Higher Education

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 423–437 | Cite as

The dimensions of social dynamics in comparative studies on higher education

  • Jussi Välimaa
  • Terhi Nokkala


This article discusses social dynamics of higher education which is one of the most crucial but neglected perspectives in comparative studies of higher education. We pay attention to the importance of time, space and contexts—both geographical and socio-cultural ones—to reveal how they influence on different social dynamics in various systems of higher education. The article focuses on the national higher education system level. Theoretically we approach higher education systems from a relational perspective paying attention to dynamics created by changing relationships between different actors in cultural, geographical and historical contexts.


Comparative higher education Cultural geography Climate History Theory of structuration 


  1. Altbach, P. G. (1998). Comparative higher education. Knowledge, the University, and development: Contemporary studies in social and policy issues in education. The David C. Anchin Series. Greenwich, Conn, USA: Alex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  2. Althusser, L. (2007). Politics and History: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx (trans: Ben Brewster). London: Verso. Google Scholar
  3. Bleiklie, I., Roar, H., & Vabo, A. (2000). Policy and practice in higher education. Reforming Norwegian Universities.Google Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. J. D. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Braudel, F. (1949) La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II. Paris.Google Scholar
  6. Carnoy, M. (2006). Rethinking the comparative—and the international. Comparative Education Review, 50(4), 551–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Castells, M., Fernandez-Ardevol, M., & Qiu, J. L. (2006). Mobile communication and society: Global perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, B. R. (1983). The higher education system. Berkeley: University of California.Google Scholar
  9. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Dale, R. (2005). Globalisation, knowledge economy and comparative education. Comparative Education, 41(2), 117–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deer, C. (2005). Higher education access and expansion: The French experience. Higher Education Quarterly, 59, 230–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delanty, G. (2005). Social science: Philosophical and methodological foundations (2nd ed.). Berkshire: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Emirbayer, M. (1997). Manifesto for a relational sociology. American Journal of Sociology, 103(2), 281–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Enders, J. (Ed.). (2001). Academic staff in Europe: Changing contexts and conditions. London: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  15. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Goedebuure, L., & van Vught, F. A. (1996). Comparative higher education studies: The perspective from the policy science. Higher Education, 32, 371–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Häkli, J. (1999). Meta hodos. Johdatus ihmismaantieteeseen. Tampere: Vastapaino.Google Scholar
  18. Huisman, J. (1995). Differentiation, diversity and dependency in higher education. Lemma: A theoretical and empirical analysis.Google Scholar
  19. Johnston, R. J. (1986). Philosophy and human geography: An introduction to contemporary approaches (2nd ed.). London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  20. Kelly, G. P., & Altbach, P. G. (1986). Comparative education: Challenge and response. Comparative Education Review, 30(1), 89–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kogan, M. (1996). Comparing higher education systems. Higher Education, 32, 370–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kogan and Becher. (1992). Process and structure in higher education (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Marginson, S. (2002). Nation-building universities in a global environment: The case of Australia. Higher Education, 43(3), 409–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Materu, P., Obanya, P., & Righetti, P. (2011). The rise, fall, and reemergence of the University of Ibadjab, Nigeria. In P. G. Altbach & J. Salmi (Eds.), The road to academic excellence—the making of world-class research universities (pp. 195–228). Washington: The World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nokkala, T. (2014). National stories, convergent trends and divergent paths—knowledge society and higher education discourse. In Välimaa, J., Hoffman, D. (Eds.), Change in networks, higher education and knowledge societies. Dordrecht: Springer (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  26. Nybom, T. (2007). A rule-governed community of scholars: The humboldt vision in the history of the European university. In P. Maassen & J. P. Olsen (Eds.), University dynamics and European integration (Vol. 9, pp. 55–80). Higher Education Dynamics: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ordorika, I. (2003). Power and politics in university governance: Organization and change at the Universidad nacional Autónoma se México. New York and London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  28. Ordorika, I., & Pusser, B. (2007). La máxima casa de estudios: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México as a state-building university. In P. G. Altbach & J. Balán (Eds.), World-class worldwide: Transforming research universities in Asia and Latin America (pp. 189–215). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Perkin, H. (1984). The Historical Perspective. Perspectives on Higher Education. Eight Disciplinary and Comparative Views. Berkeley. Los Angeles, London: Univerisity of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Tapper, T., & Palfreyman, D. (2010). The collegial tradition in the age of mass higher education. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Teichler, U. (2004). The changing debate on internationalisation of higher education. Higher Education, 48(1), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Toulmin, S. (1992). Cosmopolis: The hidden agenda of modernity. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Välimaa, J. (1997). Integraatio, differentiaatio ja Clarkin kolmio. In J. Välimaa (ed.) Korkeakoulutus kolmiossanäkökulmia korkeakoululaitoksen muutoksiin. [Higher Education in a Triangle—Perspectives to changes in higher education] Jyväskylä: Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos (pp. 13–34).Google Scholar
  34. Välimaa, J. (2007). On traditions and historical layers in higher education. In Jurgen Enders & F. A. van Vught (Eds.), Towards a cartography of higher education policy change: Festschrift in honour of Guy Neave (pp. 67–76). Enschede: CHEPS.Google Scholar
  35. Välimaa, J. (2008). On comparative research in higher education. In A. Amaral, I. Bleiklie, & C. Musselin (Eds.), From governance to identity—a festschrift for Mary Henkel (pp. 141–155). Springer: Higher Education Dynamics 24.Google Scholar
  36. Välimaa, J. (2009). On field knowledge in higher education. In Higher Education Forum (pp. 73–86). Vol. 6. RIHE: Hiroshima University.Google Scholar
  37. Välimaa, J. (2010). Kenttätieto vertailevassa korkeakoulututkimuksessa. Kasvatus, 4(2010), 363–373.Google Scholar
  38. Välimaa, J. (2012). The corporatization of national universities in Finland. In B. Pusser, K. Kempner, S. Marginson, & I. Ordorika (Eds.), Universities and the public sphere: Knowledge creation and state building in the era of globalization (pp. 101–120). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Välimaa, J. (2014). Higher Education institutions in Networked Knowledge Societies. In: Välimaa, J., Hoffman, D. (Eds.), Change in networks, higher education and knowledge societies. Dordrecht: Springer (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  40. Schwarz, S., & Westerheijden, D. F. (2004). Accreditation and evaluation in the European higher education area. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2004). Academic capitalism and the new economy: markets, State, and Higher Education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Teichler, U. (in this issue). Opportunities and problems of comparative higher education research: The daily life of research. Higher education special issue on comparative HE research.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Institute for Educational ResearchUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

Personalised recommendations