‘Education cleavages, or market society and the rise of authoritarian populism?’. By Susan L. Robertson & Matias Nestore

This paper explores how, in what ways, and with what outcomes, deep structural transformations have reconstituted higher education in England, and are deeply implicated in the rise of authoritarian populism. We focus particularly on the ways in which our understandings and lived experiences of class, social mobility, meritocracy, social inequality, and social justice have been transformed.

‘Higher education, violent modernities and the ‘global present’: the paradox of politics and new populist imaginaries in HE’. By Jo-Anne Dillabough

Higher Education (HE) constitutes a space that calls urgently for new understandings in the contemporary political moment. One way of establishing such an understanding is to consider more fully the work of political theorists in relation to questions of power in the modern nation-state, particularly as these impinge upon the key problem of the rise of populism in the twenty-first century. This paper argues that a productive conceptual approach is to be found in the recurring idea of political paradox in the political philosophy literature, an idea which is utilized to explore the role of conflicted national politics, moralising state practices, and scientific rationalities in reconfiguring the governing rationales of HE.

‘Cultural trauma and the politics of access to higher education in Syria’. By Zeina Al Azmeh, Joanne Dillabough, Olena Fimyar, Colleen McLaughlin, Shaher Abdullateef, Wissam Aldien Aloklah, Adnan Rashid Mamo, Abdul Hafiz Abdulhafiz, Samir Al Abdullah, Yasser Al Husien, Ammar Al Mohamad Al Ibrahim, Ziad Al Ibrahim, Taiseer Barmu, Abdulnasser Farzat & Bakry Kadan

This paper examines the relationship between the politics of Higher Education access pertaining to longstanding practices of patrimonial authoritarian politics and the narration of collective trauma. Building on an empirical study of Syrian HE during war, we suggest that a narrative disjuncture within HEIs has a damaging impact not only upon the educational process, HE reconstruction and reform, but also upon the possibility of social reconciliation.

‘Conflict, insecurity and the political economies of higher education: The case of Syria post-2011’. By Jo-Anne Dillabough, Olena Fimyar, Colleen McLaughlin, Zeina Al-Azmeh, Shaher Abdullateef & Musallam Abedtalas.

This paper stems from a 12-month collaborative enquiry between a group of Syrian academics in exile in Turkey and academics from the University of Cambridge into the state of Syrian Higher Education after the onset of the conflict in 2011. The purpose of this paper is to draw on 19 open-ended interviews with exiled Syrian academics; two focus groups; mapping and timeline exercises; and 117 interviews collected remotely by collaborating Syrian academics with former colleagues and students who were still living inside Syria at the time of data collection.