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Susan Wright

This article focuses on the site where much anthropological work is conducted—universities—and anthropological approaches to studying their current transformations. Although I work comparatively on the imagining and enactment of universities in Denmark and Britain, here I focus on the recent changes to universities in England, which have taken many by surprise, as if they exceeded anyone's wildest imagination and were even beyond belief. I will trace how the “conditions of possibility” for the current changes came about—the tripling of student fees, removal of government funding for teaching in arts and social sciences, and transfer of public resources to commercial, for-profit higher education companies. I will briefly outline the problems that opponents to these moves are having in imagining an alternative future, let alone organizing themselves to contest current developments. In conclusion, I will point to the changes in anthropology itself that are incurred when engaging in an ethnography of such a large policy field and when attempting to capture “what the present is producing” (Moore 1987: 727).

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

We are delighted to introduce the first volume of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. As founding and now-former editors of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences (LATISS), our new journal reflects a strong continuity in the editorial aims that inspired our first journal. We remain committed to using social science perspectives to analyse learning and teaching in higher education. In particular we invite contributors and readers to reflect critically on how students’ and academics’ practices are shaped by, or themselves influence, wider changes in university strategies and national and international policies for higher education. Viewing changes in course design and curriculum, in students’ writing, in group work, seminars or tutorials as taking place within a network (or lattice) of institutional, political and policy contexts is the focus of this journal.

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The Bologna Process

a voluntary method of coordination and marketisation?

Ole Henckel and Susan Wright

Ole Henckel is writing his PhD thesis on the relationship between national and European higher education policy as well as the history of the Bologna process. The aim of this interview was to learn about the historical background to the Bologna process, which interests were involved and which were excluded, what their motivations were, why they thought it was a good idea, and what they were trying to achieve? As the interview progressed, it focused on three themes. First, at what points did it become clear to participants that they were engaged in a new European 'great game' of creating not just a standardised Higher Education Area, but a global market? Second, how does the Bologna process work as an exemplar of the European Union's new form of governance through freedom, often referred to as the operation of 'soft power' or the Open Method of Coordination? Third, what are the most recent developments, and what kind of future is emerging?

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Penny Welch and Wright Susan

Welcome to the third issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. This issue completes the 2008 volume. Our thanks go to the authors of articles and reviews, the anonymous referees who read the articles, the publishers who provided review copies of the books, our own publisher, Berghahn, and the editorial board.

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Anwar Tlili and Susan Wright

The UK government's 2004 law, aiming to make universities contribute to Britain's success in the global knowledge economy, creates an explicit market in higher education. Students are presumed to occupy the status of consumer in an economic transaction with universities. The law gives students a right to information and an audit function so that their choices as 'intelligent consumers' will 'drive change' in universities. Interviews in two contrasting universities explore students' responses to this discourse and reveal their different aspirations and concepts of education. Yet they share doubts that regimes of audit and notions of accountability to consumers will not make their voices really 'count'.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, academics from Denmark, Chile, the United States and the United Kingdom analyse capacity-building projects between European and African universities, the experiences of mobile academics returning to their home country, the role of tutors on international interdisciplinary MA programmes, the contemporary relevance of classical and medieval approaches to education and levels of information literacy among undergraduates.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, authors from Denmark, Jamaica, the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom analyse measures to encourage students to change their educational expectations and complete their degrees earlier; the experience of inclusive pedagogy on a doctoral programme; the impact of new managerial practices on the teaching of qualitative research; the positive effects of using the online platform Socrative to involve less confident students and stimulate discussion; and a game that reinforces students’ understanding of important issues in research ethics.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to the first issue of the second volume of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. Our thanks go to the authors of articles and reviews, the anonymous referees who read the articles, the publishers who provided review copies of the books, our own publisher Berghahn and the Editorial Board.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to the first issue of the third volume of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.