The 2008 crisis has reactivated crucial debates about the impact of, and the tensions between, the creation and redistribution of wealth (Piketty 2014). Those issues are important for evaluating the process of higher education’s expansion and its democratisation (Carpentier 2012). During this seminar, I will present initial findings from my CGHE research study which aims to bridge those debates by exploring the following research questions:
1. What factors structure the historical relationship between economic fluctuations, inequality/equality, and HE participation?
2. Under what socioeconomic conditions does growth or contraction in higher education take place? Can we identify similar and different relationships across countries?
3. Do socioeconomic fluctuations affect the relationship between the dynamic of expansion and the process of stratification of HE systems, and vice-versa?
In order to explore these questions, the study examines the relationships between participation in, and qualifications from, HE and the fluctuations in key socio-economic aggregates since the 1920s.
The comparative dimension of the project focuses on the UK, France and the USA, countries which reached mass HE via different funding models. The study will map similarities and differences between the historical trajectories of development of higher education systems of the three countries, and establish whether the patterns have affected, or responded to, socioeconomic fluctuations.
The project will also integrate the local dimension, exploring whether the relationship between the national HE system and socioeconomic fluctuations holds for all higher education institutions.
Listen to an audio recording of this seminar: