UK in the 1990s, it seems unlikely that the new mode of governance works by regulating with a single standard; instead, part of the regulation consists in the interlocking of standards. This interlocking ensures that adopting one standard

Infrastructuring Standards

133

entails adopting all the accompanying standards. Buying one standard means buying the whole package. And this interlocking increases as more measurements and comparisons intensify the circulation. By performing ethnographies on learning outcomes and modules, I was able to carve out the infrastructure of the policy ontology and reveal the mechanisms through which states and higher education organizations become part of the process. The states are primarily made to co-opt themselves into the process through extensive benchmarking, whereas the organizations are driven by best practice exercises. However, best practice exercises are not the only way in which the ­organizations are made to comply. As already mentioned, there is no legislative power connected to the process at the European level. This means that the Bologna objectives are not legally binding until they become part of national legislation. Such legislating activity is performed by governments who implement the objectives within bodies of national legislation where they see fit. In Denmark, the curricular changes shaped in accordance with the Bologna objectives have been implemented by new ministerial orders over a period of years. All revisions of existing educational programs and the development of new educational programs have been adjusted according to the qualifications frameworks and designed and organized around outcomes and portable modules. However, as Karseth claims, “curriculum developments in practice rarely follow the rhetoric of change proposed by the system of governance” (Karseth, 2008: 65). The Open Method of Coordination, which includes the various follow-up procedures, seems to pay limited or no attention to this practice  – the lived life within higher education in which professors and managers are supposed to translate the new standards into practice. The follow-up mechanisms seem to leave out this practice. In cases where organizations are involved in providing follow-up data, the reporting is managed administratively. In effect, the practice of the managers and professors closest to the development of educational programs are glossed over by certain follow-up structures and narratives on successful implementation provided and enabled by reporting from states (ministries) and organizations at the topadministrative levels. Part of the reason why the self-­referential ontology of the Bologna Process is sustained is because it is effectively detached from this (much messier) everyday life at higher education institutions. To sustain the OMCstructure, the everyday working life for professors and managers is left out. However, these lives are of interest to researchers since they represent what seems to be glossed over and made invisible by the peer-pressure ontology of the Bologna Process – a layer that is hidden behind the system but which turns out to haunt the ontology. This apparent blurring makes it even more important to extend the ethnographic research on the travelling of standards to include the translation processes among managers and professors. What seems to be glossed over by the follow-up mechanisms is what standards do when they travel and intra-act with educational organizations  – and therefore also potentially all the contingent and unintended translations of the reform processes. The governance rhetoric may not accord with the messy realities at the ‘shop floor level.’ As Karseth underlines, “reforms have never worked as they were portrayed” (Karseth, 2008: 65).

134

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

However, if the tools and instruments that are part of the infrastructure do not include stocktaking of the implementation processes among the agents who actually translate the standards into practice, it is easy to remain ignorant of how these realities look or how the reforms work in practice. In the final part of this monograph, I will present ethnographic research among professors and top- and mid-level managers. The ethnographic studies display some of the contingent and unintended effects of the Bologna Process, such as the way in which the new education standards change the social and professional world both among professors and managers. In order to do this, I will turn ‘the slippage’ between ‘successful implementation’ and the messy and multiple reals of education into the unit of analysis. Conceptually and analytically, this slippage is reflected in the vibrant dynamics between the matterology – the infrastructural crafting of the ontology of the policy – and hauntology – that which haunts this ontology.

References Ahmed, S. (2004a). Affective economies. Social Text 79, 22(2), 117–139. Ahmed, S. (2004b). The cultural politics of emotions. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press. Allais, S. M. (2011). The changing faces of the South African national qualifications framework. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 343–358. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, UK: Duke University Press. Bârlea, P. G. (2010). From the European to the national qualifications framework of higher education. In Diversité et Identité Culturelle en Europe. Bucureşti, Romania: Editura Muzeul Literaturii Române. Bellacasa, P. (2009). Touching technologies, touching visions. The reclaiming of sensorial experience and the politics of speculative thinking. Subjectivity, 28, 297–315. Betts, M., & Smith, R. (1998). Developing the credit-based modular curriculum in higher education. London: Falmer Press. BFUG. (2005). Bologna Process stocktaking. BFUG. (2007). Bologna Process stocktaking. BFUG. (2009). Bologna Process stocktaking report. BFUG. (2012). Bologna Process stocktaking. The European higher education area in 2012: Bologna Process implementation report. Blackman, L. (2007/2008). Is happiness contagious? New Formations, 63, 15–32. Blackman, L. (2007a). Feeling F.I.N.E: Social psychology, suggestion and the problem of social influence. International Journal of Critical Psychology, 21, 23–49. Blackman, L. (2007b). Reinventing psychological matters: The importance of the suggestive realm of Tarde’s ontology. Economy and Society, 36(4), 574–596. Blackman, L. (2012). Immaterial bodies. Affect, embodiment, mediation. London: Sage. Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. (2004). Report on: A framework for qualifications of the European higher education area. Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. (2005). A framework for qualifications of the European higher education area. Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. (2007, May). National qualifications frameworks development and certification report from Bologna Working Group on qualifications frameworks.

References

135

Bouder, A. (2003). Qualifications in France: Towards a national framework? Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 347–356. Bridges, D. (2000). Back to the future: The higher education curriculum in the 21st century. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 37–55. Brøgger, K. (2016a). Du skal ville det, du skal. Om de videregående uddannelsers nye tilskyndelsesøkonomi. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift (Danish Journal of Education), 2, 87–99. Brøgger, K. (2016b). The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: Governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 72–91. Brøgger, K. (2018a). The performative power of (non)human agency assemblages of soft governance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(5), 353–366. Brøgger, K. (2018b). How education standards gain hegemonic power and become International: The case of higher education and the Bologna Process. European Educational Research Journal (E-pub ahead of print. Special issue). Brøgger, K., & Staunæs, D. (2016). Standards and (self)implosion: How the circulation of affects accelerates the spread of standards and intensifies the embodiment of colliding, temporal ontologies. Theory & Psychology, 26(2), 223–242. Brunsson, N., & Jacobsson, B. (2000). A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Burke, P., & Carey, A. (1994). Modular developments in secondary and further education: Their implications for higher education. In A. Jenkins & L. Walker (Eds.), Developing student capability through modular courses. London: Kogan Page. Busch, L. (2000). The moral economy of grades and standards. Journal of Rural Studies, 16, 273–283. Busch, L. (2011). Standards. Recipes for realities. Cambridge, MA/London: The MIT Press. Cort, P. (2010). Stating the obvious: The European qualifications framework is not a neutral evidence-­based policy tool. European Educational Research Journal, 9(3), 304–316. Dahl, B., Lien, E., & Lindberg-Sand, Å. (2009). Conformity of confusion? Changing higher education grading scales as a part of the Bologna Process; the cases of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Learning and Teaching, 2(1), 39–79. Dale, R. (2009). Studying globalisation in rducation: Lisbon, the open method of coordination and beyond. In R. Dale & S. Robertson (Eds.), Globalisation and Europeanisation in education. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. (2014). On the procedures of the stocktaking working group in relation to the BFUG/Interviewer: K. Brøgger. EHEA-ministers. (1999). Bologna declaration. The European higher education area, June 19, in Bologna EHEA-ministers. (2003). Berlin Communiqué. “Realising the European higher education area”. Communiqué of the conference of Ministers responsible for higher education in Berlin on 19 September 2003. EHEA-ministers. (2005a). Bergen Communiqué. Communiqué of the conference of European Ministers responsible for higher education, Bergen, 19–20 May 2005. EHEA-ministers. (2005b). The framework of qualifications for the European higher education area. Adopted by the Ministers of Education of the Bologna Process at their meeting in Bergen in May 2005, through the Bergen Communiqué. EHEA-ministers. (2007a, May 18). London Communiqué. In London Communiqué. Towards the European higher education area: Responding to challenges in a globalised world. London. EHEA-ministers. (2007b). Strategy for the EHEA in a global setting. Adopted by ministers in 2007. EHEA-ministers. (2012). Bucharest Communiqué. EHEA ministerial conference. Making the most of our potential: Consolidating the European higher education area. Bucharest Communiqué. Ensor, P. (2003). The national qualifications frameowrk and higher education in South Africa: Some epistemological issues. Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 325–346. EUA. (1999). TRENDS I.

136

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

EUA. (2003). TRENDS III. EUA. (2005). TRENDS IV. EUA. (2010). TRENDS VI. EUA. (2014). Trends in European higher education. European Commission. (2003a). Berlin conference of European higher education ministers “Realising the European Higher Education Area”. Contribution of the European Commission. Berlin, 18/19 September 2003. European Commission. (2003b, November 8). From Berlin to Bergen.The EU contribution. Brussels. European Commission. (2003c). Implementation of the “Education & Training 2010” programme. Supporting document for the draft joint interim report on the implementation of the detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe. COM (2003) 685 final. Brussels, 11.11.2003. European Commission. (2015). The European higher education area in 2015: Bologna Process implementation report. Girard, R. (1966). Deceit, desire and the novel – Self and other in literary structure. London: The John Hopkins University Press. Gornitzka, Å. (2005). Coordinating policies for a ‘Europe of knowledge’. Emerging practices of the ‘Open Method of Coordination’ in education and research (Arena Working Papers, 16) Gornitzka, Å. (2006). The open method of coordination as practice  – A watershed in european education policy? ARENA Working Paper, 16, 1–58. Gramsci, A., Hoare, Q., & Smith, G. N. (1971). Selections from the prison notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Grek, S. (2009). Governing by numbers: The PISA ‘effect’ in Europe. Journal of Education Policy, 24(1), 23. Henckel, O., & Wright, S. (2008). The Bologna Process: A voluntary method of coordination and marketisation? (Henckel interviewed by Wright). Teaching and Learning, 1(2), 1–24. Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Viewing data across multiple perspectives. London/New York: Routledge. Karseth, B. (2008). Qualifications frameworks for the European higher education area. A new instrumentalism or “much ado about nothing”? Utbildning & Demokrati, 17(2), 51–72. Karseth, B., & Solbrekke, T. D. (2010). Qualifications frameworks: The avenue towards the convergence of European higher education? European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 563–576. Keeling, R. (2006). The Bologna Process and the Lisbon research agenda: The European Commission’s expanding role in higher education discourse. European Journal of Education, 41(2), 203–223. Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lascoumes, P., & Gales, P. L. (2007). Introduction: Understanding public policy through its instruments  – From the nature of instruments to the sociology of public policy instrumentation. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20(1), 1–21. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Lawn, M., & Segerholm, C. (2011). Europe through experts and technologies. In J.  Ozga, P. Dahler-Larsen, C. Segerholm, & H. Simola (Eds.), Fabricating quality in education. Data and governance in Europe. London/New York: Routledge. Lažetić, P. (2010). Managing the Bologna Process at the European Leel: Instituion and actor dynamics. European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 549–562. Leask, M. (1994). Modular courses; assesment and student capability. In A. Jenkins & L. Walker (Eds.), Developing student capability through modular courses. London: Kogan Page. Lingard, B., & Sellar, S. (2013). ‘Catalyst data’: Perverse systemic effects of audit and accountability in Australian schooling. Journal of Education Policy, 28(5), 634–656.

References

137

Massumi, B. (2002). Parables for the virtual: Movement, affect, sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Massumi, B. (2005). Fear (The spectrum said). Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 13(1), 31–48. Ministry of Higher Education and Science. (2008). The Danish qualifications framework for higher education. Ministry for Science Technology and Development. (2003). Bill on a University Act, 1, 125 (January 15, 2003). Ministry for Science Technology and Development. (2004). Ministerial order, no. 338 of May 6, 2004: Ministry for Science, Technology and Development. Ministry of Higher Education and Science. (2009). National report regarding the Bologna Process implementation 2007–2009. Ministry of Higher Education and Science. (2014). The Bologna Process. Ministry of Higher Education and Science. (2016). Ministerial order, no. 1328 of November 15, 2016. Moutsios, S. (2013). The de-Europeanization of the university under the Bologna Process. Thesis Eleven, 119(1), 22–46. Naidoo, R., & Jamieson, I. (2005). Empowering participants or corroding learning? Towards a research agenda on the impact of student consumerism in higher education. Journal of Education Policy, 20(3), 267–281. Naidoo, R., Shankar, A., & Veer, E. (2011). The consumerist turn in higher education: Policy aspirations and outcomes. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(11–12), 1142–1162. Naidoo, R., & Williams, J. (2014). The neoliberal regime in English higher education: Charters, consumers and the erosion of the public good. Critical Studies in Education, 56(2), 208–223. Nielsen, G. B. (2010). Student figures in friction. Explorations into Danish University reform and shifting forms of student participation. (PhD), Aarhus University, Copenhagen. Pawson, R. (2002). Evidence and policy and naming and shaming. Policy Studies, 23(3), 211–230. Paz, O. (1985). The Labyrinth of solitude. New York: Grove Press. Pilz, M. (2002). Modularisation in the Scottish system: A view from the outside. Scottish Educational Review, 34(2), 163–174. Probyn, E. (2005). Blush. Faces of shame. Minneapolis, MN/London: University of Minnesota Press. Rauhvargers, A. (2004). Improving the recognition of qualifications in the framework of the Bologna Process. European Journal of Edcuation, 39(3), 331–347. Ravinet, P. (2008). From voluntary participation to monitored coordination: Why European countries feel increasingly bound by their commitment to the Bologna Process. Europan Journal of Education, 43(3), 353–367. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge. Robertson, S. (2009). Europe, competetiveness and higher education: An evolving project. In R. Dale & S. Robertson (Eds.), Globalisation & Europeanisation in education (pp. 65–83). Oxford, UK: Symposium Books. Rose, N. (1991). Governing by numbers: Figuring out democracy. Accounting Organizations and Society, 16(7), 673–692. Sarauw, L. -L. (2011). Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser : Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003. PhD, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen. Star, S. L., & Bowker, G. C. (2006). How to infrastructure? In L. A. Lievrouw & S. Livingstone (Eds.), Handbook of new media. Social shaping and social consequences of ICTs. London: SAGE. Staunæs, D., & Pors, J. G. (2015). Thinking educational policy and management through (frictional) concepts of affects. In M. Clarke, K. N. Gulson, & E. B. Petersen (Eds.), Education policy, research and theories of the present. London: Routledge.

138

5  The Infrastructure of the Bologna Process: Standards as Technology

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2004). Introduction. Globalization in education: Real or imagined? In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.), The global politics of educational borrowing and lending (pp. 1–6). New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2010). The politics and economics of comparison. Comparative Education Review, 54(3), 323–342. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.)., World yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education Understanding policy borrowing and lending. Building comparative policy studies. New York: Routledge. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2013). What is wrong with the what-went-right approach in educational policy? European Educational Research Journal, (1), 12, 20–33. Strathdee, R. (2003). The qualifications framework in New Zealand: Reproducing existing inequalities or disrupting the positional conflict for credentials. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 147–164. Strathdee, R. (2011). The implementation, evolution and impact of New Zealand’s national qualifications framework. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 303–321. The Danish Evaluation Institute. (2009). Self-certification. Verification of compatibility of the Danish national qualifications framework for higher education with the framework for qualifications of the European higher education area. Thrift, N. (2007). Non-representational theory: Space, politics and affect. London: Routledge. Thrift, N. (2008). Non-representational theory: Space, politics, affect. Milton Park, Abingdon: Routledge. TUNING. (2007). Introduction to Tuning-2. In TUNING (Ed.): TUNING. TUNING. (2014a). Quality enhancement at programme level: The Tuning approach. Retrieved from http://www.unideusto.org/tuningeu/qualityenhancement.html TUNING. (2014b). Tuning methodology. Retrieved from http://www.unideusto.org/tuningeu/ tuning-methodology.html#ects TUNING. (2014c). Workload & ECTS. Retrieved from http://www.unideusto.org/tuningeu/documents/workload-a-ects.html Wahlström, N. (2010). A European space for education looking for its public. European Educational Research Journal, 9(4), 432–443. Wetherell, M. (2012). Affect and emotion. A new social science understanding. London: Sage. Wheelahan, L. (2011). From old to new: The Australian qualifications framework. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 323–342. Winterton, J.  (2009). Competence across Europe: Highest common factor or lowest common denominator. Journal of European Industrial Training, 33(8/9), 681–700. Young, M. (2003). National qualifications frameworks as global phenomenon: A comparative perspective. Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 223–237. Young, M. (2007). Qualifications frameworks: Some conceptual issues. European Journal of Edcuation, 42(4), 445–457. Young, M. (2008). Towards a European qualifications framework: Some cautionary observations. Journal of European Industrial Training, 32(2/3), 127–137. Young, M. (2011). National vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom: Their origins and legacy. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 259–282.

