Sixth International EUREDOCS Conference
Transformation, continuity and inertia
in Higher Education and Research
Centre de Sociologie des Organisations (Sciences-Po and CNRS)
Paris - France
29-31 May 2009
1. What is EUREDOCS?
1.1 The Network
EUREDOCS is a network of European doctoral students working on issues related to the Europeanization of higher education and research. The network was created upon the initiative of Sylvain Kahn (Director for European Affairs) and Christine Musselin (director of the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations) at Sciences Po in Paris.
It aims to facilitate and enable more communication among doctoral students and new doctoral candidates working on issues related to the Europeanization of higher education and research. The network also aims to promote publication and dissemination of research results and to facilitate exchange and mobility among young scholars in this field.
EUREDOCS is an interdisciplinary network and accepts membership from doctoral students and recent doctoral candidates in sociology, political science, economics, history, and educational studies.
Europeanization of higher education and research is to be understood in a broad sense. It obviously addresses the Europeanization of national higher education and research policies. It also includes the analysis of the (potential) harmonisation, standardisation, convergence or normalisation processes that might affect the structure, academic curricula, accreditation procedures, the quality assessment and
assurance systems, academic career patterns, the role of higher education institutions in local or regional development, the structure of university governance, the production of knowledge, the relationships between research and industry, the institutional structures for teaching and/or research etc. Furthermore, it deals with the role of supra-national bodies in these processes, the influence of American models, the impact of internationalisation etc.
1.2 The Activities
The activities of the EUREDOCS network mainly consist of:
- an annual international conference,
- a directory collecting detailed information about doctoral students and recent doctoral candidates and about their PhD topics in progress or recently defended in the field of Europeanization of higher education and research,
- a website which is designed to be a resource for doctoral students and recent doctoral candidates.
1.3 The Euredocs Scientific Committee
In order to develop and run this network, Sciences Po has founded a scientific committee composed of six well-known European research centres and their representatives:
· CIPES, Center for Research in Higher Education Policies, Portugal (Alberto Amaral)
· CSO, Sciences Po and CNRS, France (Christine Musselin)
· CHEPS, University of Twente, Netherland (Jürgen Enders)
· Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom (Penny Burke)
· International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel) , University of Kassel, Germany (Barbara Kehm )
· OSPS, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (Gaële Goastellec)
· Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Studies, University of Bergen, Norway (Ivar Bleiklie)
The conferences are organised jointly by the members of the Scientific Committee who also review the papers submitted. The Scientific Committee will also select the best papers of each conference and look for a possibility to publish them in an international journal.
2. The EUREDOCS Conferences
One of the objectives of the EUREDOCS network is to organise annual international conferences for doctoral students and new doctoral degree holders (Thesis defence no longer ago than January 2007) related to the EUREDOCS thematic priorities and interests. These conferences aim to:
- promote exchange, foster discussion and reflection among doctoral students and recent doctoral degree holders,
- encourage them to write and present papers at academic meetings and conferences,
- provide practical experiences as discussants and commentators,
- foster scientific exchange and debates.
We expect the conferences to represent opportunities for doctoral students and new doctoral candidates to find a place dedicated to their work, where they can present contributions and where they are confronted with different perspectives, where they will meet senior researchers who will act as moderators or be part of audience. The conferences also serve as an opportunity for further cooperation and exchange.
The papers presented at the conference will be made available on the EUREDOCS website after the conference and will thus be widely disseminated. We expect that many of them can then be revised for publication in different journals. The members of the Scientific Committee will support this process.
Each conference provides an opportunity for a limited number of contributors (between 12 and 16) to present a paper on a focused issue (which is part of a PhD thesis but normally not the whole project), in order to allow debates and develop relationships among participants sharing common interests and knowledge on a common theme. For each conference a new topic will be explored, a call for proposals will be disseminated and the Scientific Committee will select the best from among the submitted proposals.
The previous EUREDOCS Conferences were held at Sciences Po in Paris (2004), at the Stein Rokkan Centre in Bergen (2005), at the International Centre for Higher Education Research, University of Kassel (2006), at the Centre for Higher Education Studies, School of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies, Institute of Education, University of London (2007) and at the CIPES, Center for Research on Higher Education Policies, University of Porto and University of Aveiro (2008).
3. The Conference Venue for 2009
The Sixth EUREDOCS Conference will be organized by the CSO (Centre de Sociologie des Organisations, Sciences Po and CNRS) and be held at Sciences Po from 29 to 31 May, 2009 (Friday till Sunday).
4. Organisation of the 2009 EUREDOCS Conference
The Conference will be organised in four sessions (one each on Friday and Sunday and two on Saturday) of approximately four hours duration. In each session no more than four papers will be presented and discussed (45 to 60 minutes for each paper). The attendance of doctoral students without contributing a paper is possible. Participants without a paper have to cover their own expenses.
