Higher Education as a Form of European Integration: How Novel is the Bologna Process?
An analysis of policy process as applied to the development of higher education policy-making in the EU since 1955, and its relevance for the Bologna Process and EU Lisbon initiatives.
This paper argues that at a time in which higher education has become central to the concerns of EU institutions as well as national governments, it is helpful to understand current policy initiatives - both the spin offs from the EU’s Lisbon strategy and the intergovernmental Bologna Process – in the comparative terms of the dynamics of policy-making. Drawing on institutionalist frameworks biased towards process (Kingdon 1984, March and Olsen 1989, Barzelay 2003) and comparative historical analysis, it presents policy initiatives from the period 1955-87, including the supranational European University proposal and the Erasmus programme, as both historical events, and theorised configurations of agenda setting, alternative specification, and choice. It suggests that such a framework can be helpful to both those interested primarily in European integration and those whose interests lie in the dynamics of higher education policy-making in a multi-level setting.