Historical Institutions, Ideological Contestation, and International Pressures for Reform : Exploring Higher Education Governance in Turkey
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Higher education systems and institutions worldwide are currently subjected to structural and policy reforms, which have sparked social scientific interest in analyzing reform processes in this specific policy sector. Country case studies have been a mainstay of higher education policy research, contributing to the emergence of a significant body of knowledge providing insight into national specificities playing out in reform processes. Located within the country case study tradition in higher education studies, this dissertation analyzes policy changes specific to higher education governance arrangements at both systemic and institutional levels from the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (1923) to the present. It places particular focus on the causes and outcomes of higher education reforms along with the mechanisms linking the two. The study utilizes historical institutionalism as an overarching theoretical perspective guiding the analysis. It also benefits from the certain insights of ideational and sociological institutionalism in explaining policy change. Process-tracing as a specific within-case method is deployed to explain how and through which mechanisms policy outcomes occurred. It draws upon a wide range of primary and secondary sources to provide a vivid description and craft a plausible explanation of policy change in the policy sector. Overall, the study contributes to the empirical understanding of higher education policy in Turkey. It explains the causes and outcomes of change, identifies actor constellations in decisionmaking, and sheds light on the historical trajectory of higher education governance in the country. Theoretically, the study contributes to our understanding of policymaking dynamics in higher education by bringing relatively understudied phenomena into the forefront, such as the role of the military in the higher education policy reforms or the politics of university reforms under authoritarian single-party rules.