All papers selected for presentation should be available by 30 April 2009
Participants and discussants will be asked to read the papers before the beginning of the Conference. Contributors will have 15 minutes to present a short version of their paper. For each paper a discussant will be assigned from among the other participants presenting a paper to comment on the presented paper. The discussant can comment for 15 minutes as well. Then a general discussion will follow taking about 15 to 30 minutes. We expect each contributor to attend the whole Conference.
Each session will be chaired by a senior researcher, usually a member of the Scientific Committee.
Contributors have to pay themselves for their travel costs. Accommodation and meals in Paris will be covered by the organisation.
5. The Conference Theme
The 6th EUREDOCS Conference will focus on the theme: “Beyond Change: Transformation, Continuity and Inertia in Higher Education and Research”.
Higher Education and Science studies systematically focus on the changes that have occurred all over Europe for the last three decades. Two main perspectives are frequently prevailing in these analyses. First, it is often taken for granted that major and dramatic changes have been occurring. Second, the changes under study are more often considered equivalent to reforms than to less explicit and voluntary transformations. These perspectives allowed the production of substantial research work highlighting the priorities, the rationales, the challenges and the drivers of those reforms.
However, and by contrast, little attention has been paid to less visible, incremental, or unexpected change. Likewise, continuity and inertia have also been neglected. They often have been resumed to resistance towards change.
This conference therefore aims at developing a deeper understanding of change by assessing what is changing and what is not. The focus will equally be on continuity, inertia and change.
During the 2009 EUREDOCS Conference, we thus want to explore the nature and the scope of change, continuity and inertia, both from a substantive and a methodological perspective. Two main sub-themes will be addressed.
(a) Characterizing change, continuity and inertia
This first sub-theme invites proposals on the nature and the scope of change, continuity and inertia.
Based on empirical evidence, papers should characterize and analyse the different levels, paces and temporalities of change. Interactions between processes taking place at different levels should be questioned and special attention should be paid to the timing and the sequencing of those changes.
Contributions may also address mechanisms explaining continuity or inertia: beyond the too often trivial use of the notion of path dependence, mechanisms such as embeddedness of existing institutional settings, coupling/decoupling between practices and discourses, punctuated equilibria, professional resistance should be taken into account. In the same way, mechanisms leading to discreet changes (changes that are not tightly linked with enforced and/or voluntary reforms) should be analysed and characterized: notions such as shifting paths, incremental and gradual changes etc. could be very useful to go in this direction.
(b) Measuring change, continuity and inertia
The second sub theme will be dedicated to the theoretical and methodological dimensions of the analysis of change, continuity and inertia.
A first issue deals with the framing of the empirical research design and its consequences on the way change, continuity and inertia are assessed. How does the definition of the analysed periods affect the outcome of the research and the measurement of the degree of change, continuity and inertia? Which dimensions of change are better addressed thanks to monographs or comparisons? Which impact does the focus on micro-trends or macro-dynamics have on the conclusions of the research? How to choose between studying reforms versus studying organizational routines, or studying policy elites versus street level bureaucrats?
A second issue deals with the choice and the potential combinations of methodological and theoretical tools. How to build empirical indicators to address change and inertia? What could be the indicators of inertia? How to combine different conceptual lenses? How to combine a thick description with a quantitative approach? How can they benefit from each other?
6. Invitation to Submit a Proposal
The deadline for the submission of a proposal is 25 January 2009.
Being a doctoral student or having recently (not earlier than January 2007) defended your thesis and working on a topic concerning the Europeanization of higher education and research as outlined in section 1.
Submit a one to two page proposal on a topic to be presented by using the proposal form at the end of this text. The proposal as well as the potential presentation must be in English.
Submission of proposals:
Proposals should be sent either by email to:
or by regular mail to:
Centre de Sociologie des Organisations
Sciences-Po and CNRS
19 rue Amélie
The proposals will be reviewed by the members of the Scientific Committee of EUREDOCS.
The main assessment criteria will be the relevance of the proposal for the theme of the Conference. We will appreciate proposals based on solid empirical material (quantitative as well as qualitative) and including an appropriate theoretical framework. The evaluation of the proposals will take into account the number of years already spent working on the PhD thesis.
Replies will be sent by end of February 2009.
Title of thesis:
Please tick the relevant box to determine your status:
First year Second year Third year ≥Fourth year Thesis defended
Title of contribution submitted to EUREDOCS Conference:
Conference theme to which proposed contribution belongs to:
Characterizing change, continuity and inertia
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Measuring change, continuity and inertia
Abstract (at least 15 lines but no more than one page):
Empirical data and methodology used: