University of Twente Student Theses


Higher education in cosmopolitan Europe and cosmopolitan China

Witzel, Linda-Suzan (2015) Higher education in cosmopolitan Europe and cosmopolitan China.

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Abstract:With the end of the Cold War, political actors that act on the global stage have a tendency to develop a cosmopolitan identity – a collective identity for the global era. Hence, Beck and Grande (2007) observe that the European Union has developed into a Cosmopolitan Europe. Delanty (2012) argues that a cosmopolitan imagination has come to define Europe today, that is, a critical attitude to the social world in Europe. Cosmopolitan identities of global players do not develop in void or spontaneously but are made. While in the modern era, states made nations in nation-building trajectories, via state-based education systems. In the global era, world powers like the EU, make cosmopolitan identities in world-building trajectories, typically via higher education systems. In the EU, higher education, in particular the Bologna Process (1999), can be considered as a major engine in the making of a cosmopolitan identity for the EU. The Bologna process shoes how European policy makers contribute to the establishment of a cosmopolitan identity by shaping a world paradigm within EU policies. Reflexivity is typically considered a key element in such education systems, as this type of rationality is needed to make sense of the complexity of a globalizing Europe. The European media, European newspapers in particular, it is assumed, perceive and popularize Europe’s cosmopolitan identity to wider audiences. Hence the media can be understood, - like higher education systems - as popularizers of the cosmopolitan European identity. Consequently, the identity as constructed in higher education is communicated to its readership by press reports. Not only Europe, or the EU, has redeveloped its collective identity in the global era, but also the People’s Republic of China (hereafter: China) has come to play a central role on the global stage since the end of the Cold War and has reconstructed its collective identity. Some scholars have recognized that China in spite of its communist party rule is developing a cosmopolitan identity that Urry (2010) calls a Cosmopolitan China. Also China’s cosmopolitan identity is constructed via education systems, in particular via the National Entrance Exam called Gaokao, is a producer of a Chinese cosmopolitan identity – a cosmopolitanism that may well be different from European cosmopolitanism. As in Europe, Chinese media sources perceive and popularize this identity to their audiences. In this thesis, I seek to investigate, via a content analysis, how European and Chinese newspapers discuss the making of the cosmopolitan identities via the Bologna Process and Gaokao. The aim of the thesis is to find out to what extent European and Chinese newspaper articles present their education systems as being a cosmopolitan Europe and a cosmopolitan China as envisioned by scholars like Beck and Grande and Urry. Also, this thesis seeks to detect differences between European cosmopolitanism and Chinese cosmopolitanism, as expressed in newspaper discussions of Bologna and Gaokao.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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