Chapter 6

The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

The Spectrality of the Past As already mentioned earlier in this monograph, in policy studies, including the practice turn in organization and management studies, part of the turn to materiality is reflected in the exploration of the processual character of the policy processes: in this case, the translations, practices and enactments performed by professors and managers in higher education institutions (Johnson, Melin, & Whittington, 2003; Nicolini, Gherardi, & Yanow, 2003; Orlikowski, 2007; Pickering, 2001; Regnér, 2008; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010; Schatzki, 2006; Shore & Wright, 2011). In a way, the policy borrowing approach operationalizes this exploration through an analytical perspective on (for example) organizational processes and actions and international dynamics (Carney, 2009: 63; Phillips, 2004). In this monograph, I have argued that the peer-pressure ontology of the Bologna Process, including its material-affective infrastructure, is sustained by glossing over, and thus making invisible, the everyday organizational working life for professors and managers in higher education. The infrastructure of the policy ontology is decisive, because it determines what can and cannot become a visible part of the reform processes. The infrastructure turns the OMC into a type of self-referential system, since the follow-up mechanisms omit the everyday working lives. As part of the success story about the Bologna Process, these lives are being buried behind the explosion of big data visuals such as scorecards. However, the working life – the practices and translations performed by professors and managers – is precisely what seems to haunt the Bologna ontology. The indeterminacies that accompany the spread of the new education standards is displayed as part of the professors’ and managers’ practices, but they seem to be largely absent in the promising and optimistic pictures drawn by the BFUG (Teelken & Wihlborg, 2010: 109). The follow-up reports, templates and models convey a strong conviction that the modular, outcome-based curriculum is or will soon become an integral part of higher education, also within and as part of organizational practices. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_6

139

140

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Technologies such as the overarching qualifications frameworks are designed to ensure this. As Karseth claims, this approach to the ‘implementation’ of the Bologna objectives, including the three-cycle system, the creditsystem, quality assurance, and comparable degrees through qualifications frameworks, is seemingly underpinned by the assumption that ‘implementation’ is a rational process in which it is possible to overcome obstacles by planning and strategizing (Karseth, 2008: 66). On this view, there seem to be no ‘real and serious’ obstacles – merely “misunderstandings, confusions and lack of clarifications that can be dealt with through a vigilant planning process.” (Karseth, 2008: 66). It is precisely this perception of the policy process that the ‘policy borrowing and lending approach’ challenges. As previously mentioned, this approach places greater weight on the agency, process, impact, and timing of the processes (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012: 5) and it does not consider inconsistencies and contradictions between policy ambitions and local translations as misunderstandings and lack of clarifications or “unpleasant ‘noise’ that is best ignored” (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012: 14). The policy borrowing approach attempts to emphasize and nuance how the reform morphs as it moves, how the organizational translations of the reform co-produces the reform and perhaps even changes it (Cowen, 2009; Schriewer & Martinez, 2004; Steiner-Khamsi, 2002). There is no doubt that the implementation of the Bologna Process is far more complicated and messy than the official reports seem to suggest. The qualification frameworks are implemented through national legislation – and successfully so – at least on paper. However, the professors’ translations of these new standards seem to present colliding epistemic understandings of the standards. As I will outline later, the policy ambitions in the European and national political rhetoric fail to resonate with the practices of everyday working life in higher education institutions. The Bologna Process has an undeniable impact, but not necessarily because it leads to harmonization – as was stated in the early Bologna documents (EHEA-ministers, 1998); as I will show, the Bologna Process affects higher education organizations in unexpected ways. I will explore these practices in the following chapters and, by doing so, I will uncover some of the unintended translations of the reform processes and the new educational standards, including the ways in which they haunt the ontology of the Bologna Process. Meanwhile, in the following chapters, it will become clear that the phenomenological play moves even further. As mentioned in Chap. 2, I consider hauntology and matterology to mutually fertilize each other. As Derrida states, there is no Da-sein of the specter – meaning there is no phenomenological thereness of the specter – but neither is there any human being (phenomenological thereness) without the uncanniness of some specter (Derrida, 1994). In the following chapters, this phenomenological entanglement of presence and absence, emergence and disappearance is displayed through the the ways in which what is haunting also materializes – for example, through ghostly juntas haunting and hunting colleagues in the corridors – and how these specters not only momentarily materialize but also carry tremendous significance: the specters matter in every sense of the word. In this way, the ‘rest,’ the ‘supplement’ (the specters) proves to have constitutive power over how the reform takes place and is translated.

The Spectrality of the Past

141

The following ethnographic research suggests that the performative effects of the new education standards differ depending on whether they are bundled up with everyday practices among professors or among managers. Among the professors, it seems that the introduction of the new standards triggered a disciplinary, territorial war of academic identity and associated positioning between academic disciplines and organizational positioning as such. This war seems to be propelled by the agency of the past. Whereas the past seemed to be re-configured through the social geography of disciplinary identities among the professors, the future seems to be re-configured through the social geography of competitive intensities among the managers. I understand identity to be about the ‘who’ or ‘what’ of a person or thing and I understand intensity as something that addresses the quality of a certain state of mind and body – a quality of being intense (regarding the work on ‘intensities’, also see (Juelskjær, Knudsen, Pors, & Staunæs, 2011; Juelskjær, Staunæs, & Ratner, 2013; Staunæs & Juelskjær, 2014)). Among the managers, the new standards trigger a ‘high-wired’ reality of calculation and acceleration of change that seems to be propelled by the agency of the future. Even though the managers’ current translations of the reform are glossed over by the infrastructure of the policy ontology – the same as the professors – the top-managers nevertheless seem to actively take part in the new governing mode of higher education. Because of their overall strategic responsibilities in the organizations, they are caught up in the material-affective mode of governance outlined in Chap. 5. Both the professors and managers’ actions have a mimetic character, but they make use of different ‘protective shields of similarity’. As already mentioned in the analysis in Chap. 5, mimetic strategies are deployed as a kind of camouflage to deter predators. For the professors, the predators come in the shape of colleagues and managers and their camouflaging techniques either materialize through ‘playing dead’ (secure academic positions by refusing to move) or through the production of ‘camouflage documents.’ On the other hand, the managers are always on the lookout for new developments and, in this sense, they are caught up in the mechanism of the mimetic desire already explained in Chap. 5. The mimetic desire manifests as the mimesis of another’s desire. In the same way the mimetic strategies are employed by the professors, the mimetic desire works as a kind of camouflage to deter predators: the (top-­ management) peers whose desire is mimicked. The desire makes the managers mimic the performance of other managers. It makes them ‘keep up’ good appearance and, in this way, it has a profound competitive quality. The new standards prove to be time-altering and I argue that the incongruity between identity and intensity and the temporal collisions between past and future are at risk of threatening the organization and its members. Chapter 6 will present how the standards that have been circulated though the infrastructure morph as they move into the translating processes among professors and managers but also how they seem to be involved in the shaping and re-configuring of the everyday working life realities of higher education. In this way both the translators and that which is translated are agents (Cowen, 2009; Sahlin-Andersson & Engwall, 2002) and co-constitute of the ways in which globalized reform processes alter the quality of social intra-actions in higher education.

142

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Professional and Social Repositioning As already mentioned, the Bologna objectives are not legally binding until they become part of national legislation. Once the Bologna objectives are implemented into national law, it becomes impossible to ignore them. Over recent years, the new curricular standards – which have been at the center of this monograph – have been implemented through new ministerial orders in Denmark. Through these new ministerial orders, all existing educational programs and the development of new ones have been adjusted according to the qualifications frameworks and designed and organized around outcomes and portable modules. The following ethnographic study centers on a revision of an educational program shaped in accordance with the Bologna principles through a new ministerial order. As I explained in Chap. 2, the ethnographic research mainly included observations of meetings that were part of the development of the new curriculum. These meetings included professors only. I also attended meetings about the revision of the Bachelor degree programs as a result of the educational reform. These meetings included participants from mid-­ level management, professors and students. As already mentioned in Chap. 2, I was allowed access to the meetings and was present in a research capacity. These meetings, along with subsequent interviews, relevant work documents, and email-based logbooks acted as windows onto the professors and mid-level managers’ translations of the new standards and the organizational processes surrounding them. Higher education in Denmark is taught at universities, university colleges and academies of professional higher education. The universities offer research-­ based higher education at Bachelor, Master and PhD level whereas university colleges offer higher education with a strong relation to practice (for instance teacher education). The higher education system in Denmark is financed by the state and falls within the Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s field of responsibility. The ministry lays down the overall regulations for all institutions of higher education. These include regulations concerning the admission of students, the structure of studies, programs offered, awarding of degrees and appointment of teachers and academic staff. Each higher education institution develops and update their study programs, indicating the aims, scope and duration, form and contents of the courses (Eurydice, 2018). In the context of this study, professors include what is usually understood as ‘faculty staff’ in a broader sense: that is, assistant professors, associate professors and full professors. At both case sites, many of them had known each other for years; however, during my fieldwork there was a certain expansion with new and younger colleagues. The mid-level managers are education managers: they are acting heads of degree programs and have the responsibility of coordinating the education program, including the revisions of it. They are also responsible for the staff (professors and administrative staff), including possible workforce reductions and recruiting. The top-level managers are assigned tasks at the level of rectorate and deans. The higher education institutions in Denmark are self-governing units under the state. The deans involved in this study are deans of studies. They all have an overall strategic responsibility for a higher education institution. Together with

The Spectrality of the Past

143

rector and pro-rectors, they act as heads of academic and educational development and they also share the overall economic responsibility. Some of them may have responsibility for a limited number of mid-level managers. In this chapter, I will focus primarily on the everyday working life of professors. In the next chapter, The spectrality of the future, I will mainly focus on the top-level managers. However, in both chapters, I will include professors, mid-level managers and top-level managers to some extent because of the entanglement of their working lives. As previously mentioned, during my fieldwork on the revision of the educational program, two particular curricular shifts stood out as major game changers: a transformation related to the organization of the curriculum from an input-based curriculum (prioritizing knowledge content and including a focus on the student’s development throughout his/her degree program) to an output-based curriculum (prioritizing achievement or performance acquired on completion of a learning process) and a structural transformation of the curriculum from a longitudinal, semestrial timeframe structure to a block structure based on clearly defined and demarcated modules. In other words, this transformation is a transformation from a content-­ driven curriculum, based on subjects that are tied to academic disciplines, to an objectives-driven curriculum; in this case, the objective is primarily suitability for the labor market. These new education standards are also those I traced in Chap. 5 of this monograph. The shift from a semestrial timeframe structure to a modular block structure implies modules that are divided into allocations of ECTS points (a common European credit standard that facilitates the measurement of workload and recognition of studies abroad), and each module must be tested individually. The outcome-­ based curriculum and the modular structure are two interlocking standards. In relation to this particular revision of a degree program, the introduction of objectives-­ driven standard for the curriculum implied a shift from subject-based teaching that was tied to academic disciplines (related to the old content-driven curriculum) to transdisciplinary teaching organized around so-called transdisciplinary ‘core areas,’ which are thematically determined and not shaped by any specific subject or related to any specific academic discipline but rather based on qualifications for the labor market. This shift is enforced by being locked together with the modular standard: the introduction of (portable) modules that are described in terms of learning outcomes and are regulated by the qualifications frameworks. The modules follow the core areas and hence the students must be tested within the core areas and not the subject areas (related to academic disciplines). In the following study, I explore the effects of the standardizing processes among professors (mostly) and mid-level managers (partly). I investigate how the new education standards are being translated and how they are changing the social worlds of the professors. The standards turn out to produce re-organizations of work distribution and thus major shifts in positions among professors and between professors and managers. The exploration of this includes the organizational processes surrounding the translation of the new standards. My fieldwork is a window onto the reform process at a specific time during these processes. During this particular phase of the process, it emerges that the positionings among the professors materialize in

144

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

t­ erritorial wars1 between the academic disciplines that are suddenly put under pressure due to the new education standards that fundamentally change the design of the curriculum. As in Hamlet, the Prince of a rotten state, everything begins with the apparition of a specter (Derrida, 1994: 2).

Karen, a rather newly hired professor, is taking part in the ongoing processes regarding the revision of the curriculum.2 As part of this, she is attending meetings on the development of modules. As just outlined above, the professors were previously organized in disciplinary groups, whose teaching was based on a content-driven curriculum and not an objectives-driven curriculum. These groups were very strongly positioned within the organization. Professors refer to this group as ‘home,’ ‘family’ or ‘backing group’ (Brøgger, 2014). The meetings on the revision of the curriculum are composed by new transdisciplinary teams that extend across the academic disciplines. The teams follow the core areas and the development of each module. These teams have the responsibility of both teaching and developing the content of the modules assigned to them. Karen has just left such a meeting with her new team and is on her way towards her office down the corridor when she experiences an encounter with two older colleagues: Karen sees two other professors approaching her. They are from different disciplinary group than hers. They are moving fast, determined, and with great precision. She’s about to enter her office but they catch her in the doorway. They corner her and hold her up with their weapons (the ministerial order and the first drafts of the curriculum). Staring at her, they demand her to give up some ECTS points from her group to theirs. Can’t she see that it’s only fair? The content linked to these ECTS points rightfully belongs to them. They have always covered that area, they argue. She is new; she doesn’t know how to react, and what this is. She has never been cornered like this before. She tries to get away, but they keep arguing and trying to convince her. Finally, she escapes into the office (Logbook).

The re-organizing of the work in transdisciplinary teams in accordance with the new design of the curriculum has resulted in the organizational dismantling of the most constitutive and powerful organizing principle among the professors; namely, the organizing of the professors in groups based on academic disciplines. The disciplinary groups used to be very strongly positioned within the educational organization and protected not only the interests of their discipline but also the interests of professors against management in general (in their own view). These groups also constituted a negotiation zone within which it was determined “who among the professors were the smartest ones,” as Lina (a professor) explains in an interview. 1  I bring in the war metaphor from the fieldwork. Both the professors and the managers make extensive use of the metaphor in various configurations such as war, juntas, battling, ‘holding their bastions and positions’, and ‘fighting each other’. In the analysis I have used the metaphor to highlight some of the conflicts that emerge between the professors and between the professors and the managers. 2  Part of this chapter was previously published in Brøgger, K. (2014). “The Ghosts of Higher Education Reform. On the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing.” Globalisation, Societies and Education 12(4): 520–541 (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14767724 .2014.901905).

The Spectrality of the Past

145

The professors understanding of these groups as ‘home’ and ‘family’ suggest that these groups provide a sense of belonging. Meanwhile, the disciplinary groups have now been eliminated from the organizing of the curriculum – partly because the new curriculum substitutes the academic discplines and subjects for transdisciplinary modules and partly because of the consequential change in work distribution; it is now the responsibility of the transdisciplinary teams, and not the disciplinary groups, to run the modules. The way the new ministerial order, curriculum and consequential re-organizing of work distribution eliminates the old disciplinary groups makes them invisible and, in this sense, it makes them absent, since they are no longer part of any formal structure or organization. In this way, the old disciplinary groups are slain, dead and absent. However, it seems as if they are now returning from the dead to haunt the living. As such, they seem very much alive – however ghostly their manner  – and start haunting and hunting down colleagues, such as Karen, in the corridors. These unintended and unexpected effects of the new reform and its new education standards are part of what haunts the ontology of the Bologna Process. In this sense, the Derridean concept of hauntology enables an understanding of the ways in which the reform processes are haunted by what is seemingly absent. However, the hauntology also seems to provide access to the ethnographic absence I referred to in Chap. 2, since the concept grants access to what is not immediately visible, what ‘is not there,’ such as the disciplinary groups which are no longer visible as part of the formal structure and organization of the degree program. In this sense, ethnography becomes a kind of ‘ethnography of absence’; a tool to explore the constitutive effects of what is supposedly absent (in this case, the constitutive effects of the old disciplinary groups). Enter the ghost, exit the ghost […] (Hamlet) (Derrida, 1994: xix).

The elimination of the disciplinary groups, which was so strongly connected to the previous curriculum, challenges the professors’ sense of belonging. According to the professors, their identity is still strongly attached to the academic disciplines and the related disciplinary groups. The moment this discipline-based organizing principle among the professors is removed, it seems to return and materialize in a different and perhaps more violent way. The professors start battling each other. Chris, one of Karen’s colleagues, says during an interview: This has become everybody fighting everybody […] It seems as if there are small juntas showing up everywhere […] I’ve never been so alert before in my life (Interview).

Standards are means by which we perform the world and they are relative to practices and positions already in place in organizations. As the curricular standards travel and enter new ministerial orders and curricula, they also seem to change the entire social setting among the professors. Chris describes a working environment among the professors characterized by fighting. The juntas he refers to are the old disciplinary groups. They appear everywhere, despite the fact that they are no longer part of the official structure and organization. The old disciplinary groups appear

146

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

as ghostly juntas that hunt colleagues and show up at every corner or even in the inbox. Aaron, another colleague of Karen and Chris, says: I absolutely don’t like to be here (at the institution, KB) at the moment […] Every time an email appears in my inbox I get scared that I’ve done something wrong […] this uncertainty is stirring up negative emotions (Interview).

