9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN10 Sociology of Education

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Higher Education III Building I, 2E8

Perspectives and issues of an 'European' higher education proposal

The hereby proposed presentation aims at offering a critical assessment of the trends and issues involved in the Bologna Process, a wide ranging programme initiated by a few European Union member states, longing to structure a common European Higher Education Area, which among other objectives is especially oriented towards a unification of the types of degree offered along with the definition of common evaluation criteria but that unmistakably exerts further underlying institutional and social pressure.

Due to the recently handled overall research theme of my studies I shall focus mainly on the case of Germany and intend to base my diagnostic on two guidelines: (i) take through a careful review of those main intentions explicited in the Bologna Declaration and the subsequent official communiqués signed by those nation-states engaged in this process, thereby trying to point out possible contradictory aims stated from the beginning, as well as preparing a thorough compilation of those contents that should later on be used for cross-reference; (ii) observe and critically examine qualitative and quantitative data and official reports by the German government and higher education institutions that are committed to understand and evaluate the achievements hitherto accomplished along with present and future problems and restrictions that can already be perceived.

In this manner, my chief objective is to shed light on some of the dubious consequences that can be sighted so far and further elaborate on some possible developments. My interpretation shall, furthermore, draw upon the historical and sociological constituency of the German university in order to establish and fundament the viewpoints expressed, especially focusing on the role that the concept of the nowadays to a large degree surpassed Humboldtian "modern university" has played. In this sense, an essential issue that has to be dealt with concerns the main traits that should characterise the projected type of education in the struggle between an ideal of general formation [Bildung] versus practical training constraints.