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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Elizabeth Popp Berman and Catherine Paradeise

Universities in both North America and Europe are under substantial pressure. We draw on the papers in this volume to describe those pressures and explore their…

Abstract

Universities in both North America and Europe are under substantial pressure. We draw on the papers in this volume to describe those pressures and explore their consequences from an organizational standpoint. Building on the institutional logics perspective, field theories, world society theory, resource dependence, and organizational design scholarship, these papers show how the changing relationship between the state and higher education, cultural shifts, and broad trends toward globalization have led to financial pressures on universities and intensified competition among them. Universities have responded to these pressures by cutting costs, becoming more entrepreneurial, increasing administrative control, and expanding the use of rationalized tools for management. Collectively, these reactions are reshaping the field(s) of higher education and increasing stratification within and across institutions. While universities have thus far proven remarkably adaptive to these pressures, they may be reaching the limits of how much they can adapt without seriously compromising their underlying missions.

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The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

Elizabeth Popp Berman

Field theory is one of the most visible approaches in the new political sociology of science, and Fligstein & McAdam’s (F&M) Theory of Fields is the most visible recent…

Abstract

Field theory is one of the most visible approaches in the new political sociology of science, and Fligstein & McAdam’s (F&M) Theory of Fields is the most visible recent attempt to further it. This paper evaluates F&M’s theory of field transformation by comparing it with Berman’s (2012a) field-based explanation of the changes in the field of US academic science. While F&M’s general framework is quite useful, their explanation, which focuses on struggles between incumbents and challengers over whose conception of the field should dominate, does not map neatly onto the changes in academic science, which saw no such field-level struggles. This suggests that tools are also needed for explaining new settlements that do not result from intentional efforts to establish them. In particular, the case of US academic science shows that local innovations with practices based on alternative conceptions of the field can lead to field-level change. Attention to the interaction between local practice innovations and larger environments provides insights into how change ripples across fields, as well as the ongoing contention and dynamism within even relatively stable fields.

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Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Abstract

Details

The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Elizabeth Popp Berman and Abby Stivers

The United States has been at the forefront of a global shift away from direct state funding of higher education and toward student loans, and student debt has become an…

Abstract

The United States has been at the forefront of a global shift away from direct state funding of higher education and toward student loans, and student debt has become an issue of growing social concern. Why did student loans expand so much in the United States in the 1990s and 2000s? And how does organization theory suggest their expansion, and the growth of federal student aid more generally, might affect higher education as a field? In the 1960s and 1970s, policy actors worked to solve what was then a central problem around student loans: banks’ disinterest in lending to students. They did this so well that by 1990, a new field of financial aid policy emerged, in which all major actors had an interest in expanding loans. This, along with a favorable environment outside the field, set the stage for two decades of rapid growth. Organization theory suggests two likely consequences of this expansion of federal student loans and financial aid more generally. First, while (public) colleges have become less dependent on state governments and more dependent on tuition, the expansion of aid means colleges are simultaneously becoming more dependent on the federal government, which should make them more susceptible to federal demands for accountability. Second, the expansion of federal student aid should encourage the spread of forms and practices grounded in a logic focused on students’ financial value to the organization, such as publicly traded for-profit colleges and enrollment management practices.

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The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

David J. Hess and Scott Frickel

This Introduction gives a historical and theoretical overview of this volume on Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age, which showcases…

Abstract

This Introduction gives a historical and theoretical overview of this volume on Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age, which showcases original research in political sociology of science targeting the changes in scientific and technological policy and practice associated with the rise of neoliberal thought and policies since the 1970s. We argue that an existing family of field theoretic frameworks and empirical field analyses provides a particularly useful set of ideas and approaches for the meso-level understanding of these historical changes in ways that complement as well as challenge other theory traditions in sociology of science, broadly defined. The collected papers exhibit a dual focus on sciences’ interfield relations, connecting science and science policy to political, economic, educational, and other fields and on the institutional logics of scientific fields that pattern expert discourses, practices, and knowledge and shape relations of the scientific field to the rest of the world. By reconceptualizing the central problem for political sociology of science as a problem of field- and inter-field dynamics, and by critically engaging other theory traditions whose assumptions are in some ways undermined by the contemporary history of neoliberalism, we believe these papers collectively chart an important theoretical agenda for future research in the sociology of science.

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Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

Abby Kinchy, Kirk Jalbert and Jessica Lyons

This paper responds to recent calls for deeper scrutiny of the institutional contexts of citizen science. In the last few years, at least two dozen civil society…

Abstract

This paper responds to recent calls for deeper scrutiny of the institutional contexts of citizen science. In the last few years, at least two dozen civil society organizations in New York and Pennsylvania have begun monitoring the watershed impacts of unconventional natural gas drilling, also known as “fracking.” This study examines the institutional logics that inform these citizen monitoring efforts and probes how relationships with academic science and the regulatory state affect the practices of citizen scientists. We find that the diverse practices of the organizations in the participatory water monitoring field are guided by logics of consciousness-raising, environmental policing, and science. Organizations that initiate monitoring projects typically attempt to combine two or more of these logics as they develop new practices in response to macro-level social and environmental changes. The dominant logic of the field remains unsettled, and many groups appear uncertain about whether and how their practices might have an influence. We conclude that the impacts of macro-level changes, such as the scientization of politics, the rise of neoliberal policy ideas, or even large-scale industrial transformations, are likely to be experienced in field-specific ways.

Details

Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2014

Abstract

Details

Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-668-2

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Abstract

Details

The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Abstract

Details

The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

This research paper aims to better understand the network structure of higher education in North America. It draws on a relationally networked dataset of 1,292…

Abstract

This research paper aims to better understand the network structure of higher education in North America. It draws on a relationally networked dataset of 1,292 degree-granting colleges and universities in North America to develop a modularity class approach to categorizing colleges and universities based on their own self-defined peer networks and assesses the utility of the modularity class approach as well as several measures of network centrality for predicting offerings of new curricular fields. Results show that not all measures of network centrality equally predict organizational change outcomes, with hub/authority position being most important. Additionally, results show that an empirically derived modularity class approach to categorizing organizations has important strengths in relation to more typical approaches based on prestige or perceived organizational characteristics. The approaches detailed in this paper will be useful for future analysts seeking to explain the spread of innovations and behavior across the higher education institutional field, as well as those seeking to understand clustering and organizational divergence.

Details

The University Under Pressure
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5

Keywords

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