Even though the old disciplinary groups are eliminated and in this sense dead and absent, they still seem very much alive and materialize through ghostly juntas haunting the corridors and even the Outlook inbox. The standards have launched a territorial warzone leading to a professional and social repositioning among the professors. The fighting and positioning among them materializes as a disciplinary battle. For one person, the introduction of new standards may open up possibilities and an entirely new maneuvering space. Yet, for another person, the very same standard may bring with it impossibilities and the shutting off of desirable paths (Busch, 2011: 26; Lampland & Star, 2009: 5–7). The professors’ intense battling testifies to these repositionings and reorganizings. And while some professors are being hunted in the corridors by juntas, others feel that desirable paths are being closed off in different ways. Sanjana, a colleague of Aaron, Karen and Chris, says: This process has changed a lot for me. I used to be one of the people in the front line when new things came up. But now I feel that I’m simply being bracketed as a cranky old lady who doesn’t care about anything – like a dinosaur that cannot be moved. I really don’t’ like this role. I really don’t know how to settle with this new identity (Interview).

The territorial war is a war of disciplinary identities. Sanjana’s paths have been shut off by the ongoing processes and the way the new curricular standards have changed the social organizing among the professors. She is unsure how to reconcile the new identity given to her. And she certainly does not approve of this new identity as an immobile dinosaur. Let us follow the colleagues of Aaron, Karen, Sanjana and Chris in order to see how the territorial warfare that was raging among the professors further intensifies as a battle on the positioning between academic disciplines.

Camouflage Techniques Despite the fact that the disciplinary groups are dispersed throughout the ministerial orders and as part of the reorganization of work distribution, they seem to concentrate physically. The professors cluster closely together with their (ghostly) ‘family.’ During an interview, Susan, another professor and colleague, explains that the positioning between the disciplines has intensified during the ongoing process of translating the new curricular standards. This is manifested through the reorganization of the location of offices. Now we are working in the office that I only just moved to. The reason that I moved here was to get even closer to my disciplinary colleagues. It’s like, well maybe not a countermove, but a consequence of our need to coordinate closely within the disciplinary group.” (Interview).

The Spectrality of the Past

147

Although the disciplinary groups no longer formally exist, they still exert a constitutive impact on the professors’ actions. The way the professors begin to cluster together with their old disciplinary groups enforces the trench warfare between the disciplines. The warfare is about academic identity and the positioning between academic disciplines. The positioning battle on academic identity makes the professors rearm and make use of mimetic camouflage techniques as part of their warfare. As already mentioned in the analysis in Chap. 5, mimetic strategies are deployed as a kind of camouflage to deter predators. For the professors, the predators come in the shape of colleagues and managers (as I will show later). The professors’ camouflaging techniques either materialize through ‘playing dead’ (by refusing to move) or through the production of ‘camouflage documents.’ I will return to the latter idea in the next section. The professors make use of the mimetic camouflage techniques in order to hold their academic positions, to secure their academic bastions. If you can’t see the purpose of what you are supposed to do and if you can’t defend it academically or if it doesn’t make any sense, you know – then you don’t move. You just don’t (Interview).

Here Simon expresses how the ongoing process changing the curriculum appears meaningless to many of the professors. The new standards do not make any sense and this makes the professors enforce their academic identity. The change of their social setting from being good colleagues to engaging in disciplinary warfare make them decide on warfare strategies that are designed to defend the academic bastions: they do not move, as Simon explains – they hold their academic positions by playing dead. During an interview, Christina, a professor from another institution, further elaborates and almost embodies this strategy. Like the professors I have just quoted, she explains that the positioning between the disciplines intensified during the process of translating the new education standards. She calls it “territorial disputes” and “disciplinary wars”. She intensifies the camouflage strategy of ‘not moving’ that Simon mentioned: So you have some really strong disciplinary bastions here then, I answer her. “FREEZE!” Christina says, “you know, no matter what all the background reports say and so on [Christina is quiet but freezes her body and laughs]. Later during our conversation, she says: “You know I think what really seems to me to be the problem with changes like this one is that they do not come from an inner need for change and this means that…. Well OK – this is the Bologna Process right… but it’s not like that’s something we think about during our everyday work – that it’s really important with the Bologna Process” [Christina encloses the last sentence in quotation marks with her hands in order to underline the ironic meaning of what she is saying]. “Uhm, you know… [Christina interrupts herself by laughing out loud]. I say: “So this is not what occupies your every day work?” “No it certainly isn’t!”, Christina says. “What’s important to me is to make good students, good candidates.” Christina continues: “This also means that the reaction towards processes like this, besides all the more impartial objections that I may have, is that new ministerial orders and so on can feel like… ‘Well now they come up with this new idea and they are about to force us into doing something new’ – and of course reactions like this make the implementation a lot harder, right? (Interview).

Christina even freezes her body as she explains how she holds her academic position and thus defends her disciplinary group. This strategy is part of the

148

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

‘disciplinary wars’ she describes. However, Christina also provides an insight into why the professors find themselves engaging in this territorial war. She clearly points towards the Bologna Process and how detached from her everyday working life she finds this process, despite the fact that she is in the process of translating some of Bologna objectives into the revision of a degree program. The Bologna Process and its objectives are detached from what is important to Christina: to make good students. And to make good students, she needs to be a good teacher. For the professors, this is tightly connected to their academic, disciplinary identity. The professors’ act of freezing is a camouflage technique to deter predators in the shape of their peers and in the shape of mid-level managers who take part in orchestrating the re-­organization of work distribution and thus also the redistribution of the valuable ECTS points. The strategy entails the hope that, if you play dead for long enough  – if you freeze  – the danger of losing your position, and therefore your identity, will eventually disappear. The above extracts show that the professors are fighting an intense ‘war of the disciplines.’ In the incident in which Karen is cornered by two colleagues, they are fighting over the distribution of ECTS points. Although it may seem surprising, a lot is at stake here in terms of potential positioning. ECTS points are distributed in accordance with the size of modules; however, when developing the content of these modules in teams, each participant in the transdisciplinary team still acts as if they were representing their old disciplinary group, and the development of the module turns into a fight over ECTS points related to the old subject areas. This process causes some professors to lose organizational ‘volume’; they simply become smaller, they ‘hold’ a smaller part of the educational program as a whole. Loosing ECTS points means losing identity and position between the professors. One of the professors writes in the logbook that the development of the modules is driven by the competition between the old disciplinary groups rather that than academic rationalities. The development of the modules has become ‘a tactical game of positioning the interests of the old disciplinary groups’. In an interview, the professor says that this tactical game of positioning is fueled by “the fear of losing what you once had” and the “dread of being forgotten”. According to interviews and logbooks, this causes colleagues to police each other; professors are appointed to take responsibility of the development of modules, but they use these functions to police the interests of the old disciplinary groups and are therefore disloyal to agreements made in the new transdisciplinary teams. This is what several of the professors describe as ‘everybody fighting everybody’. They fight trench warfare by hunting each other down or by ‘playing dead’ and thereby hoping to freeze and thus hold their disciplinary positions and identities. This window onto the reform process provides an insight into a phase in this process in which the positionings of academic identities are being triggered by the introduction of the education standards. The standards have changed the social organizing among the professors – they have launched a territorial war. In the following section, I will present an even stronger mimetic strategy performed by the professors, which is propelled by the old disciplinary groups returning from the dead to haunt the living.

The Spectrality of the Past

149

Mimicking Compliance A question of repetition: a specter is always a revenant. One cannot control its comings and goings because it begins by coming back (Derrida, 1994: 11)

The literature on standards agrees that formal compliance with standards without any change of practice is quite common; or, to put it differently, that there is slippage between the ideal standard and the contingencies of practice (Bowker & Star, 2000; Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Lampland & Star, 2009; Timmermans & Epstein, 2010). According to Lampland and Star, this is precisely what makes the ‘slippage’ between a standard and its ‘realization’ in action an attractive unit of analysis for the study of ongoing standardizing processes (Bowker & Star, 2000: 15; Lampland & Star, 2009: 15). The complex translations of standards highlights the indeterminacies that accompany the spread of standards, which, in this case, are successfully glossed over and made invisible by the Open Method of Coordination (Czarniawska & Joerges, 1996; Mennicken, 2008). New standards often make already existing practices invisible. This does not mean that they are somehow still not alive, as we have just seen through the ‘return’ of the old disciplinary groups, but it does mean that the master narrative of a standard – which, for the Bologna objectives, is embedded in the OMC mode of governance – tends to gloss over and make messy educational reals invisible (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Lampland & Star, 2009: 22, 121). “Enter the ghost, exit the ghost, re-enter the ghost (Hamlet) […] (Derrida, 1994: xix).

The disciplinary groups re-enter the scene. It is late afternoon: professors gather at a team meeting. Their task is to develop one of the modules for the new curriculum. They represent different academic backgrounds. They all understand themselves as delegates acting on behalf of their old disciplinary groups; when they refer to ‘us,’ it is always the ‘backing group.’ They discuss the content of the module. The working paper they have before them currently consists of bullet points containing different aspects of the knowledge required. They proceed to politely discuss which areas belong to which disciplinary groups: One of the professors, Anne, states that, as she sees it, psychology, organization and culture overlap. Another professor, Vinnie, interrupts, leans forward and says, “I really think it would be great if you psychologists could provide the students with hard core knowledge on the psychological dimensions and then we as social scientists could teach culture. I often think they lack hard core psychology and this is so important to their future job and also you are so good at doing this.” Anne says; let me give you an example; Schein is also a big name within psychology, we use him as well as you do. Another professor, Jacob, says, “Oh I thought he was ours.” (Observation).

The reorganizing of work distribution dislocates existing positions among the professors. Some stand to lose organizational volume and academic identity, and some stand to reclaim or gain volume and identity. As the observation above shows, the professors seem to appreciate each other’s disciplines, yet, at the same time, and in a very subtle manner, they imperialize new areas (for example, when Vinnie

150

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

commends Anne for being so good at teaching that part of her discipline that does not extend to Vinnie’s own field). It is not possible for the professors to claim their discipline as they used to. They have to defend their ‘turf’ and academic territory in various ways or exploit the possibility of conquering new territory. Vinnie continues: But of course we can figure something out, you know, something that makes sense to the students. They know nothing worse than when things are repeated. You know the scenario; you enter class and introduce the subject and they all yell, ‘We’ve already covered that!’ But, of course, we can figure something out (Observation).

Vinnie, who remains very appreciative and forthcoming, now conquers the view of the students and thereby claims to be protecting their interests. The meeting continues in a similar fashion; a fight to monopolize areas, however subtle and polite the manner. However, the document they need to deliver cannot contain these subject areas. It must only outline the content of the module and not divide it into different subject areas. Consequently, unable to let go of the fight over subject areas, the professors quickly decide they require at least two documents: an official one, which outlines the content of the module as required by the ministerial order, and another, unofficial one, which divides the content into the old subject areas (Brøgger, 2014). The professors intensify their mimetic camouflage strategies. As already outlined in Chap. 5, mimicry, according to Paz, is not about changing nature but about changing appearance (Paz, 1985: 43–44). The camouflage strategy is about making something ‘look as if,’ to make it blend into the surrounding environments to deter predators. The official document which outlines the content of the module as required by the ministerial order serves as a camouflage document designed to keep management at a distance. Again, these actions and strategies are fueled by the old disciplinary groups, who once again seem to return from the dead to haunt the living. Not only do they materialize in the shape of ghost armies, juntas, but they also seem to return to start policing the dialogue between the professors negotiating the content of the module. In this way, they start collapsing past and present, providing what seems to be absent with constitutive power. And this cannot be reduced to a question of different worldviews as emphasized by Fenwick and Edwards in Chap. 2; they literally perform different practices and thereby evoke different worlds with very material and ‘real’ effects for everyday organizational life and, not least, of course, for educational practice. By producing camouflage documents – and blurring their actions and practices behind these documents – the professors seem to evoke multiple parallel worlds of educational practice that remain invisible from the outside and perhaps even sometimes from the inside, since, in this case, probably not even the managers will know about the professors’ actions. These parallel worlds are guided by the secret shadow documents, which divide the content into the old subject areas and guide the professors’ practice. The professors’ actions are haunted by the past and take place behind the official organizing and official documents. However, the professors actively produce different worlds and different practices that contribute to and shape the practice in the organization. What is also interesting is that the professors seem to share this ‘phantom behavior’ of mimetic

The Spectrality of the Past

151

camouflaging with management. As part of the on-going reform processes, new tools and standards are implemented in relation to quality assurance and new ways of documenting the use of economic resources in general. Part of this concerns the question of how to register different activities regarding administration, teaching and research. Universities and university colleges have to account for their financial expenditure. Their budgets and accounts are still very much connected to their previous (smaller and more independent) institutions – before extensive mergers and institutional standardizations took place – and, therefore, do not correspond to the common standards. This obviously constitutes a profound challenge when having to meet new demands. At a meeting, the managers discuss the difficulties and challenges connected to the ministerial demands regarding the allocation of the organization’s overall budget  – how much should go to teaching and how much should go to administration. They are struggling to understand the logics of the new requirements for budgets and accounting. They believe it will be difficult to meet the allocation demands, especially for teaching. With this in mind, they argue that many things can be regarded as teaching and learning, including the student’s own study time, and they connect this argument to the idea of ‘student centered learning.’ The new requirements collide with the old systems and, therefore, one of the managers states that they can “easily move the numbers to the ‘politically correct columns’ [columns for resources spent on teaching] if necessary and for the occasion.” (Observation).

The managers’ strategy of moving the numbers to the politically correct columns serves a mimetic camouflage technique very much in line with the strategies used by the professors. The managers also change the appearance in order to deter predators– in this case, probably the ministry. Like the professors, they seem to evoke invisible parallel worlds of differing, educational practices. The moment professors and managers camouflage by fabricating yet another ‘camouflage document’ or by once again moving numbers to a ‘camouflage column,’ a different world is evoked. Professors and managers are not merely adding different perspectives to the same reality; they are doing the education and doing the numbers in different ways and thereby evoking different worlds. The numbers and documents have very performative effects, since they enact the organization and the degree programs in different ways. Different practices matter, as Barad states  – both in the sense of carrying significance and carrying materiality (and producing material effects). Each ‘world’ is ghostly in the sense that it does not ‘hold’ a strong ontology; the multiple ghostly ontologies are fragile, ‘weak’ ontologies; they are each a dynamic re-configuring of the world – they are mobile, and they shift and change in the instant a number is switched or a document is produced. Each ‘world’ is a temporary stabilization. Each agential cut  – a document produced or numbers moved to a different column  – enacts a ‘world.’ This is also what Barad calls worlding, the continuous creation of referentiality. For Barad, this is the case precisely because agency is not an attribute. It is not something that someone or something has; rather, it is the ongoing re-­ configuring of the world. Policy enactment then becomes a patching together of different realities (in the same material spaces), as Fenwick and Edwards argue (Fenwick & Edwards, 2011: 710).

152

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Nathaniel, a professor from a different higher education institution than Anne, Vinnie and Jakob, confirms the professors’ camouflaging techniques as he describes how they translate the new educational standards and their way of interlocking. As already outlined, the new curriculum design consists of core areas locked together with modules that are, in turn, locked together with specified learning outcomes. During an interview, Nathaniel reflects on how the professors are dealing with the introduction of these new education standards. He says: “It has caused utter chaos and the only way we can handle it is by double entry bookkeeping” (Interview). Nathaniel refers to double entry bookkeeping as a metaphor to describe their camouflage strategy. The two ‘entries’ that he is referring to indicate that one ‘entry’ is designed to meet the managers’ expectations of how to translate the new curricular design. This is the professors’ ‘camouflage bookkeeping,’ since it translates the new education standards ‘as is.’ The other ‘entry,’ however, is their shadow entry that guides their practice. This entry is shaped by translations of the new standards that are deeply entangled with the agency of the past – the professors’ understanding of themselves as belonging to certain disciplinary identities and groups which the standards are designed to transgress. Below, during an interview, Nathaniel further elaborates on these camouflaging practices and why they make use of these strategies that are aimed to change appearance. He refers to the introduction of the ‘core areas.’ As mentioned earlier, these ‘core areas’ are transdisciplinary areas of knowledge that are divided into modules which are connected to the outlining of specific learning outcomes. They substitute the old subject areas that were tightly connected to the content-driven curriculum and specific academic disciplines. Nathaniel says: It’s a complete mystery to us how these ‘core areas’ came up in the first place […] They simply don’t exist as something people can identify with […] We have created something we call ‘securing of the core areas’ […] The core areas don’t work as a guiding principle… how should I put this… they don’t ‘govern’ or ‘steer’ anything (Interview).

