THE EU EXERTING AN IDEATIONAL POWER BEYOND ITS FRONTIERS? LATIN AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES AND EUROPEAN MODEL AS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE TRANSMISSION OF EUROPE OF KNOWLEDGE: THE CASE OF CHILE AND MEXICO
Keywords:Ideational Power, Europe of Knowledge, Bologna Process, Tuning Project, Latin American Higher Education
The EU as an ideational actor has a significant impact upon non-European countries. It is impacting on its periphery and the world. This paper studies the implications and lessons learnt of the European experience for other countries and regions. The EU seen as a ‘global teacher’ (Adelman 2009, 170), therefore, refers to a notion of the Union spreading and exporting its models beyond the geographical boundaries of Europe. It presents a powerful image of the EU as an international actor, endorsed it with a special capability, a force that manifests a pedagogic potential for establishing its (external) relationships. Therefore, its power is not ‘deposited’ in its material capabilities for exerting physical strength, but rather it is to be found in its ability to structure/organise, (to shape) knowledge.
The main purpose of this paper is to examine the growth of European ideas circulating throughout the field of Latin American Higher Education (HE), as part of the Bologna Process. The objectives are focused on observing the fact that the Union is exerting an ideational power which can observe through the manifestation of a set of procedures, methods and tools that have contributed to the transformation of Chilean and Mexican HE. Europe is considered as a ‘model-maker’ or ‘model-offerer’ impacting on Latin American Higher Education (HE) from the ‘birth’ of universities and study centres here, whilst Latin America has been seen as a traditional ‘model-taker’. This phenomenon requires a rigorous analysis of European ideational factors present within Normative Power Europe (NPE), not only through a cluster of ideas, norms, principles and values but also through analysing language. Therefore I analyse such claims, focusing on Chile and Mexico, and argues that the impact of European influences upon received countries is mediated by domestic circumstances.
The article makes a contribution to both existing understanding of the European Union’s influence over Latin America and Latin American HE, and also seeks to advance upon existing debates around the notion of Normative Power Europe in particular, by illustrating how the NPE literature would benefit from a deeper consideration of the use of language and considering translation processes of receiver countries.
With an inductive approach for this research, i.e. from particular to general observations, the problem is described firstly through what was observed early in the case studies. However, it is fundamental to note here that this research goes beyond a simple case study, because this did not involve an in-depth, longitudinal (over a long period of time) examination of a single instance or event, i.e. of a case. Furthermore this investigation does not ‘rest’ only upon the analysis of cases considered as part of concrete data, but it also makes a theoretical contribution, opening up the debate on the EU as an ideational power rather than as a material force and, after all, on the processes of the receptiveness of this powers by non-European actors. This aspect is readily acknowledged because the area of research chosen, namely Higher Education (HE), deserves analysis within the ‘battlefield’ of ideas.