The Neoliberal Language of Higher Education in the EU: An Analysis of the Bologna Process

By Florian Hummel.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The policy framework behind this piece of research is found in the developments of Europeanisation that have resulted from the joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education for one harmonised space of higher education within the European Union (Bologna Declaration). The developments are nowadays popularly described as the Bologna process. Over the years since the signing of the Bologna declaration in 1999 critical debates have developed that have been questioning the Bologna Declaration. Tomusk (2004: 75) points out that ‘quietly, without attracting too much attention from educational sociologists in Europe, a massive process has been underway […] that is expected to revolutionize European higher education to an unprecedented extend’. In this respect, this paper will discuss the underlying language of the European Union which we can find in the Bologna Declaration and its relationship to the neo-liberal ideology with its emphasis on ‘performativity’ (Lyotard 1984) by drawing on the main issues in the debate about Bologna. The paper’s research question lies in an analysis of the language of the European Union, its relationship to neo-liberal thinking and the possible meanings that neo-liberal tendencies in European policy making might have for the construction of knowledge in the member states.

Keywords: Bologna Declaration, Bologna Process, Neo-Liberalism, Higher Education, Performativity

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp.53-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.143MB).

Dr. Florian Hummel

Director Degree Programmes, Tourism, Hospitality and Event, ANGELL Akademie Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Florian Hummel studied Travel and Tourism Management at the Akademie für Touristik in Freiburg, Germany and the University of Brighton, UK. He holds a BA (hons) in Travel Management from the University of Brighton and an MSc in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University, UK. After working with an airport management company and an international rental car company he is now lecturing various travel and tourism related subjects at the ANGELL Akademie Freiburg, Germany and heads the academic department at the ANGELL Business School Freiburg, Germany. He received his Doctor of Education from the University of Sheffield, UK. His research interest lies in the neo-liberal language of higher education in the EU with special reference to the effects of the Bologna Declaration on higher and vocational education in Germany.


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