Nathaniel makes it clear that the new core areas are not something with which the professors can identify. This makes sense, since the professors still identify with their disciplinary backgrounds and the old disciplinary groups, their ‘family.’ It also resonates with Bridges and Naidoo pointing out the risks of alienation, dispossession and loss of coherence associated with modularization (Bridges, 2000; Naidoo, Shankar, & Veer, 2011; Naidoo & Williams, 2014). Nathaniel continues his reflections by admitting that they (the professors) produce a format confirming, on paper, that the new core areas have been taken into account. Again, they make a camouflage document. Before publishing the curriculum, they ensure that it appears as if they have integrated the new core areas into their way of developing the modules and thus also into their way of practicing the degree program. However, this is merely an exercise to change the appearance and deter the managers. They even have a name for fabricating this change of appearance – they call it ‘securing of the core areas’: a camouflage technique with which all the professors at the institution are familiar. Nathaniel tries to explain in further detail by arguing that the core areas do not steer or govern anything  – that they do not work as a guiding principle. Regarding the professors’ camouflage strategy of fabricating an impression that the

The Spectrality of the Past

153

core areas are ‘secured,’ his reflections are definitely understandable. However, I would like to suggest that the professors are indeed governed by these curricular changes – the new education standards – since it is the introduction of these standards that co-creates the change of the social and academic organizing among the professors and makes them develop advanced versions of camouflage practices in order to deter the predators. It is also worth noting that, when it comes to the description of the core areas, Nathaniel’s language seems to collapse. He is only capable of describing what the core areas are not or do not do – not what they are, what they are substituting or what potential performative effects they may have. A little later, he continues: As part of the process we have made countless objections against this way of thinking [that the core areas represent, KB] because from the beginning we realized that … Yes, and this is exactly what it has meant – a strange sense of not having an identity (Interview).

Nathaniel returns to the introduction of these new curricular standards as an experience that produces a ‘strange sense of not having an identity’ – something that the professors cannot identify with. It seems that, in a certain sense, this lack of identification makes the language collapse. However, a little later, he states that the core areas/modules “have had a crucial impact on the planning and design of the degree program”. But he is still unable to explain exactly how. The alienation and lack of identification with the new standards deprives the professors of an adequate language and refers them to negations – what the new standards are not doing. And, in Nathaniel’s view, they are not steering the professors’ practice because this function is being carried out by the sense of affiliation with and belonging to academic disciplines and groups – the agency of the past, since these disciplines and groups are no longer part of the formal structure and organization of the degree programs. Following the professors’ everyday working life unravels how the standards transform that which they encounter on their journey and how they themselves are transformed by this encounter (Lampland & Star, 2009). In the fieldwork among the professors, it is clear how the standards transform the social and professional world of the professors and thus that which they seek to govern. The standards turn the everyday working life of the professors into a territorial war of academic disciplines and identities. And, at the same time, the standards themselves are transformed or perhaps even transmutated into camouflage exercises and documents that do not steer the way the degree programs are practiced but serve as camouflage – a change of appearance designed to keep peers or managers at a distance. When standards enter into standardizing processes – that is, when they are used as a mode of governance in the way that learning outcomes and portable modules have been – they can cause a gap to open between the underlying and ideal premises of the standards and a specific situation. For example, in this case, a gap can emerge between the ideal of European educational harmonization and the translation of this ideal into a specific degree program (Brøgger, 2013; Nissen, 2012). It is within these gaps that slippages occur. In my fieldwork among professors, the slippage between ideal and translation produces parallel worlds of differing educational practices that seem invisible from the outside. By following the trajectories of the educational standards set in motion

154

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

through the Open method of Coordination, it is possible to showcase how standards that appear international and universal on the surface are negotiated, contested, transformed and perhaps even circumvented beneath the surface (Bowker & Star, 2000: 41). Interestingly, the ethnographic research among professors revealed instances of translation in which standards were circumvented altogether through the enactment of camouflaging. In this way, the fieldwork of everyday working life also testifies to the importance of exploring a reform’s materializations and complexities in detail. Standards intra-act with everyday work practices, which makes the details of organizational translations important (V.  Higgins & Larner, 2010: 207–208; Law, 2003: 6, 21; Thrift, 2000: 380). The mimetic camouflage actions that are triggered among the professors – the playing dead by freezing their positions and the creation of ‘camouflage documents’ – are all propelled by the ways in which the reforms and the new educational standards reshape and transform the past. The professors ‘translate’ the new education standards by transforming them and transmutating them; a process that never ceases. Translation is not about representation or communicating a message. Translation is transmutation; the transformation of something into something else (as outlined in Chap. 2). And this seems to be exactly what the professors are doing. The professors – perhaps unsurprisingly – do not act as passive receptacles of the reforms. However, at the same time, the empirical material also suggests that the professors move in unexpected ways. The new standards seem to produce profound performative effects unforeseen by policy makers and the educational agents themselves. The professors’ translation of the standards into camouflage techniques are not what the original political agendas set out to realize. However, the professors’ practices also differ from what they used to do, and they do not necessarily continue with the same practice (Brøgger, 2013, 2014). In this sense, the reforms are indeed governing – but, as they govern, new ontologies are evoked witnessing the existence of a multiplicity of educational realities. The reforms do not seem to govern by harmonizing or guiding the way the professors practice the degree program, but rather by pushing the professors and dislocating their positions through extensive reorganizings of the work. This is also why the professors experience that the reforms change and affect everything; professors, managements, culture, and their way of being an education (as Elena says in the opening quotation). The past is provided with ghostly agency through historical ways of organizing workloads or budgets. The professors’ actions – ranging from the intense battling of the juntas hunting down colleagues to the production of camouflage documents – and the managers’ actions – exercising of match-making between numbers and columns – are propelled by the agency of a past that is never closed (Barad, 2007: 383; 2010: 264). As discussed in Chap. 2, the past is iteratively reworked and reconfigured through ongoing intra-actions. The past was never simply there to begin with (Barad, 2007: 315–316). The past is not finished once and for all. Neither the past nor the future is ever closed (Barad, 2007: 383). They do not exist as determinate givens. This means that agency also belongs to the past. Barad and Derrida highlight a constitutive absence; that the past is a busy site of agency. The spectrality of the past  – that specters are always revenants, as Derrida claims  – holds pervasive

The Spectrality of the Past

155

p­ erformative power and dispels the idea that standardization leads to harmonization or uniformity. The professors’ translations of the new standards display the performativity of the standards; both how they change that which they seek to govern and the surrounding social worlds and how they bend and transform when they are bundled up with work practices – their plastic character (Bowker & Star, 2000). This plastic character also invokes the phenomenological play between hauntology and matterology. The spectrality of the past haunts the ontology of the Bologna Process, otherwise known as the Open Method of Coordination. But the ghost of the past also materializes and manifests – for example, as juntas haunting the corridors. The professors’ translations of the new standards  – their camouflage practices  – also constitute a crafting of ontologies. As Derrida emphasized, there is no Da-sein of the specter but neither is there any human being without the uncanniness of some specter (Derrida, 1994). Matterology and hauntology put each other under erasure. Although they fertilize each other, they also destabilize each other phenomenologically. Hauntology unsettles matterology. Or, to put it differently, the ontology of the Bologna Process is deconstructed from within by that which haunts it, which is precisely the practices of those who are made invisible by the ontology itself – the dynamics of the material-affective infrastructure. By glossing over the translations of the new educational standards among professors and managers close to the development of educational programs, the ontology produces the very absence from which the ghosts return to haunt the reform. The change in the organization is propelled by something re-turning from absence  – in this case, the old disciplinary groups in the shape of ghostly juntas. In this way, the ontology itself produces the ghosts that unsettle it and make it fragile. In this phenomenological play of emergence and disappearance, there is no ‘one’ reality of the organization; instead, multiple ‘reals’ seem to be evoked, which produces the indeterminacy that follows the spread of standards.

Summary: Fake the Document The ethnographic research among the professors explores what is glossed over and made invisible by the OMC structure, including the follow-up mechanisms. The infrastructure of the policy ontology seems to conceal those human and non-human agencies that resist or counter-perform. As Lampland and Star suggest, the follow­up mechanisms present the standards as universal – or, indeed, as ‘standard’ – and not as the result of numerous, complex organizational processes: negotiations, contestations, work-arounds, fierce battling, artful juggling, and on-the-spot translation (Lampland & Star, 2009: 44, 292). The first part of this chapter has shown that the implementation of a curriculum shaped in accordance with the Bologna objectives pushes and reorganizes educational work. What seems to be glossed over and ‘referred to absence’ returns to haunt the living and, thereby, emerges as a constitutive power in terms of co-shaping everyday working life and educational practice. By using the concept of hauntology,

156

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

the ethnographic study reveals how the professors’ translations are propelled by the haunting of the past; the juntas intense battling in the corridors and the professors’ and managers’ camouflaging through fabricating documents or moving numbers between columns. The ontology of the Bologna Process seems to be deconstructed from within through these practices that are made invisible by the ontology itself. By glossing over the translations of the new educational standards among professors and managers, the ontology produces the very absence from which the ghosts return to haunt. However, the phenomenological play between the matterology and the hauntology appears to be even more complex. While matterology and hauntology destabilize each other, they also fertilize each other. In this phenomenological play of emergence and disappearance, multiple ‘reals’ are evoked. The hegemonic ontology of the Bologna Process, crafted and sustained through the follow-up mechanisms, seems to be substituted by multiple, ‘weak’ and mobile ontologies. The professors and managers do not contribute different perspectives to the same reality. Through different practices, they produce re-configurings of the world. With each cut  – when they move numbers between columns or produce yet another shadow document  – they enact a ‘world,’ a momentary stabilization. These reals co-exist and overlap. This part of Chap. 6 shows that professors’ practices change in ways that differ from both the political agendas and previous practice. The professors translate the new educational standards by making use of mimetic camouflage strategies. By playing dead or by fabricating camouflage documents, they aim to keep professor colleagues or managers at a distance and, through this, to maintain their positions. The camouflage strategies are about making something ‘look as if,’ to make it blend into the surrounding environments to deter predators. The professors’ translations of the new standards display the performative character of the standards; not only do the standards bend and transform into camouflage techniques when they are bundled up with work practices but they also transform an environment of close professional relationships into a territorial warzone in which trench warfare between academic disciplines is being fought. The standards are designed not only to transgress the boundaries of nation states but also the boundaries of academic disciplines. However, boundary-drawing practices are precisely what are being triggered by the introduction of the standards. The workplace relationships among the professors become a battle to position and protect academic identities. The performative character of the standards and their translations highlight the slippage between the standard and its ‘realization’ – that the standard’s ontological status is achieved through the enactment of it; that is, the ways in which practices alter, transform and intra-act with objects. In this way, the fieldwork sheds light on what happens when standards are used as a regulative technology. It provides insight into how some of these contestations and translations take place; how the tensions between ideal standards and local, tailorable practices unfold. As Bowker and Star claim, this is something that remains a trade-off – something that cannot be resolved by “a universal algorithm” (Bowker & Star, 2000: 244). The translations situate us in the middle of everyday organizational life in which each translation of a standard is mediated by historic organizational arrangements, such as the organizing of work

The Spectrality of the Future

157

distribution. But the new realities that are enacted also seem to contribute to the refashioning of these arrangements. The onto-epistemological dimensionality of the Bologna Process makes it possible to move beyond territoriality and geometrical size in understanding international educational reform. Such an approach provides access to an understanding of the quality and reach of the changes of the social intra-actions that these processes bring about. In the case of the professors, the disciplinary territorial wars become the social geography through which the standards’ performative character is displayed: the new standards permeate the everyday practices of higher education and the quality of this particular social geography of academic disciplines is changed dramatically through the introduction of the standards. Had I conducted my fieldwork during a different phase in the reform process, the social geography might have been different. Because of their performative character, the new standards change everything – as Elena said in the introduction – but, as already mentioned, not necessarily in predictable ways. The empirical data suggests that the ongoing reforms change the quality of the social intra-actions. The ethnographic observations and analysis also suggest that higher education currently consists of multiple educational realities enacted as parallel worlds that remain invisible behind the powerful visuals displaying big data about the progress and success of the Bologna Process but also that remain concealed behind the camouflage exercises. Therefore, in order to explore educational reform, it seems important to look behind the official organizings and documents and trace what is not there: the ghosts of higher education reform. However, as we shall see in the second part of this chapter these ghosts do not merely come from the past but also the future – and they perform very different realities.

The Spectrality of the Future The previous part of this chapter explored what educational standards do when they travel and intra-act with educational organizations – primarily professors but, to a lesser extent, also managers. The following and final ethnographic research explores the everyday working life for mid- and top-level managers in higher education institutions. As explained in Chap. 2, the ethnography included observations of top-­ management meetings, participation in strategic seminars for top- and mid-level managers, and interviews with top- and mid-level managers. This was combined with an analysis of international and national steering documents related to the governmental and institutional level (though primarily to the institutional level), especially management newsletters and seminar programs. These methods worked as windows onto the mid-level managers and top-level managers, but, more specifically, onto the way they understand new educational standards and translate the new mode of educational governance driven by orchestrated webs of incentives. As discussed in previous chapters of this monograph, the concept of ontology used in this monograph is relational. Ontology is not about separate entities but the crafting of ontologies through intra-acting agencies. This ontological perception ascribes

158

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

matter, time and affect a performative status. The performative status of matter is displayed through the ways in which standards materialize in policy reports and scorecards (as outlined in Chap. 5) and the ways in which different practices matter (as outlined in this chapter). The following examination will continue to explore the performative status of time. As already explained in the previous study, the performative status of time is enabled through a non-linear notion of time, which enables a widening of the understanding of agency as something that potentially extends across times and spaces and something that inhabits not only presence but also (and perhaps in particular) absence. According to Barad, “the past was never simply there to begin with and the future is not simply what will unfold” (Barad, 2007: 315–317). Whilst conducting the ethnographic research among professors, it became clear that many of their actions and translations of the ongoing reforms were propelled by the agency of the past and that the introduction of the new education standards triggered a disciplinary, territorial war about organizational positioning and academic identity. In the same way, it became clear that something completely different was driving the actions and translations among the top-managers. Although the managers’ translations of the current reform are glossed over by the infrastructure of the policy ontology – just as the professors’ translations were – the top-managers seem to participate actively in the new governing mode of higher education. They are caught up in the material-affective mode of governance outlined in Chap. 5. Like the professors, their actions have a mimetic character; however, they employ different ‘protective shields of similarity.’ Because of their overall strategic responsibilities, they are always on the lookout for new developments and movements within their field and, in this sense, they are caught up in the mechanism of the mimetic desire already explained. The mimetic desire is a desire that manifests as the mimesis of another’s desire. In the same way as the professors employed mimetic strategies, the top-level managers employ mimetic strategies as a kind of camouflage to deter predators: the (top-management) peers whose desire is mimicked. The desire configures the top-level managers as mimics: in this case, living managers that have transformed to mimic and thus resemble other successful managers  – they have not changed nature but have learned to change appearance. The desire makes the managers mimic the performance of others – helping them ‘keep up’ a good appearance. In this way, the mimetic desire has a strong competitive impact. The differing ‘protective shields of similarity’ or different ways of camouflaging that are unfolding among professors and among top-level managers seem related to the different temporalities and the quality of these temporalities that characterize how managers and professors’ actions are propelled. Whereas the past seemed to be re-configured through the social geography of disciplinary identities, the future seems to be re-­ configured through the social geography of competitive intensities, which call for a more thorough elaboration of the performative status of affect already mentioned in the analysis of the material-affective infrastructure in Chap. 5. Furthermore, the configurations of the future also seem to be enforced and co-triggered through re-­ configurations of time that are produced through the new standards. This final ethnographic exploration is designed to supplement the previous study among the

The Spectrality of the Future

159

professors and thereby to contribute to a more coherent understanding of current higher education organizations and the effects of new education standards and reform processes.

Calculation and Acceleration of Change As already explained in detail in Chap. 5 and the first part of Chap. 6, in order to change the design of the higher education curriculum the shift from an input-based to an output-based curriculum and from a longitudinal, semestrial timeframe structure to a block structure based on clearly defined and demarcated modules – or time slots – is being introduced (Brøgger, 2014). Whereas the introduction of these standards changed the social and professional world of the professors in such a way that it produced a territorial warzone, among the top-level managers, the introduction of these standards seems to create an incentive to calculate and accelerate change. Yasamin, one of the top-level managers, expresses excitement regarding the introduction of the new education standards: You know, the qualification frameworks. We can really use this tool. We use it all the time – also as part of our competence strategy. The qualifications framework constitutes the entire foundation for what we do now. I mean – that’s amazing right? I mean the impact and significance of this tool…! It’s boosting the quality of education. It’s radically shifting the entire way of working with degree programs. I mean we are really going all in on this, I promise you! (Interview).

One of Yasamin’s colleagues, Ludmila, shares Yasamin’s excitement and says that the new standards have allowed access for the top management “to reach deep into the degree programs.” One of the professors calls this the political “micro-­ programming of the professors and the students”. Ludmila calls it “modern management,” indicating that the top-level management “no longer needs to negotiate everything” with mid-level managers and professors. The top-level managers have “the right and duty to act” – to exercise management. She describes the Bologna Process and the qualifications frameworks as politically pro-active and exciting tools for the managers. She continues: “I really feel comfortable contributing to the realization of the Bologna Process. It’s very meaningful to me, very meaningful indeed.” The new education standards, which brought with them impossibilities for the professors, seem to open up a new maneuvering space for the top-level managers, since the top-level managers can now ‘reach deep into the degree programs’ – territory that was previously reserved for professors and mid-level managers. The capacity to micro-program the organization  – including professors, students and mid-level managers – through these standards is related to the outcome-based curriculum and the modular structure as two interlocking standards that alter time and, in particular, that reconfigure the future (and therefore also the possibilities of change) in a certain way. In this sense, these standards enable the calculation and acceleration of change.

