Higher education cultural approach
This research aims to discuss the cultural approach in higher education. Culture is understood as an organizing concept to examine how cultural dimensions (national, disciplinary and organizational settings) influence the academic communities. The higher education cultural approach provides a standpoint to examine what the contextual dimensions are in higher education, and how these dimensions have been defined and examined in higher education research. Theoretically, the dissertation has two aims. The first aim is to analyze the intellectual roots and neighbors of the higher education cultural approach. Second, to reflect on the influence of two intellectual traditions that have contributed to cultural understanding of higher education institutions and academic communities, i.e. humanist and rational traditions. With the help of these intellectual tools the disciplines, anthropology and sociology that have contributed to the development of the higher education cultural approach can be analyzed from the perspective of their interest of knowledge. It is maintained that the higher education cultural approach is rooted mainly two in different intellectual starting points to analyze the higher education field as cultural entities: studies on disciplinary cultures and institutional cultures. Notions of disciplines as cultural entities have been developing in Europe rooted in the civilizational anxiety concerning the split in the academic world into two hostile cultures. The institutional studies tradition is, in turn, rooted in the American intellectual traditions, where cultural concerns emerge from the institutional level phenomena whether they concern students, faculty (university teachers) or higher education institutions. In conclusion, it is suggested that the issue of cultural differences is the question of what constitutes different academic identities. The development and change of identity, in turn, is based on continuous dialogue with significant others. In the academic world, these significant others can be found in disciplinary and institutional colleagues, professional groups and national cultural environments. It is also argued that identity opens a seminal starting point for future studies in higher education cultural approach. ...
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- Väitöskirjat