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Walking on Borderlines, Crossing Frontiers

Reflections on the Journeys of a Grenzgänger Journal

Ina-Maria Greverus

The history of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures is told here as stories of boundary crossings between cultures of Europe and their overseas relationships: from the outset through developments and 'shifting grounds', to the present day. These stories have ranged from the Wall that divided nations to the vision and reality of European Unity. At the same time, the journal has sought to transcend boundaries between disciplines that, especially in Europe, have often remained attached to national and colonial traditions of monographic description of regions and tribes.

Ethnography needs transnational and transdisciplinary discourses and comparison, without losing sight of fieldwork in situ and multiple sites, including from the perspective of the Other.

'Anthropologising Europe' has been a key concern of the journal, as have the 'shifting grounds' of 'doing ethnography' in the context of globalisation that sediments places and spaces. Separations received much attention: of nations by the wall between capitalism and communism, in gender relations, or through national and regional bordering processes. But there were also the boundary transgressing utopias of a collage of hybrid society as poetic spark, in which the hybrid anthropologist, too, might feel at home in his or her various hermeneutic endeavours.

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Cris Shore

This article explores the legacy of three decades of neoliberal reforms on New Zealand's university system. By tracing the different government policies during this period, it seeks to contribute to wider debates about the trajectory of contemporary universities in an age of globalisation. Since Lyotard's influential report on The Postmodern Condition (1994), critics have frequently claimed that commercialisation and managerialism have undermined and supplanted the social mission of the university as governments throughout the developed world have sought to transform the university 'from an ideological arm of the state into a bureaucratically organised and relatively autonomous consumer-oriented corporation' (Readings 1996: 457). Against this I argue that the new model of the entrepreneurial and corporate university has not so much replaced the traditional functions and meaning of the university as added a new layer of complexity to the university's already diverse and multifaceted roles in society. Drawing on an ethnography of one university and personal observations, I explore the effects of that reform process on the culture and character of the university and, more specifically, its impact on academic identities and the everyday practices of academics and students. As in other OECD countries, New Zealand's universities are now required to deliver a bewildering plethora of government priorities and strategic economic and social objectives whilst simultaneously carrying out their traditional roles in teaching, research and scholarship. The challenge for the modern university, as reflected in the case of New Zealand, is how to negotiate these diverse and often contradictory missions.

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The business of teaching and learning

an accounting perspective

Penny Ciancanelli

A feature of globalisation is encouragement of universities to become more businesslike, including adoption of the type of accounting routines and regulations used by businesses. The question debated in higher education policy research is whether this focus on being businesslike is compatible with the statutory public benefit obligations of universities. This question is addressed from a financial-management perspective, drawing on Max Weber's discussion of the effects of accounting in business, governmental and not-for-profit organisations. 1 His approach is applied to three ideal-typical universities, focussing on differences in legal terms of reference and sources of funding. The article argues that the proposed reforms of public-sector accounting will make it difficult (if not impossible) to ascertain whether the publicbenefit aims of not-for-profit universities have been achieved. In addition, once installed, the business systems of accounting will encourage pecuniary rationality at the expense of the traditional value rationalities that ought to govern resource allocation in public-benefit organisations. The interaction between these effects introduces new risks, including the possibility that the controllers of universities may fail in their fiduciary obligations by wasting scarce resources on projects that, according to financial measures, appear profitable while neglecting those that have important public benefit and educational merit.

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Convergence in Social Welfare Systems

From Evidence to Explanations

Denis Bouget

After the Second World War, the view that people of every nation would be entitled to experience rising standards of living pervaded all corners of the globe. Convergence was seen as a positive way of achieving a Golden Age and a peaceful and affluent utopia, through modernisation and technical progress. Within this general belief, the development of national social welfare systems in Europe in the postwar period appears to be the outcome of autonomous national processes. The construction of Europe, which imposed common rules in many areas, was nonetheless consistent with the national development of social welfare systems within each national culture. The idea of a common system of social protection has always been linked to European political and economic construction, which was expected to create a more cohesive society. Reference is made constantly to convergence as a catching-up process in the comparative evaluation of national social policies, but the implementation of an ambitious European system of social protection and the creation of harmonised national welfare systems have always proved to be impossible. The paper focuses on two specific topics. Firstly, it examines attempts to quantify convergence among EU and OECD countries at the macro-economic level, using social indicators to assess the convergence or divergence of social expenditure. The evidence of convergence is shown to be ambiguous due to a number of methodological problems. Secondly, two main interpretations of convergence are examined: economic forces and legal frameworks. The paper shows that the analysis of national trajectories of social expenditure and the link with economic development can enrich the analysis of convergence or divergence in social protection. Even if the maturation or reform of national social policies explains the origins of increases in social expenditure, macro-economic pressures, or constraints (globalisation, Single Market), on public expenditure can fuel certain type of convergence. In all the developed countries, social welfare systems are based on national legal frameworks. A goal of social Europe is not only to work towards European solidarity but also to build common social rights throughout Europe. Convergence of national social welfare systems can, therefore, be interpreted as a component in a general process of convergence in law within the developed countries, especially within Europe. However, common explanations of convergence in social welfare systems often neglect elements of divergence. They, therefore, conceal the complexity of the process and very often underestimate the full extent of divergence.