160

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Learning outcomes are a result of something completed and they are delivered at the end of a process.3 In this sense, they act as a gesture towards the future. However, this is not just any future. The objectives-driven curriculum bears witness to the idea that time is going to be measured. The outcomes measure the result of the time spent. The modular block structure indicates that time is not only to be measured but also apportioned: the curriculum is divided into manageable chunks that compress time and increase speed. Time is played staccato by these standards. Duration is shortened and intensified. Time passes quickly. Time is ticking and can run out. You can lose time. Time goes by. Time is under pressure. Time is not coming. Time passes. Time is a scarce resource. Time needs to be taken care of and used in a timely fashion. Time needs to be planned, calculated, ordered and disciplined. Time is consumed. Time is and needs to be economized. Professors even have a ‘time bank’ in which they can ‘save-up’ working hours (Interview). These time-altering standards reconfigure the future. The future does not emerge as open-ended, non-fixed reservoirs. Rather future emerges as future realities reconfigured as economized temporality. In a documentary from 2002, Derrida says: In general, I try and distinguish between what one calls the Future and “l’avenir” [the ‘to come’]. The future is that which – tomorrow, later, next century – will be. There is a future which is predictable, programmed […] scheduled, foreseeable. But there is a future, l’avenir (to come) which refers to someone who comes whose arrival is totally unexpected […] That which is totally unpredictable (Kofman & Dick, 2002).

In contrast to the unknown future, Derrida’s l’avenir, these standardized recipes for future realities (Busch, 2011), emerge as calculated versions of the future in which time becomes a currency. The outcome-based modular curricula institute an educational currency that can be exchanged (on the qualifications market) (Karseth, 2008: 63; Strathdee, 2003, 2011; Wheelahan, 2011: 326). The exchange, accumulation and performance are measured through the follow-up mechanisms, and time management becomes a question of ‘house holding the time.’ The almost Messianic ‘ontology of the ‘to come,” which reconfigures the future as a promise of some kind of unpredictable arrival, is displaced in favor of an ‘ontology of calculation,’ which reconfigures the future as ‘deliverance.’ The top-level managers are governed through the material-affective infrastructure of the Bologna ontology that paces the implementation of these standards. The infrastructure and the standards incentivize the top-level managers to actively prepare for the future and for change – not to wait or long for the future. It seems like an urgent concern to prepare yourself (the educational organization, students and employees) for the future. The future – a time which one could conceive not as limited and already seized but as open-ended (a time to come) – seems to be reconfigured as something which is almost already lost. The standards bring a calculable future and, by locking together, they also seem to lock and perhaps even shut off the future as an open-ended reservoir, l’avenir, a space of opportunity. The standards 3  Part of this section has previously been published in Brøgger, K., & Staunæs, D. (2016). Standards and (self)implosion: How the circulation of affects accelerates the spread of standards and intensifies the embodiment of colliding, temporal ontologies. Theory & Psychology, 26(2), 223– 242 (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959354316635889?journalCode=tapa).

The Spectrality of the Future

161

make the future materialize as targets and objectives, as deliverance. Present time becomes future time through accelerating reform technologies that ‘future’ through the planning and calculation of time. Future time is captured, forced and accelerated in constantly new ways. Modules and learning outcomes are significant examples of standards that reconfigure time as economized. As I will demonstrate, this economy of time seems to contribute a host of intensities that ‘wire’ managers to perform through an affective economy. The managers’ experience of the standards capacitating ‘modern governance’ belongs to some of the few positive affective registers of the reform. As previously mentioned, both the literature and the empirical material in this monograph suggest that negative registers are far more prevalent than positive registers. However, some of the new standards seem to activate positive registers among the top-level managers, providing them with an experience of being part of something new – part of a progressive community of modern governance. Meanwhile, the performative character of the standards makes them impact the managers surreptitiously – the standards create effects and affects for the top-level managers unforeseen by the managers themselves. As they did with the social and professional world of the professors, they also seem to transform the social and professional world of the managers, including top-level managers and mid-level managers, albeit it in slightly different ways. Planning and calculating the future is a way to gain momentum, to micro-­ program degree programs and, in turn, to micro-manage professors and mid-level managers. However, the way in which these standards economize time also seems to start haunting the managers. The managers seem to be pushed further to compete and, thus, in order to achieve their desired results, they reach into the future and perhaps even transgress themselves and the goals they have set. The naming-­ shaming-­faming mechanisms of the infrastructure of the Bologna Process (previously analyzed in relation to the scorecards and associated with Ravinet’s work) as part of the standards’ performative character act as major drivers that push and intensify the top-level managers’ aspirations. Layla, a top-level manager (and previously a mid-level manager in the same organization), explains: There is a mantra beneath it all, […] that we are supposed to be something other than what we are […] we are not really supposed to be an institution manifested as a building […] we are not supposed to be a place – merely a function […] producing development and innovation (Interview).

The mantra that Layla senses – the incentive to become ‘something other than what we are’ – is a non-situated function that constantly produces development and innovation. This suggests that the top-level managers are expected to facilitate a steady and continuous capacitation of the organization (Raffnsøe & Staunæs, 2014). The organization is expected to be ‘bigger than,’ ‘better than’ and ‘something redefined and different from’ what it used to be. This tremendous push toward accelerating the future and accelerating and forcing change ignites a mimetic desire among the top-­ level managers. This mimetic desire works as a camouflage technique to deter predators – in this case, the (top-management) peers (and competitors) whose desire is

162

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

mimicked. And it is not about changing nature but about changing appearance. The desire makes the top-managers mimic the performance of others – it makes them ‘keep up’ good appearance in order to release the sensed ‘mantra beneath it all.’ The mimetic desire has a strong competitive impact since it is haunted by certain reconfigurings of the future as economized and capacitated for ongoing (innovative) deliverance. The top-managers’ narratives about the necessary change of higher education are fueled with metaphors that compare the change of modern organizations to a war of intense and historical dimensions; in the interviews, the managers’ struggle with “inertia” and “the resistance against change and development” are compared to wars against “religious orthodoxies”. The future is constantly re-configured as an “increased speed of change,” usefulness (“solving societal challenges”), and “flexibility”. And the top-managers are caught in it, trying to catch up with the feeling of always being potentially left behind (Miyazaki, 2003) and watching others, whose desire they mimic, outpace them. According to the top-managers’ experience, this makes reforms, change and standardization unavoidable. Change is necessary progress. No-change is unavoidable stagnation. The sense of being behind is precisely what cancels the ‘ontology of the ‘to come” and replaces it with the ‘ontology of calculation.’ The demand for ongoing change is reflected in the constant renewal and replacement of existing degree programs – similar to the process in which the professors were participating. The mid-level managers experience this acceleration of pace and constant renewal as potentially damaging, especially for the students. During an informal interview, Peter, a mid-level education manager, explains: It’s not easy to create new degree programs but it’s so easy to demolish them […] Within current higher education it seems that we are constantly building new programs and four years later they are gone again – replaced with new programs. And then we leave the students to uncertainty when they are applying for a job on the basis of a program which has already been replaced. I think we should be careful not to lose too many students in these blind alleys of new degree programs (Conversation).

Peter addresses the accelerated speed of constant change of degree programs in order to grasp the fleeting existence of the ‘new.’ He feels that, in its constant race for innovation and flexibility, higher education is failing students. Elena, one of the professors, corroborates this during an interview by claiming that the professors’ and mid-level managers’ qualifications, skills, and ability to produce enterprising and flexible ‘innovative’ degree programs are continually questioned by the top-­ managers. Elena continues: “But the problem is: when you add too much pressure, you simply suffocate initiative and effort.” It is already clear that the practices and experiences of the top-managers differ from the experiences among the professors and mid-level managers. The top-­ managers’ actions seem to be incentivized by considerations that differ from those close to the everyday educational work performed by professors and education managers. What is it that makes the top-managers force and accelerate change? As outlined above, the infrastructure of the Bologna Process is arguably one explanation, since it strongly incentivizes the top-managers to compete with each other. Another explanation (also outlined above) is the way in which the new standards

The Spectrality of the Future

163

re-configure time into an economized and calculated future that aims to capacitate the ongoing deliverance of new innovative solutions to societal challenges. However, there appears to be a third possible explanation as to why the top-managers keep pushing and accelerating change. As part of my fieldwork, I attended management seminars. These seminars are hosted by the managers’ home institution and are aimed at creating a common culture of leadership in the organization. They are usually called ‘innovation seminars’  – a title that already suggests certain expectations regarding desirable and undesirable attitudes towards progress and change. The agenda of the seminars is usually set by the top-managers. Some of the seminars include all managers in the organization and some are aimed specifically at top-managers – an opportunity to develop managerial competences with and around each other. It is mandatory for the managers to attend the seminars and they are offered on a frequent basis (approximately twice a year). In order to strengthen the development of competences among the managers, the top-managers have initiated a management newsletter. These newsletters are circulated via email to the managers in the organization and they announce the latest news and upcoming seminar programs. At the seminars (and in these management newsletters), managers are discouraged from dwelling on past problems in the organization. The overall strategy clearly states that it targets the “future Denmark,” which should be characterized by open, forward-looking organizations that take seriously the student-centered approach launched by the Bologna Process. The organization is encouraged to be service-minded and center all their activities on how to accommodate the needs of the students. One of the activities at these seminars consists in deciding on so-called ‘winner projects’ of the organization. These projects are research or development projects that are characterized as innovative and thus as possible devices to capacitate future deliverances on societal challenges. At one of the seminars, a specific winner project is celebrated because its point of departure is the student-centered Bologna approach and because it pushes the agenda of a service minded organization that should accommodate student needs. The ‘winner project’ is called At your service – around the clock. This winner project represents a top-management ambition in the organization. The ‘you’ is the students. Managers and professors are supposed to be at the students’ service around the clock and the managers are supposed to teach this attitude to the professors. The project is launched as part of the visions of the ‘future Denmark’ and is closely connected to the rejection of the past in favor of the future. The managers are told it is simply a waste of time to discuss and evaluate past events. Instead, they are encouraged to change gear and look towards the future. This is scaffolded by externally hired development consultants who, at the seminars, teach managers not to feedback (to each other) but to feedforward and push each other towards the future – to push past ‘best practices’ towards ‘next practices.’ The newsletter published prior to the seminar claims: “Evolution itself moves too slowly.” The managers are encouraged to produce ‘radical innovation’ and to help ‘rouse the yearning for the open sea’ in the organization. Analyzing problems will not push the organization forward (they are told), but strong pictures of possibilities, hopes and dreams will. The dream of the future – and not the sad problems of yesterday – should act

164

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

as a guiding compass for the managers. But again, this is not just any future. From the interviews with top-managers, it is clear that change is not simply something that happens but something that is a societal necessity. This means that implementing the Bologna standards is not only a matter of changing higher education. It actually serves a higher cause. The bottom line is that society will be changed by changing higher education. The reform processes and the new standards will transform and reconfigure the future from ‘mystery to formula’ – from ‘mystery to algorithm,’ as the hired development consultants excitedly proclaim during the seminar. Again, the ontology of the ‘to come’ (mystery) is substituted by the ‘ontology of calculation’ (formula and algorithm): the future is reconfigured as economized and calculated  – capacitation of deliverance is conveyed through formulas and algorithms. Future higher education is not about content-driven standards but about useful and timely objectives-driven standards. Among the top managers, it proves very difficult not to comply with the credo on change and ‘timeliness,’ the ‘mantra beneath it all.’ Dissenting views and experiences are efficiently glossed over, even when the top-managers meet alone. I attended a top-management meeting in which the managers discussed the implementation of a new documentation system used to monitor the students’ completion of a degree program in order to secure throughput. The system was called “the pulse of students,” suggesting that it monitors both the ‘state’ (or ‘health’) of the students and the speed at which they complete their degree programs. The discussion proceeded as follows – it is interesting to note how the reservations voiced by Y are immediately dismissed, ignored and substituted with excitement and acceleration of implementation speed by the other managers: X: This system really addresses what makes students drop out. We should present this to all the managers in our organization. Y: I have quite a few reservations. It looks really expensive and it collides with existing and ongoing initiatives in the organization. Z: We should definitely use authorized methods like this system. Z: Ohh, it would be so interesting to meet the company making this system. This could be huge, like one of our ‘winner projects.’ The implementation is going to be a major project – we need to get rid of something else. O: Yeah, it’s a good idea to present it to the other managers. P: It’s a very good idea to replace or supplement the other ‘winner projects’ with this one. The system provides a strong picture of the state of the students. We can generate so many financial resources by increasing student retention. Z: We need to speed up the process! This project needs to become part of the overall prioritizing of this organization as soon as possible. O: Yes! We will invite the company as soon as possible and ask them to present this to the other managers. (Observation).

The voice of Y is immediately dismissed with the remark that this is in fact an authorized system, which in fact amounts to a straw man argument, since this is not what Y’s objection addresses. Y merely voices reservations regarding cost and the possible collision with other existing initiatives in the organization. During the rest of the exchange, the voice of Y is completely ignored and the other managers’

The Spectrality of the Future

165

excitement is strongly voiced. In no more than a few minutes, the exchange ­progresses from reservations regarding cost to the enthusiastic announcement of the system’s implementation as one of the new ‘winner projects’ in the organization. The managers excitedly agree (with the exclusion of Y) that they now need to speed up the implementation process. After the meeting, I have the opportunity to talk to Y and P. The meeting was mediated through video conferencing and, a soon as the managers are ‘switched off,’ Y immediately claims to disagree with them. Y does not believe in the project; moreover, she does not believe in the overall ‘New Public Management trend’ standardizing the organization and the degree programs: “It’s all about standardization and standardizing everything so that it looks the same on the surface despite the differences beneath the surface,” she says. Y continues to voice this concern: “I just don’t buy it – I think New Public Management trivializes everything.” P now agrees with Y, despite the fact that, during the conference call, P had shared in the excitement of the other managers. A week later, the minutes are circulated among the managers. The minutes record the debate on the implementation of “the pulse of students.” They include all the above comments except the voice of Y. Y’s reservations are glossed over, made invisible and absent. Upsizing, forcing and accelerating the future seems to be a dominant practice among the top-managers. While “evolution itself moves too slowly” and is in need of a little push, the work on standardization assists top-managers in transforming the unknown future, l’avenir’, into a calculable future. Reforming through fixed standards may be understood as an attempt towards making an anticipatory program for predicting development and normalizing change. However, the standards also work surreptitiously and produce effects and affects unforeseen by the managers themselves, such as ‘the mantra beneath it all’: the expectation to be become ‘more than’ and ‘something other than.’ This intensification and acceleration makes the managers’ futuring a constantly transgressing phenomenon (Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016). By accommodating the demand for ‘being something else than’ through extensive standardizations, planning, timing and economization of the future, the managers seem to foreclose any possible future open-ended-ness. Through the continuous calculating and packing of the future, they somehow seem to ‘pull the future in,’ to draw it close, but, at the same time, they wind the future up by forcing and accelerating. This high-tension, explosive future seems to be the only temporality available for the top-managers. This is the future that haunts and propells the actions of the top-managers. But this high-intensity future is not something the top-­ managers ‘catch.’ Rather, it is a process in which the top-managers are incentivized to co-opt themselves into a complex material-affective economy that nourishes certain ‘high-wired’ affective practices that re-configure social and professional life (Wetherell, 2012). Meanwhile, this intensity-driven future of the top-managers proves to collide with the professors’ identity-driven past. These become significant temporal collisions within the higher education organization that causes the mid-­ level managers to collapse. I will discuss this in the following sections.

166

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Redistribution of Power and Influence Whereas the new standards made the professors fight to hold their academic positions in the organization, it seems that the mid-level managers use the standards to dismantle these positions – or the positions of the ‘prima donnas’ (the professors), as one of the education managers sarcastically phrases it. The following paragraph aims to display how the race to standardize processes creates an atmosphere in which the mid-level managers struggle with the warfare occurring between the professors. In higher education organizations, it is the mid-level managers’ task to transform top-level managers’ visions into everyday practice. In a time of reform, the task of management becomes a process of questioning, displacing and transforming that which is already settled: privileges, interests and academic positionings (already negotiated and loved for) may all be dislodged in the wake of translating new standards into everyday life. This management task encounters “surprisingly strong resistance” from the professors. According to one of the mid-level managers, Alvin, “the resistance becomes staunch and dysfunctional.” He continues during the interview, “It has been backbreaking work to create these changes […] The very attempt to bring about change suffers a flurry of protest”. The ‘surprisingly strong resistance’ that Alvin encounters is probably tightly connected to the war between the old disciplinary groups that is occupying the professors. Alvin believes this resistance is dysfunctional and something that challenges and limits his opportunity and his right to manage. He explains: There is a very, how should I put this, an unstated but yet very strong separation of powers [among the professors, KB] […] The disciplinary groups are a direct manifestation of power structures in the organization that it would be good to put an end to […] In my view there’s a fundamental disrespect for the managerial rights – and there is! I mean this is why you have to fight over it and negotiate it all the time (Interview).

