University of Ljubljana

The research to be carried out at UL’s Bologna Research Centre will focus on some aspects of the history of policy ideas related to the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The purpose is (at least) two-fold: (1) The Bologna Process was launched almost 20 years ago, but so far very little attention has been devoted to its historical analysis; (2) in these two decade policy ideas on which the EHEA is based, have been developed, discussed, disputed and repeatedly transformed in a dynamic conceptual process, which has also received insufficient research attention. The research will thus contribute to a clearer insight into the genealogy of some of the central ideas of the Bologna Process; in addition, it will also contribute to a more contextual treatment of the strategic issues raised in the context of the practices of internationalization within the EHEA as well as within the contemporary global space.


According to the conceptual framework of the NEAR EU project our focus will be limited to selected concepts that are most directly related to the internationalization of higher education; some other concepts will be considered only at secondary level, when necessary for further clarification of the central concepts. We will focus on three concepts: (1) internationalization and the "external dimension" of the EHEA, (2) mobility of students and staff and (3) recognition of higher education qualifications.


Most of the research will be carried out as a secondary analysis based on a review of published as well as unpublished (available in various archives) documents, reports, policy studies as well as academic studies and papers. The main attention will be devoted to documents and studies that address the problems at trans-national, i.e. European level (e.g., the documents generated within the Bologna Process; surveys prepared by various European associations; articles that analyse the internationalization of European higher education, etc.). We will also discuss some of the documents and studies that address these problems at national or institutional levels, but only as cases and examples, which help to explain further the developmental dynamics of the EHEA as a whole. In its outcomes, the research will provide an analysis of the genealogy of policy ideas and contextual treatment of the strategic issues of internationalization; in addition, it will also contribute to collecting, editing and facilitating systematic access to some of the key resources (documents, studies) that will be used in the analysis and which are not broadly available today.