Aarhus Universitets segl

Student politics and agency: Policy effects of student movements on higher education

Policy Futures International Webinar Series. Keynotes: Manja Klemenčič and Donatella delle Porta. Discussants: Gritt B Nielsen and Thierry Luescher

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Torsdag 17. november 2022,  kl. 14:00 - 16:00

Donatella Della Porta: The contentious politics of higher education: the student movements against neoliberal universities

Abstract: The talk covers some main argument of a research project on recent waves of student protests, Higher education policies have been shaped by various waves of student mobilization. Looking at recent waves of protest with different outcomes in four countries - Quebec, Chile, Italy and England - the talk embeds these movements within a broader concept of student politics, looking at movement but also non-movement dynamics. These four cases explored cover different higher education systems, from those in which the role of the state is still prominent (Italy, Quebec) to others in which the market has acquired greater relevance over the last decades (England, Chile). The talks main argument is that to understand the capacity of social movements to influence the policy-making process, we must look at the triangle formed by movements, political parties and public opinion.

Short bio: Donatella Della Porta is professor of political science, founding dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences  and Director of the PhD program in Political Science and Sociology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, where she also leads the Center on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos). Among the main topics of her research: social movements, political violence, terrorism, corruption, the police and protest policing. She has directed a major ERC project Mobilizing for Democracy, on civil society participation in democratization processes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Mattei Dogan Prize for distinguished achievements in the field of political sociology; in 2021, she received the Research Awards of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung in recognition of her lifetime’s research activities. She is Honorary Doctor of the universities of Lausanne, Bucharest, Goteborg, Jyvaskyla and the University of Peloponnese. She is the author or editor of 90 books, 150 journal articles and 150 contributions in edited volumes.

Manja Klemenčič: Student agency in higher education: focus on the representation side of student politics

Abstract: Taking theory of student agency as a starting point, this talk will introduce student impact model which submits that students in variety of roles on campus - though representation, activism, leadership and other voluntary service, and paid campus employment - can directly and purposefully influence academic and social life of higher education institutions. The empirical part will focus on student representation as a distinct facet of student politics. Findings will be presented from the global comparative research project Student Impact on Higher Education Globally (SIHEG) conducted in partnership with the Global Student Forum which yielded the largest existing data set mapping student representation in HE governance across the world. 

Short bio: Manja Klemenčič is Lecturer on Sociology at Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. She researches, teaches, advises and acts as a consultant in the area of sociology and politics of higher education, European and international comparative higher education. Her major research contribution is in the study of student governments and student representation in higher education which is part of her broader research agenda on student agency and the impact of students on higher education. She is co-editor of European Journal of Higher Education, Bloomsbury book series Understanding student experiences in higher education and co-editor of Springer Nature book series Higher education dynamics.

Discussants: Gritt B Nielsen, Associate professor Aarhus University and Thierry Luescher, Research Director at Human Sciences Research Council and affiliated associate professor of higher education, the University of the Free State, South Africa.