Alvin has to negotiate with the professors, especially the old disciplinary groups, regarding the degree to which he is mandated to manage. Asking the professors about their view on managerial rights, they argue that they do not question the managerial rights of the managers  – however, they do insist on “debating how these rights are to be interpreted”. One of the top-level managers, Anthony, further describes the ‘professor level’ of the organization as “a hedgehog pointing its quills upwards”. It is the mid-level managers who encounter these ‘quills.’ Turning vision into everyday practice becomes a question of re-organizing the curriculum and work distribution among the professors. But re-organizing also involves the redistribution of power and influence. The mid-level managers have to negotiate managerial rights with the professors. As outlined in the ethnographic research among the professors, the old disciplinary groups were very strongly positioned within the organization and served as the professors’ ‘home’ and ‘family’ (Brøgger, 2014). As already mentioned, these groups are being divided and re-organized as part of the introduction of new education standards. Previously, as members of the disciplinary groups, the professors used to govern the degree programs and the inter-professorial

The Spectrality of the Future

167

collaboration – a steering method that Alvin describes as “private practicing” during an interview. The professors view the mid-level managers’ managerial rights, including their ambition to turn the top-level managers’ visions into practice, as potentially threatening. This furthers an imbalance in the organization, and, as Alvin argues in the interview, such imbalances are “always particularly unfortunate for the organization as such”. He continues: Previously the core output of our organization was understood as teaching. This of course makes the professors some kind of artists really. They turn into the prima donnas of the organization from whom the subject knowledge flows. They become the source from which everything important emanates to the students. And this is what is going on at center stage; this is the very enactment on the stage. The prima donnas become the center of attention. But with the new ministerial order and curriculum, the stage turns and the attention is directed towards the students’ learning. The learning outcomes are at the center of the new curriculum (Interview).

In the mid-level managers’ description, the friction between old and new governance is carved out – the shifts in power positions are clearly described through the metaphor of the stage. The mid-level managers do not simply wish to replace the ‘staff’ that occupy and rule the center stage; according to Alvin, they also wish to change the play, the plot and the criteria for assessment. Alvin can use the new standards to do so, since they introduce an entirely different way of organizing the degree program. However, this clearly clashes with, yet also intensifies the war between the professors regarding academic positioning. Alvin’s descriptions of the professors as ruling the center stage most likely corresponds with the professors’ strong sense of individuality and self-management. One of the professors, Simon, explains: As a professor, you have your own little planet; because you have your own teaching, you have your own schedule, you plan everything yourself, no-one is your boss in particular […] you yourself are your own day-to-day manager (Interview).

Through expressions such as ‘your own little planet’ and ‘your own day-to-day manager,’ Simon lends explanatory power to how the academic battling between the professors became important and how the professors are challenging what Alvin considers to be his managerial rights. The professors’ perception of professionalism is closely related to an everyday working life in which they ‘run their own business’ – what Alvin calls ‘private practicing.’ From the point of view of the professors, they do not have a boss but they have a self-elected community of peer professors with whom they share their academic disciplines. The resistance Alvin meets is ‘surprisingly strong’; however, Alvin continues to push for ongoing changes in the organization and, although he is in favor of ‘putting an end to the power manifestation among the professors,’ he is also exposed to the managerial credos of the organization  – to become ‘better and bigger than’: the call for acceleration of change. As a mid-level manager, he is supposed to govern the space between the professors and the top-managers. However, there is a considerable distance between the two constitutive temporalities and their differing practices conflict. The top-­ managers’ practices are haunted by the ghosts of the future returning from absence

168

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

as continuous demands on future deliverance in the new standards or as innovation seminars or winner projects, all of which concern acceleration and endless capacitation. These ghosts do not create a positioning war of identities as the ghosts from the past, but they bring along certain intensities that wire the top-managers to keep pushing towards the future. In the following paragraphs, I will present the collision between the top-managers and the mid-level managers through an ethnographic exploration of the camouflaging strategies that can be detected as part of the top-­ managers’ practices. Whereas the professors’ mimetic practice was aimed at changing appearance in order to mimic compliance and thus keep the predators in the shape of peers (professors) and managers at a distance, the top-managers’ mimetic practice seems to be aimed at altering appearance in order to mimic performance and thus keep their predators in the shape of peers (top-managers) and ministries at a distance.

Mimicking Performance Layla, a top-manager and previous mid-level manager in the organization (introduced a few pages ago), reflects on the discrepancy between the experience of change from the mid-level and top-level managers’ points of view: The executive board talks about this and that happily and excitedly and then they decide that this is what we’re going to do. But then we sit there [interviewee makes a WRONG buzzer sound and taps her head]. We might see the potential but not necessarily [as something implemented, KB] tomorrow. It’s like a tremendous… you know… almost like a forced, like a powerful movement of modernization. What they [the executive board, KB] understand as modernization (Interview).

Layla describes the top-managers’ urge to change and accelerate change as a forced, powerful movement of modernization that completely misses the realities of the mid-level managers and their ability to implement. The excitement among the top-­ managers is not shared by the mid-level managers: It’s drowning, you know, we can’t cope. The education managers are dying, they can’t implement and there’s no administrative backup and they can’t…Well you know you just get started doing something, then you need to understand [this initiative]… then all of a sudden there is a new agreement, and all of a sudden a new way of doing things, and all of a sudden [a new initiative] which is related to quality assurance, you know, and then there’s [a third initiative], and then there’s this and that. The cadence of new initiatives, the cadence of expectations of implementations is fairly easy to cope with as long as it’s in your head, but the concrete implementation is much more time consuming than the executive board is capable of grasping (Interview).

Layla explains how, as a mid-level manager, it is impossible to cope with the speed of change and the number of simultaneous changes and initiatives. She continues: And then if someone tells you that in two months’ time you need to implement [an initiative] and it’s all planned. The rooms are allocated. The working hours are allocated […] but then something comes out of nowhere. All of a sudden a few extra parameters are added and

The Spectrality of the Future

169

then one of the employees needs to change the whole thing and she’s now been absolutely stone faced for two weeks. It’s easy for me to say: “Change the whole thing!” And then I can move on to the next project […] I’m not the one who needs to implement it. I just need to make sure that somebody does and then I’m supposed to comfort anyone who is on the verge of breaking down (Interview).

Layla seems to address how detached the pace of the top-managers is from everyday working life in which all the changes are to be implemented. The top-level managers’ realities and affective practices of intensity and forced pace haunted by the ghosts of the future collide with the professors’ realities of identity and academic positioning haunted by the ghosts of the past (Brøgger, 2014). As previously mentioned, I understand identity to be about the ‘who’ or ‘what’ of a person or thing and I understand intensity as something that addresses the quality of a certain state of mind and body – a quality of being intense. This incongruity between intensity and identity and temporal collision between past and future threatens the organization. The mid-level managers collapse in the middle of this temporal, ontological collision. The mid-level manager, Peter, describes a situation in which he was afraid of being dismissed because he voiced his critique of the top-managers’ decision. The top-managers in his organization had decided to implement two different versions of the same educational program simultaneously. They had decided this among themselves without consulting the mid-level managers responsible for implementing decisions and strategies. They even advised the Ministry about this solution. Peter explains that this approach and the decision made him furious: It was a compromise they designed themselves [the top-managers, KB]. I didn’t understand it at all. I texted one of the top-managers in anger telling her that it was the most idiotic thing that I had ever heard of. She could have fired me! I was so mad! (Conversation).

The conflicting tension between the succesful follow-up reports and the top-­ managers’ forced acceleration of change on the one hand and the practice of the professors on the other seems to be stomach-turning for the mid-level managers. The mid-level managers seem to be caught in a kind of vertigo. In such a state, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, one experiences a spinning and whirling motion. This material, bodily condition is often associated with nausea and vomiting and a loss of balance. This state seems to intensify. Layla explains: The executive board is hyper and always in a hurry. And then they understand this resistance against the implementation of new ideas as resistance and not as bad timing […] We want this and that but always we end up doing something else. We want development but we force the pace so much that it makes people want to vomit (Interview).

Layla explains the tense situation that mid-level managers are experiencing. The ‘hyper’ ontologies of the top-managers are reflected, for instance, in the follow-up reports that expose (in this case) Denmark as a top-performing country entering the podium of fame. However, this forcing of the pace – which was facilitated by the material-affective infrastructure of the Bologna Process – makes the mid-level managers want to vomit. When they turn towards the practice of the professors, they see no podium of fame; instead, they see frustration and loss of identity. All the while,

170

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

top management continues to force the pace. Layla continues to mimic the top-managers: We need to improve international collaboration. We need more research projects. We need to increase contact with partners. We need to… (Interview).

Why all these needs? Another top-manager, Anthony, presents the idea that top-­ managers are tuning into a partly imagined agenda and thereby forcing things to be done almost ahead of time: On the one hand, we have been careful to implement the letters [of the Bologna Process, KB]; if any change in rules and regulations are expected, Denmark is always the first country to implement. But this does not have anything to do with the spirit of the Bologna project. We have probably been acting a little like eye-servants (Interview).

Anthony’s reflection is a gesture towards realizing the friction between realities. In his opinion, this is a friction between the letter and the spirit of the Bologna Process, and he suggests that part of the implementation process resembles compliance on the outside but does not necessarily reflect what is happening inside the organization. With this suggestion, he indicates that part of the implementation process constituted by the act of eye-servants composes its own separate reality in which people – for example, top-managers – have to obey certain rules of ‘pretending,’ or at least ‘making a good appearance.’ And this is precisely one of the characteristics of the mimetic, competitive desire. The top-managers mimic their peers  – ‘other successful species’ – in order to deter the very same peers as predators. As already mentioned, the mimetic desire encompasses not only subject and object but also a third party; namely, the mediator of the desire – in this case, a peer. Since the peer mediates the desire, the peer is both admired and despised as an ideal of and a barrier to the desired object. The mimetic desire works as a camouflage to deter the very same peers whose desire is mimicked. It is about shielding through similarity, about making a good appearance and mimic performance in such a way that can convince competitors that the organization is maintaining the pace. By examining the organization ethnographically, it becomes clear that these top-management realities of speed and greed in changing the organization collide with competing realities of maintaining academic positions among the professors. The ontologies are out of sync, and the competition between them is embodied by the mid-level managers who feel sick and experience a state of vertigo. By reading the empirical material through concepts of vertigo and nausea, it is possible to see that nausea can be closely connected to affects like disgust and contempt. According to sociologist Sara Ahmed, disgust is an intense sickening feeling  – similar to experiencing an unpleasant intensity in the body. Your throat and stomach contract and you may even begin to vomit (Ahmed, 2004: 84). Disgust, she continues, does not come from within the body, but evolves in contact zones and involves a relationship of touch and sensuous proximity between surfaces of bodies and objects (Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016). It appears as though the mid-level managers constitute such a contact zone in themselves – between the top-level managers and the professors, between colliding realities, contractions of different times and intensity and identity. The mid-level managers are the zone of impact, pressure, and acceleration: situated, embodied and

The Spectrality of the Future

171

affected ‘thereness’ to use a Heidegger-inspired vocabulary. Within this zone of impact, the organization seems to almost collapse in on itself and absorb all energy – thus leaving the top-managers with a sense of inertial stagnation and abandonment and the professors with a sense of obscurity and loss of meaning. At this point, it is helpful to appeal to another quotation from Alvin, who describes what it is like to be in such an embodied contact zone. He remarks: No, I never imagined that [the resistance, KB] would be this massive, I really have to say. I really never saw that coming […] You know it turns into something like ‘now we’re fighting this just battle against an evil person who is about to institute a dictatorship and then we put all our energy into this’, and this is what has happened. In some places there is simply a culture of marginalization and exclusion where you can succeed in doing this and just keep insisting on exclusion until the bitter end… You know in reality this is… you just keep escalating the conflicts. It almost leaves you with no other option than open battle […]. The opponent gets demonized and there are always bad motives behind this and the motives are unqualified […] and you know like this, all the time; ‘we don’t buy the premises, we want something completely different.’ And when it goes like this you really put a stop to everything […]. Often the managers simply settle into resignation. They take one step forward, two steps back and this way you realize that you are facing a superior force, you know […]. What impact do these fundamental reforms of the educational structure have – well, I’ve lived that, I’ve felt it on my own body (Interview).

The impact of the educational reforms is embodied in the mid-level managers. The mid-level managers “live the reforms – they feel it on their own body.” In the interviews they speak of embodied experiences, of having enough and of developing nausea by “getting everyone’s frustrations pushed down [their] throat eight hours a day”. They feel demonized and experience the encounter with the professors as “facing a superior force” (Brøgger & Staunæs, 2016). This forces them to surrender the organizing logic of the degree program to the old subject areas (and disciplinary groups) and not the new core areas (and transdisciplinary teams). In the logbooks the professors state that they are so frustrated with the unclear decision-making processes and endless desire for reform that they can hardly hear anything the managers attempt to communicate. During an observation of a meeting among the professors regarding the development of a module, one of the professors even claims: I haven’t pushed the manager in the right places in order to get more hours allocated to do the job. Everybody starts to laugh because another professor signals that the only right place to ‘push’ the (mid-level) manager in order for it to be ‘productive’ is to place her hands around his neck and squeeze (to strangle him) (Observation).

Of course, this is a joke, and the professors respond by laughing. However, to the extent that the mid-level managers collapse in this collision of competing realities, this comment is also deadly serious. The colliding ontologies of the organization are embodied in the mid-level manager, who suffers from being in the intensified zone of impact. They are no longer interested, joyous or enthusiastic. This loss leads to the collapse of the mid-level managers. The ontological collision between the agency of the past and the agency of the future is a temporal collision in the sense that the reform processes seem to be propelled by the agency of the past and of the future – temporalities that are iteratively reworked and reconfigured through the practices of the professors and the

172

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

t­ op-­managers. But it is also an ontological collision between overlapping and competing practices – among the professors and between the professors and management  – that perpetually produces and reconfigures educational realities. This material collision is constantly juggled in the present by the mid-level managers struggling to balance identities (the who and what of the professors) and intensities (the state of mind and body of the ‘high-wired’ top-managers). The agency of the past and the future are agencies of what returns to haunt the reform processes – the agencies of unintended effects and contingent translations of the new standards that have been glossed over by the infrastructure of the Bologna Process. As already mentioned, it can be argued that the new education standards do not come into existence until they are set in motion through practices – until they are contested and enacted in specific places, in so far as we understand enactment as the ways in which practices alter, transform and intra-act with objects (Dunn, 2009; Mennicken, 2008; Mol, 2002; Weick, 1979). However, these practices also seem to be precisely what alters the standards and alters that which they seek to govern (as we have just seen as part of the ethnographic fieldwork among professors and managers). As Lawn claims, making things governable alters the observed (Lawn, 2011a; 2013: 9). Enactment is about action in the world and not pictures of the world (Weick, 1979: 36). Through actions, one produces realities. Enactment connotes ‘staging’ – in the sense that one can enact a play at a theater. The staging of a play is a staging of a certain reality  – in this way, the notion of enactment gives rise to two important insights: that reality is produced and that reality can be ‘staged’/enacted in various ways. The notion and impact of enactment includes materiality in the sense that it addresses how concrete, material practices produce realities. Realities do not precede practices but are enacted through practices (Hekman, 2010: 82; Mol, 1999: 75). This notion of enactment stresses the performativity of enactment. This performativity includes the agency of mind and matter and producing knowledge becomes a question of making worlds or worldly configurations and not about making facts. This situates us at the heart of everyday, material actions in organizational life; each staging of a standard is a translation mediated by organizational arrangements, such as norms, culture, routines and infrastructures, as the ethnographic analysis above suggests. However, when enacted, the realities that are staged also contribute to the refashioning of these arrangements (Lampland & Star, 2009: 152): organizational arrangements, routines and infrastructures are transformed and reorganized as the professors’ everyday working life turns into a warzone and the mid-level managers collapse. Previous studies have revealed that the ‘follower’ of a standard may change the presentation of its practice but not the practice itself – in other words, that the existing practice is continued but that the description of it is changed in accordance with the new standard (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000: 127ff; Lampland & Star, 2009: 14–15; Timmermans & Epstein, 2010: 81). However, my ethnographic fieldwork shows that the picture is slightly more complicated. The social and professional worlds of the professors and managers are changed and so they do not simply continue their practice as usual. The standards do not merely move at the epistemological level, as specifications and ideas to follow. This perspective neglects

