Browsing by Subject "Contingency"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-2 of 2
  • Kauko, Jaakko (2014)
    Taking complexity as an epistemic starting point, this article enhances understanding of dynamics in higher education. It also reviews the relevant literature on path dependency, complexity research, and studies of political change and contingency. These ideas are further developed with reference to the political situation and political possibilities as concepts. It is claimed that the key issues in understanding irreversibility on a system level are institutional change and politicisation. It is deduced from two case studies in the Finnish context that founding new institutions created bifurcations in both. Then again, the politicisation for disbanding existing institutions has proved rather futile. The key findings are that the choices in higher education politics increase the complexity of the system, and that many of the choices made are irreversible for reasons to do with contingency.
  • Kauko, Jaakko (2013)
    This article presents a model for analysing dynamics in higher education politics (DHEP). Theoretically the model draws on the conceptual history of political contingency, agenda-setting theories and previous research on higher education dynamics. According to the model, socio-historical complexity can best be analysed along two dimensions: the political situation and political possibilities. Politics as a situation connotes the idea of an opportune moment when politics can be changed, and political possibilities concern the different alternatives the actors see in different situations. Depending on whether the situation is favourable or unfavourable to change, and on whether the possibilities are politicised or settled, the DHEP model introduces four types of dynamic: reform, gridlock, consensual change and friction. On the empirical level the model has been tested and developed in the context of Finnish higher education by means of interviews and documentary material. It was found, in the Finnish context, that four policy threads functioned according to each of the dynamics. It appears from the empirical findings that dynamics in higher education politics are strongly related to changes that are external to the higher-education system, the changing positions of the actors in different policy threads and the unexpected nature of the dynamics. The DHEP can also be used to shed light on the effects of the silent, settled possibilities that may enable or disable other policy threads within a higher education system.