Expansion and contraction. The development of higher education in Eastern Europe between 1950 and 2000
Reisz, Robert D.
Instut für Hochschulforschung Martin Luther Universität Halle Wittenberg Germany,
Institut für Hochschulforschung Martin Luther Universität Halle Wittenberg Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany
Comparative research in the sociology of education, based on the new institutionalist ?world polity? approach finds that the expansion of education has universalistic character. Considering these research results, our study compares the expansion of higher education in Eastern and Western Europe in the period between 1950 and 2000. We demonstrate that in the Eastern European countries there existed a specific pattern of inclusion, different from the global model. Here, phases of expansion and contraction come one after another. During the period of state socialism, governments tried to subject higher education development to political programs. These programs were results of different and sometimes even conflicting ideologies. These conflicts finally led in all socialist countries to a halt of higher education expansion. During the post-socialist transformations the expansion of higher education in Eastern Europe is approaching that in the Western part of the continent.
We will start by introducing shortly the results of the new institutionalist approach regarding the expansion of higher education world-wide. We will follow by discussing the particularities of the Eastern European case. A systematic analysis based on time-series cross section regression models will also support our thesis that the case of Eastern European higher education does not fit the new institutionalist pattern of continuous world-wide expansion. Finally we will try to find a theoretical support based on Luhmann?s theory of social systems for the differences between the expansion of higher education in Eastern and Western Europe.