The Spectrality of the Future

173

the ways in which standards intra-act with material practices of production (Lampland & Star, 2009: 118). Standards reach deep into the ontological matter of everyday work life. Contrary to expectation, the performative effects do not necessarily lead to uniformity (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000: 15; Waldow, 2012); neither do they necessarily include the repetition of already existing practice. Many of the effects prove to be unintended and disguised, yet the effects are omnipresent (Lawn, 2011b: 260). This is the onto-epistemological version of performativity; the standards are enacted but they also kick back; they are changed but they also change that which they encounter. Each staging of a standard is constituted by these intra-acting agencies and each ‘staging’ – each agential cut – produces a different reality, a different ontology. These intra-actions shape and design humans and things into new configurations; they create a transformed world. They span ontological/material and epistemological/ideal dimensions. They act and are enacted as recipes by which we create and reshape realities (Busch, 2011: 2–3, 83). And, in doing so, they also profoundly transform perceptions of education and everyday material work practices within higher education. As outlined in Chap. 2, Cuban and Steiner-Khamsi argue that schools change reforms as much as reforms change schools (Cuban, 1998; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012). Examining the practices of both professors and managers certainly suggests that higher education currently consists of multiple educational realities, but the ‘successful implementation’ of the Bologna standards conceals this somewhat messier picture. My ethnographic field work indicates that the higher education organizations change the reforms as much as the reforms change the organizations; an observation also supported by policy research that investigates local enactments of policy (Cuban, 1998; Steiner-Khamsi, 2013). However, it is also important to notice, as already discussed in Chap. 2, that these extensive educational reforms governed through standardizing processes alter the ways in which social geography is organized – despite or beyond territorial geography (Winneche-­ Nielsen, 2013). The onto-epistemological dimensionality of the reform processes – that the reforms are constituted by intra-actions between human and non-human agents  – enables me to move beyond thinking international reform processes as either outside structural forces or local and situated forces. Timmerman and Berg introduce the ironic term ‘local universality,’ underlining the idea that “universality always rests on real-time work, and emerges from localized processes of negotiations and pre-existing institutional, infrastructural, and material relations” (Timmermans & Berg, 1997: 275). They argue that this take dissolves universality as a transcendental term and turns it into something transforming and emerging in and through ‘the local.’ By doing this, they disrupt and expose the dichotomous relation between universal and local as insufficient. However, despite their attempt to overcome it, the term ‘local universality’ still operates with big/small categories. I suggest that the onto-epistemological dimensionality of the reform processes progresses beyond territoriality and geometrical size, because it clarifies the quality and reach of the changes of the social intra-actions that these processes bring about. The quality of the changes that the Bologna standards create is exposed through the warfare between the professors (and between the professors and the managers), the calculation and acceleration of time among the top-managers and the mid-level

174

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

managers’ vertigo and collapse. The reach (Robertson et al., 2012) of the changes must be understood in topological terms, as suggested by Barad in Chap. 2 of this monograph. What may be out of touch, such as the past and the future, may not be out of reach (Barad, 2007: 394). Reach as a topological concern relates to connectivity and the global and local of the Bologna Process is intra-actively produced through one another. The education reform understood as a phenomenon in Barad’s sense consists of all these intra-acting agencies. The reform is not merely a question about negotiations between the EU and the Bologna Process or follow-up mechanisms. The Bologna Process changes the social geography and the social, professional and organizational order of higher education. Generic standards that are developed at a European level and that gain power by being circulated through the follow-up mechanisms intra-act with and are actively enacted by professors and managers in higher education. Therefore, the reform phenomenon also includes the agencies of the professors and managers and it is constituted by agencies that reach from the past to the future in higher education organizations.

Summary: A Borrowed Policy Is a Borrowed Desire The study among the top managers sheds light on what happens when standards are used as a regulative and agenda-setting technology. ‘Agenda-setting’ indicates that, when standards are used as a governance technology, they are regulative in terms of creating transformed social worlds. The Bologna mode of governance is all about managing incentives by pushing or attracting agents. In this sense, governance features an interconnected material (tools, instruments, paths, visuals) and affective (attracting, moving, pushing, committing, desiring) quality. In particular, the ethnographic fieldwork among the top-managers revealed how future time is captured, forced and accelerated in constantly new ways. The top-managers are caught in a mimetic, competitive desire since it is haunted by these re-configurings of the future as economized and capacitated for ongoing (innovative) deliverance. This final ethnographic study supplements the ethnographic analysis of the professors. Together, the two analyses provide a picture of competing and colliding realities in higher education today. Standards have very real and material effects: they affect organizations and people they encounter while travelling. They reach deep into the ontological matter of everyday working life through intended and not least (as the fieldwork shows) unintended yet profound effects. They change and condition what is sayable, doable and probably even bodyable and, in this way, they also shape the conditions of acting as professors, mid-level managers or top-level managers. They shape and design humans and things into new configurations. They act and are enacted as recipes by which we create and reshape realities. The world materializes differently through different practices. The practices of professors and top-managers differ and so do the worlds they create. The ‘reals,’ the ontologies that they produce and inhabit, compete and collide. The incongruity between intensity and identity and the

The Spectrality of the Future

175

t­ emporal collisions between past and future threatens the organization. As the analysis shows, contemporary higher education organizations seem to be characterized by a temporal ontological incongruity that assigns agency to what is absent (past and future). The translations of the new standards, which are propelled by these ‘absent presences,’ are enacted as ongoing re-configurings of the world. The ‘reals’ that are produced by the agency of the past differ from the ‘reals’ produced by the agency of the future. Meanwhile, both professors and top-managers seem to make use of certain camouflage strategies. The camouflage strategies are designed to change appearance, make something ‘look as if,’ and to make something blend into the surrounding environments to deter predators. The professors camouflage by mimicking ‘compliance’ to the new standards; for example, by fabricating camouflage documents aimed at convincing managers. The top-managers camouflage by mimicking ‘performance’ by constantly calculating and accelerating time and pushing towards the future. They are caught in this race for future ‘innovations’ by borrowing the desire of their peers whom they equally admire as a successful ‘species’ and despise as competitors. The professors’ and managers’ translations of the new standards display their performative character; how they bend and transform when they are bundled up with work practices but also how they change that which they seek to govern and the surrounding social and professional worlds. The ethnographic research displays the negotiation zones within which we slide from ‘successful implementation’ announced in official reports to the messy, multiple and competing reals in higher education organizations. In this way the monograph questions the notion of implementation and instead enhances the notion of translation, since this conceptualization appears to grasp the idea that reform processes are translated through complex intra-actions between human and non-human agents, that the processes of translation will remain unfinished, and that its ontological manifestations will remain incomplete – shifting and mobile. The unintended effects of the acceleration and speed of the reform processes are glossed over by the infrastructure of the policy ontology producing narratives on successful implementation. The circulation of the new standards through the material-affective infrastructure also seems to become an affective circulation in which desires are borrowed along with the policies. The managers’ desires lead them to economize, discipline and calculate time in fear of loosing it and in order to meet the expectations of being ‘something more than’ and ‘something other than.’ By pushing this continual capacitation, the top-managers seem to produce a condition of vertigo and nausea among the mid-level managers. The mid-level managers are ‘dying.’ They cannot cope. Meanwhile, it is part of their job to govern the space between the professors and the top-managers, but this space is characterized by conflicting practices. The practices of the top-managers are haunted by the ghosts of the future that materialize as continuous demands on future deliverance or ‘feedforward’ processes at innovation seminars. Unlike ghosts from the past, these ghosts do not create a positioning war of identities; rather, they bring along a mimetic desire that wire the top-managers to keep pushing towards the future. However, between the war of identity among the professors and the ‘high-wired’ push towards the future among the top-managers, the mid-level managers seem to collapse and implode. The affective ‘futuring’

176

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

p­ erformed and practiced by top-level managers seems to re-configure time and affective economies in a way that makes the mid-level managers, who embody the zone of impact, collapse. In this way, standards are indeed embedded in “series of complex events” and social practices, and what appears to top-level managers as desirable standards may appear to professors and mid-level managers as impossible nightmares.

References Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotions. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, UK: Duke University Press. Barad, K. (2010). Quantum entanglements and hauntological relations of inheritance dis/continuities, spacetime enfoldings, and justice-to-come. Derrida Today, 3(2), 240–268. Bowker, G.  C., & Star, S.  L. (2000). Sorting things out. Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bridges, D. (2000). Back to the future: The higher education curriculum in the 21st century. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 37–55. Brøgger, K. (2013). Akademisk samlebåndsballade. Lidt om de organisatoriske effekter af uddannelsesstandardisering. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift [Danish Journal of Education], 2, 27–37. Brøgger, K. (2014). The ghosts of higher education reform. On the organisational processes surrounding policy borrowing. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12(4), 520–541. Brøgger, K., & Staunæs, D. (2016). Standards and (self)implosion: How the circulation of affects accelerates the spread of standards and intensifies the embodiment of colliding, temporal ontologies. Theory & Psychology, 26(2), 223–242. Brunsson, N., & Jacobsson, B. (2000). A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Busch, L. (2011). Standards. Recipes for realities. Cambridge, MA/London: The MIT Press. Carney, S. (2009). Negotiating policy in an age of globalization: Exploring educational “Policyscapes” in Denmark, Nepal, and China. Comparative Education Review, 53(1), 63–88. Cowen, R. (2009). The transfer, translation and transformation of educational processes: And their shape-shifting? Comparative Education, 45(3), 315–327. Cuban, L. (1998). How schools change reforms: Redefining reform succes and failure. Teachers College Record, 99(3), 453–477. Czarniawska, B., & Joerges, B. (1996). Travels of ideas. In B. Czarniawska & G. Sevón (Eds.), Translating organizational change. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. Derrida, J.  (1994). Specters of Marx. The state of the debt, the work of mourning and the new international. New York: Routledge. Dunn, E.  C. (2009). Standards without infrastructure. In M.  Lampland & S.  L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. EHEA-ministers. (1998). Sorbonne joint declaration. Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system. By the four Ministers in charge for France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Paris, the Sorbonne, May 25 1998. Eurydice. (2018). National education systems: Denmark overview. Retrieved from https://eacea. ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/denmark_en Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2011). Considering materiality in educational policy: Messy objects and multiple reals. Educational Theory, 61(6), 709–726.

References

177

Hekman, S. (2010). The material of knowledge. Feminist disclosures. Bloomington/Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Higgins, V., & Larner, W. (2010). In V.  Higgins & W.  Larner (Eds.), Calculating the social. Standards and the reconfiguration of governing. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Johnson, G., Melin, L., & Whittington, R. (2003). Micro Strategy and strategizing: Towards an activity-based view. Journal of Management Studies, 40(1), 3–22. Juelskjær, M., Knudsen, H., Pors, J. G., & Staunæs, D. (2011). Ledelse af uddannelse: At lede det potentielle. Frederiksberg, Denmark: Samfundslitteratur. Juelskjær, M., Staunæs, D., & Ratner, H. (2013). The return of the Freudian couch®: Managing affectivity through technologies of comfort. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(9), 1132–1152. Karseth, B. (2008). Qualifications frameworks for the european higher education area. A new instrumentalism or “much ado about nothing”? Utbildning & Demokrati, 17(2), 51–72. Kofman, A. Z., & Dick, K. (Writers). (2002). Derrida (documentary). In: Zeitgeist Video. Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Law, J.  (2003). And if the global were small and non-coherent? Method, complexity and the baroque. Published by the Centre for science studies, Lancaster University. Lawn, M. (2011a). Governing through data in English education. Education Inquiry, 2(2), 277–288. Lawn, M. (2011b). Standardizing the European education policy space. European Educational Research Journal, 10(2), 259–272. Lawn, M. (2013). Introuction: The rise of data in education. In M. Lawn (Ed.), The rise of data in education systems. Collection, visualization and use. Oxford, UK: Symposium books. Mennicken, A. (2008). Connecting worlds: The translation of international auditing standards into post-soviet audit practice. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33, 384–414. Miyazaki, H. (2003). The temporalities of the market. American Anthropologist, 105(2), 255–265. Mol, A. (1999). Ontological politics: A word and some questions. In J.  Law & J.  Hassard (Eds.), Actor network theory and after. Oxford, UK/Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers/The Sociological Review. Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Naidoo, R., Shankar, A., & Veer, E. (2011). The consumerist turn in higher education: Policy aspirations and outcomes. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(11–12), 1142–1162. Naidoo, R., & Williams, J. (2014). The neoliberal regime in English higher education: Charters, consumers and the erosion of the public good. Critical Studies in Education, I. Nicolini, D., Gherardi, S., & Yanow, D. (2003). Introduction: Toward a practice-based view of knowing and learning in organizations. In D.  Nicolini, S.  Gherardi, & D.  Yanow (Eds.), Knowing in organizations. A practice-based approach. New York: M.E. Sharpe. Nissen, M. (2012). http://substance.ku.dk/om/ Orlikowski, W. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28(09), 1435–1448. Paz, O. (1985). The labyrinth of solitude. New York: Grove Press. Phillips, D. (2004). Toward a theory of policy attraction in education. In The global politics of educational borrowing and lending. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Pickering, A. (2001). Practice and Posthumanism. Social Theroy and a history of agency. In T. R. Schatzki, K.  K. Cetina, & E.  V. Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory. London/New York: Routledge. Raffnsøe, S., & Staunæs, D. (2014). Learning to stay ahead of time. Moving leadership experiences experimentally. Management & Organizational History, 9(2), 1–19. Regnér, P. (2008). Strategy-as-practice and dynamic capabilities: Steps towards a dynamic view of strategy. Human Relations, 61(4), 565–588. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge.

178

6  The Alteration of Higher Education: The Performativity of Standards

Robertson, S., Dale, R., Moutsios, S., Nielsen, G. B., Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2012). Globalisation and regionalisation in higher education: Toward a new conceptual framework. (Summative working paper for work package 1. URGE, Working Paper, 20, pp 1–69). Sahlin-Andersson, K., & Engwall, L. (2002). Carriers, flows, and sources of management knowledge. In K. Sahlin-Andersson & L. Engwall (Eds.), The expansion of management knowledge. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Schatzki, T. R. (2006). Organizations as they happen. Organization Studies, 27(12), 1863–1873. Schriewer, J., & Martinez, C. (2004). Constructions of internationality in education. In G. Steiner-­ Khamsi (Ed.), The global politics of educational borrowing and lending. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2011). Introduction. Conceptualising policy: Technologies of governance and the politics of visibility. In C. Shore, S. Wright, & D. Però (Eds.), Policy worlds. Anthropology and the analysis of contemporary power (Vol. 14). New  York/Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books. Staunæs, D., & Juelskjær, M. (2014). Post-psykologisk subjektiviseringsteori. Problemet med personlighed version 2.0. In J.  K. Danmeyer (Ed.), Personlighedspsykologi. København, Denmark: Hans Reitzel. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2002). Reterritorializing educational import. Explorations into the politics of educational borrowing. In A. Nóvoa & M. Lawn (Eds.), Fabricating Europe. The formation of an education space. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding policy borrowing and lending. Building comparative policy studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2013). What is wrong with the what-went-right approach in educational policy? European Educational Research Journal, 12(1), 20–33. Strathdee, R. (2003). The qualifications framework in New Zealand: Reproducing existing inequalities or disrupting the positional conflict for credentials. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 147–164. Strathdee, R. (2011). The implementation, evolution and impact of New Zealand’s national qualifications framework. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 303–321. Teelken, C., & Wihlborg, M. (2010). Reflecting on the Bologna outcome space: Some pitfalls to avoid? Exploring universities in Sweden and the Netherlands. European Educational Research Journal, 9(1), 105–115. Thrift, N. (2000). It’s the little things. In K. Dodds & D. Atkinson (Eds.), Geopolitical Trditions: A century of geopolitical thought. London/New York: Routledge. Timmermans, S., & Berg, M. (1997). Standardization in action: Achieving local universality through medical protocols. Social Studies of Science, 27(2), 271–305. Timmermans, S., & Epstein, S. (2010). A world of standards but not a standard world: Toward a sociology of standards and standardization. The Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 69–89. Waldow, F. (2012). Standardisation and legitimacy. Two central concepts in research on educational borrowing and lending. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Weick, K. E. (1979). The social psychology of organizing (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Wetherell, M. (2012). Affect and emotion. A new social science understanding. London: Sage. Wheelahan, L. (2011). From old to new: The Australian qualifications framework. Journal of Education and Work, 24(3–4), 323–342. Winneche-Nielsen, A. M. (2013). Gymnasiet i det Globale. Perspektiver på demokrati, viden og dannelse med globale gymnasier som case. (PhD), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.

Chapter 7

Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

Globalizing processes propel an ongoing reinvention of organizational knowledge practices as more formalized and standardized. These processes facilitate the emergence of standards and new auditing systems, constituting a powerful mechanism of modern governance; in the case of higher education governed through the Bologna Process (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Drori et  al., 2006; V.  Higgins & Larner, 2010; Strathern, 2000; Tamm Hallström, 2004). When professors negotiate the content of modules, their actions clearly differ considerably from the new imaginative regimes of global competitiveness, which are desired in the official documents of the Bologna Process (EHEA-ministers, 2007). Negotiations and contestations across spaces and times break the illusion of reform as linear and rational decision-­ making, frictionlessly emanating down through the organization and leading to calculated changes of practice. Globalized reform processes, such as the Bologna Process, do not constitute one reality given from the ‘outside’ but multiple, colliding ‘reals’ that ‘trouble’ the on-going reforms. This monograph offers the insight that reform processes are also shaped by local enactment and competing agendas. This indicates that the Bologna Process is more than declarations, communiqué’s and ministerial orders; it is a phenomenon that is continually ‘performed,’ reshaped, expanded and changed through negotiations and collisions between these multiplicities of worlds – and the re-configuring of times as past and future ontologies collide. This indicates that the Bologna Process has always already become something different from and something more than its political ambitions, and that the agency of the reform is distributed and each ‘world’ evoked from different negotiating positions is a ‘plea bargaining’ in which the reform fixes and dissolves in temporary stabilizations. This monograph contributes to research on international higher education reform by displaying how standards have become an important part of modern governance, how standards travel through a material-affective infrastructure, and how standardConcluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?” (Pasias & Roussakis, 2012) © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 K. Brøgger, Governing through Standards: the Faceless Masters of Higher Education, Educational Governance Research 10, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00886-4_7

179

180

7  Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

ization used as a regulative technology produces unintended effects (and affects) by re-configuring time and thereby making higher education organizations implode. I have aimed to explore and expose the mode of governance that characterizes the Bologna Process through a multisited policy ethnography that consists of four case-­ sites: an ethnographic analysis of the policy ontology in Chaps. 3 and 4, an ethnographic analysis of the material-affective infrastructure of this policy ontology in Chap. 5, and two ethnographic analyses in Chap. 6 of the temporal re-configurings that follow the policy ontology and its infrastructure among professors and managers. These ethnographic analyses include the often unintended translations of the educational standards that are circulated through the infrastructure and not least how these standards morph and change sociality simultaneously. Based on its inspiration in performativity philosophy and the turn to materiality, this monograph argues that what we usually understand as an international education reform, such as the Bologna Process, constitutes a phenomenon that extends across times and spaces. The (continuous negotiation and contestation of) the Bologna Process is constituted by entanglements that extend across spaces (from governing bodies connected to the Bologna Process and the EU, to professors developing a module, top-managers accelerating time and mid-level managers collapsing) and times (from the re-configuration of the past as a war of academic identities to the re-configuration of the future as calculation and acceleration). Past and future do not exist as determinate givens outside the reform phenomenon (Barad, 2010: 261). Time is performed, crafted and reconfigured as part of the reform process. There is no present time of higher education unmarked by the re-configurings of past or eroded by the re-configurings of future (Derrida, 1972: 13; 2002: 61). Or, in other words: what is being made present very much depends on what is being made absent (Law, 2003: 7; 2004: 83): philosophically speaking the phenomenological play between matterology and hauntology and empirically speaking the play between the hegemonic ontology of the Bologna Process and its own ghosts – the translations within higher education organizations that is made invisible by the ontology itself and its infrastructure. As this study has shown the Bologna Process seems to work as a subtle means to circumvent the subsidiarity principle of the EU and make possible European governance of education despite the absence of legal competence. Due to the resemblance in monitoring practices between the EU and the Bologna Process through the Open Method of Coordination, the EU and the Bologna Process share the same ‘peer-­ pressure ontology’. The very shift in governance towards standards, benchmarking and monitoring of progress is what seems to bypass the subsidiarity principle. The Bologna mode of governance is characterized by orchestrating webs of incentives and by circulating interlocking standards. The master narratives of these standards render the conditions of possibilities of the standards invisible (Timmermans & Epstein, 2010: 83) – the mechanisms through which they are crafted and strengthened. In a certain sense, the material-affective infrastructure exposes the relation between a standard and a standardizer because it reveals the movement and material-­ affective mechanism through which standards are produced and empowered and actors become enrolled as standardizers. The infrastructure constitutes a vital part of

7  Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

181

a reform. It is not something exterior to a reform but must be seen as integral to a reform, or put differently, what and how something is being measured is decisive in terms of which realities may be produced through a reform. How one choose to measure progression and implementation co-constitutes the very DNA of a reform. Standards such as the outcome-based curriculum and the portable modules gain a hegemonic status because they are circulated through the infrastructure. By being circulated, the standards are naturalized and come into existence as ‘international standards’ (as in universal, objective and correct standards). Their negotiations and translations appear to be made invisible. This also indicates the ‘glossing over’ of the ‘morphing’ of the standards – that, as they move, they morph. The standards mutate as they become mobile across time and space (V. Higgins & Larner, 2010: 215–216). They mutate and morph by being translated and enacted as part of specific working practices. Standardizing processes are powerful in that they work as an instrument of authority to distinguish between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal,’ ‘universal’ and ‘peripheral,’ and ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’ (Lampland & Star, 2009: 96). The standardizing processes of the Bologna Process gloss over the messy educational reals produced among professors and managers. I have aimed to account for these ‘reals’ as part of the study of the Bologna Process. These ‘reals’ display why standardization and uniformity should not be conflated; a claim that is also supported by the literature on standards (Brunsson, 2000; Mennicken, 2008; Timmermans & Epstein, 2010). Governing through these calculative practices may not necessarily lead to an increased manageability of the agents involved (Rose, 1988). Standardization is a term that suggests a standardizing process has taken place, but it does not necessarily mean that this process has contributed uniformity. However, the infrastructure of the Bologna Process, including the circulation of certain generic standards, produces and sustains particular versions and impressions of successful implementation of the Bologna objectives accompanied by certain rationalities of necessary modernization and contribution to European growth. In this way, the messy educational ‘reals’ among the professors and managers are kept invisible. However, in this case, what seems remarkable is that many residual categories (Bowker & Star, 2000: 325) are produced through the mechanisms of the infrastructure. The infrastructure of the Bologna Process, the follow-up mechanisms folded through certain configurations of matter – and time and affect – seem to create a veritable mass production of ‘monsters’ – the ‘inappropriate/d Others’ of the Bologna Process (Haraway, 1992). According to Bowker and Star, a monster occurs when an object refuses to be naturalized (Bowker & Star, 2000: 304). Meanwhile, I believe there is even more to the concept of monsters in this context than this. The ontology of the Bologna Process stabilizes itself by glossing over the translations within higher education organizations – by making these translations almost oppositions to the ontology (P.  Nielsen, 1993). The translations are separated remains produced by the hegemonic ontology of the Bologna Process. They are noise ‘which is best ignored’. However, the ontology and that which is glossed over is inseperable – the professors and managers’ translations are a nested, but monstrous and uncanny, ‘supplement.’ They are part of the ontology (or the reform phenomenon) but, because they are that part which is ‘inappropriated’ in order to

182

7  Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

stabilize another part, they become that which haunts the ontology from the inside. Because of these monstrous processes, the educational worlds multiply. The demarcations that once framed the social geography belonging to national education are now being dissolved. The new education standards that transgress nation states and institutions change the quality of the social intra-actions. The transgressing, the global, becomes a dimension of social geography in higher education. The Bologna Process is not an educational space in its own right – it is a dimension of the social and professional world of higher education. Processes in which naturalization processes are monitored and regulated (such as in the case of the follow-up mechanisms of the Bologna process) but in which translations and negotiations are ignored become ‘virtual factories for monsters’ (Bowker & Star, 2000: 306). The changes that occur as part of the Bologna Process and the circulation of new standards create (parallel)worlds in higher education inhabited by monsters. The new standards are powerful artifacts (Bowker & Star, 2000: 287) that contribute to the imagining of successful implementation and thereby also gloss over the constitutive impact of the Other of the ‘realities’ of the reform, ‘the rest’, the residuals. The residuals are the unintended and contingent effects and translations of the reform and its standards. The local enactments and contestations among professors and managers are monstrous in the sense that they are inappropriated. This monograph has aimed to highlight and confront the Bologna ontology with its monsters and thus confront the ontology with its own (nested) limitations. I have aimed to consider these monstrous enactments, operationalizations or even bypassings as equally constitutive parts of the reform process and thus as equally important sites of analysis. The professors and managers are not simply passively ‘infected’ by the reform. Their enactments co-create and (re)configure standards, governance and, ultimately, the reform processes (V.  Higgins & Larner, 2010; Mennicken, 2008). The performativity-based approach allowed me to access these alterations of higher education  – to demonstrate that the reforms and standards reach deep into the ontological matter of everyday working life and change the quality of social and professional intra-actions. In this way, the monograph contributes to research on higher education reform by including organizational agencies and thus the different ways in which the reform processes materialize, which, in recent years, has been identified as a necessary and fruitful area of future research (Karseth & Solbrekke, 2010; Keeling, 2004; Robertson et al., 2012; Steiner-Khamsi, 2012). The monograph also offers suggestions as to why these agencies are easily omitted; namely, because the ontology of the Bologna Process stabilizes itself by glossing over the translations within higher education organizations. In addition to this, the monograph contributes to the ‘policy borrowing and lending’ approach to studies on education reform by challenging the naturalization of international standards by tracing how modularization and learning outcomes are gaining hegemonic power by being circulated through the material-affective infrastructure and by highlighting the context of the borrowing of reforms and standards, and it thus exposes how parts of the reform resonate with some agents (for example, managers) and not others (for example, professors). I also expand on the ‘policy borrowing and lending approach’ by introducing a concept of mimicry and mimetic desire. I argue that, due to the

7  Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

183

material-affective infrastructure of the Bologna Process, a borrowed policy seems to be accompanied by a borrowed desire – a desire that seems to both co-produce and sustain the infrastructure itself. In addition to this, I offer examples of radical instances of the translation processes in which the new education standards seem to be bypassed entirely or transformed into camouflage techniques. However, this does imply that those involved – in this case, the professors – are not governed by these new standards; it simply means that standards co-create uintended effects, such as the transformation of the professors’ social and professional worlds, which make them develop advanced versions of camouflage practices. By creating the Bologna Process through infrastructural technologies, such as interlocking standards, it is unclear whether we have realized what we have built. At best, the new educational standards  – through which this process is governed  – advance an educational framework that increases mobility in Europe, which is outlined as a major ambition from the early Bologna documents and onwards. At worst, the new educational standards simply disrupt higher education by altering the concepts of knowledge, the links between the governing standards, and the content of curricula. The challenge is that no one person or organization is in control of this infrastructure. Through the force of persuasion and the subtle exercise of direction, the infrastructure not only entails the consent of the governed but also makes the governed want what they have to do. The hegemonic power of the reform, the consent and legitimization of the alteration of higher education, is manufactured through the infrastructure of the reform. Since the infrastructure relies on agents voluntarily co-opting themselves into the process, once established, no one person or organization has the power to change it centrally. And, to the extent that we live our working life in higher education through this infrastructure – in, on, and around it – we help sustain its power and effects. The bench is not marked from the outside. All the actors involved in the process mark the bench since the benchmarking is part of the material-affective economy of the Bologna Process. The standards through which the Bologna Process is governed no longer serve as tools for regulators. They have become regulators themselves  – the globalized world’s faceless masters (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; W. Higgins & Tamm Hallström, 2007). This seem to cancel the governing of higher education as something arising from one human sender or an identifiable place to something potentially being distributed among a multiplicity of human and non-human agents. The standards that were once tools for human organizational, national or international regulators have now become non-human regulators themselves indicating that education has become a matter of European administration. Do these monstruous processes make any promises? (Haraway, 1992). Does the unsettling of the Bologna ontology lead to the materialization of other possibilities – any weak ontologies allowing access to different interpretive terrains (White, 2000)? There are four main characteristics that tune the new education standards in certain ways. (1) they are all characterized as performance standards. This means that their purpose is to achieve certain goals, such as specified learning outcomes. (2) they are all designed as generic standards detached from any specific content. This means that, despite the specific character of a degree program, it should be

184

7  Concluding Remarks: “Who Marks the Bench?”

regulated by the qualifications frameworks and be based on learning outcomes. (3) they are all tightly locked together. This means that, if you adopt one standard, you inevitably adopt them all. (4) they are designed to transgress nation states and individual higher education institutions (Brøgger, 2016). So, how is it possible to maintain the ambition of (for example) increased exchange and mobility within higher education without introducing a host of standards that seem to lock, constrain and thus foreclose this ambition of agility and movement? Today, the new curricular standards are locked together with numerous other standards, including quality assurance operationalized through accreditation (Brøgger & Karseth 2020 (forthcoming)). How is it possible to overcome the obvious discrepancy between an ambition of exchange, movement, agility and connectitivty and the means by which this is to be achieved – between standards and standardizing processes? It is difficult to imagine – regardless of the possible alternatives – how any type of new standard – even standards that are not detached from the content that they are supposed to govern will not merely serve as the introduction of a new governing technology. The challenge seems to be twofold: on one hand, because of the material-affective infrastructure of the policy ontology, all of us who work within higher education seem to actively participate in sustaining and strengthening the new standards. We have become standardizers ourselves and, because of this naturalization, it is a tremendous difficulty to escape the self-­ sustaining reform processes, including the ‘natural’ support of new standards of learning outcomes, portable and flexible modules. On the other hand, the governing technologies, such as the standards, take on independent lives of their own – they become regulators themselves, but so much more difficult to identify than human regulators, since they are faceless and often enter higher education undetected. The question remains: is there a way to move beyond these faceless masters of higher education – a way to regulate the non-human regulators or perhaps diminish their performative effects? Is there a way to craft realities of higher education into existence beyond a material-affective economy that, until today, has proved powerful enough to mobilize 48 nations without passing any laws?

References Barad, K. (2010). Quantum entanglements and hauntological relations of inheritance dis/continuities, spacetime enfoldings, and justice-to-come. Derrida Today, 3(2), 240–268. Bowker, G.  C., & Star, S.  L. (2000). Sorting things out. Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Brøgger, K. (2016). Du skal ville det, du skal. Om de videregående uddannelsers nye tilskyndelsesøkonomi. Dansk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift (Danish Journal of Education), 2, 87–99. Brøgger, K., & Karseth, B. (2020, forthcoming). Federalization of quality assurance in higher education? Taking stock on account of the 20th anniversary of the Bologna Process: An examination of federalization through accreditation procedures. Studies in Higher Education. Brunsson, N. (2000). Standardization and uniformity. In N. Brunsson & B. Jacobsson (Eds.), A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

References

185

Brunsson, N., & Jacobsson, B. (2000). A world of standards. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Derrida, J. (1972). Marges de la Philosophie. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. Derrida, J. (2002). Differance. Frederiksberg, Denmark: Det Lille Forlag. Drori, G. S., Meyer, J. W., & Hwang, H. (2006). Globalization and organization. World society and organizational change. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. EHEA-ministers. (2007). Strategy for the EHEA in a global setting. Adopted by ministers in 2007. Haraway, D. (1992). The promises of monsters: A regenerative politics for Inappropiate/d others. In L. Grossberg, C. Nelson, & P. Treichler (Eds.), Cultural studies. New York/London: Routledge. Higgins, V., & Larner, W. (2010). In V.  Higgins & W.  Larner (Eds.), Calculating the social. Standards and the reconfiguration of governing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Higgins, W., & Tamm Hallström, K. (2007). Standardization, globalization and rationalities of government. Organization, 14(5), 685–704. Karseth, B., & Solbrekke, T. D. (2010). Qualifications frameworks: The avenue towards the convergence of European higher education? European Journal of Edcuation, 45(4), 563–576. Keeling, R. (2004). Locating ourselves in the ‘European higher education area’: Investigating the Bologna Process in practice. Retrieved from ECPR, European Political Science Network. www.epsnet.org Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). In M. Lampland & S. L. Star (Eds.), Standards and their stories. How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Law, J. (2003). Making a mess with method. Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, Online-paper. Law, J. (2004). After method. Mess in social science research. London/New York: Routledge. Mennicken, A. (2008). Connecting worlds: The translation of international auditing standards into post-Soviet audit practice. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33, 384–414. Nielsen, P. (1993). Romanen som monster. Om det monstrøses æstetik hos Robert Musil. Passages, 8(13), 75–93. Pasias, G., & Roussakis, Y. (2012). “Who marks the bench?” A critical review of the neo-­European “paradigm shift” through higher education policies and discourses. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(1), 127–141. Robertson, S., Dale, R., Moutsios, S., Nielsen, G. B., Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2012). Globalisation and regionalisation in higher education: Toward a new conceptual framework. (Summative working paper for work package 1, URGE, Working Paper 20, pp 1–69). Rose, N. (1988). Calculable minds and manageable individuals. History of the Human Sciences, 1(2), 179–200. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding policy borrowing and lending. Building comparative policy studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World yearbook of education 2012. Policy borrowing and lending in education. New York: Routledge. Strathern, M. (2000). Audit cultures. Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy. London/New York: Routledge. Tamm Hallström, K. (2004). Organizing international standardization. Iso and the IASC in quest of authority. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Timmermans, S., & Epstein, S. (2010). A world of standards but not a standard world: Toward a sociology of standards and standardization. The Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 69–89. White, S. K. (2000). Sustaining affirmation. The strengths of weak ontology in political theory. Princeton, NJ/Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

Smile Life

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile

Get in touch

© Copyright 2015 - 2020 AZPDF.TIPS - All rights reserved.