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Academic Elites in Switzerland 1910-2000: Between Autonomy and Power

English title Academic Elites in Switzerland 1910-2000: Between Autonomy and Power
Applicant Bühlmann Felix
Number 143202
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fondation FORS Bâtiment Geopolis Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences - FORS
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.05.2013 - 31.07.2017
Approved amount 342'800.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Sociology
Swiss history
Political science

Keywords (4)

Academic Elites; Academic Field; Networks; Careers

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

This research project aims to understand the evolution of the Swiss academic elites in the 20th century. During this period the modern university became increasingly autonomous, grew in terms of number of students and staff, specialised more and more in research, came under managerialist pressures, experienced an internationalisation and saw its staff being feminized. Informed by these developments our project will address the two following research questions:

1)      Which are the resources typically owned by the academic elite, the processes of acquisition of these resources and their distribution within the academic field.

2)      What are the relations of academic elites to other fields (political, economic, and administrative) and how have these relations evolved during the 20th century?

To address these two points of inquiry we will draw on a historical sample of Swiss university professors. Building on an already existing data base on economic, political and administrative elites, at five benchmarks (1910, 1937, 1957, 1980 and 2000) we will collect data on relevant resources of all full professors: scientific reputation, institutional positions, social networks, international experiences and educational credentials. On a first level this will allow us to identify the general evolution of relevant resources and their distribution within the field of academic elites. On a second level we will collect more detailed data for three power related disciplines: engineering, law and economics.

These two data sets will analysed by an innovative combination of methods: a network analysis of participation in relevant meeting places (extra-parliamentary commissions, boards of directors, economic interest associations) will allow us to study the formal links of academic disciplines to politics, business and the administration. Sequence analysis will be used to scrutinize academic careers, the connections to other fields of power these careers create and the varying degree of internationality of academic trajectories. Finally, multiple correspondence analysis will allow us to understand the distribution of resources and draw a picture of the structures of the academic field.

For the first time in Switzerland, this project focussing on academic elites will overcome the particularistic studies of single universities or scientific disciplines. Second, its coverage of the whole 20th century will allow us to understand the evolution of the academic elite in the “long durée” and overcome the limitations of narrowly focused case studies. Third, we will be able to link the academic elite to leading actors in the political, administrative and economic sphere and thus to better contextualise the development of this group.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Rise of Professors of Economics and Business Studies in Switzerland: Between Scientific Reputation and Political Power
Rossier Thierry, Bühlmann Felix, Mach André (2017), The Rise of Professors of Economics and Business Studies in Switzerland: Between Scientific Reputation and Political Power, in European Journal of Sociology, 58(2), 295-326.
Internationalisation des élites académiques suisses au 20ème siècle : convergences et contrastes
Rossier Thierry, Beetschen Marion, Mach André, Bühlmann Felix (2015), Internationalisation des élites académiques suisses au 20ème siècle : convergences et contrastes, in Cahiers de la recherche sur l'éducation et les savoirs, 14, 119-149.
Mapping the Power of Law Professors: the Role of Scientific and Social Capital
Bühlmann Felix, Benz Pierre, Mach André, Rossier Thierry, Mapping the Power of Law Professors: the Role of Scientific and Social Capital, in Minerva.
The Elite Placement Power of Professors of Law and Economic Sciences
Bühlmann Felix, Benz Pierre, Rossier Thierry, The Elite Placement Power of Professors of Law and Economic Sciences, in Bühlmann Felix, Savage Mike, Korsnes Olav, Heilbron Johan, Hjellbrekke Johs (ed.).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Frédéric Lebaron, Université de Picardie-Jules Verne, Amiens France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Digital Humanities 2017 Talk given at a conference Complex Network Visualisation for the History of Interdisciplinarity: Mapping 40 years of Science Funding in Switzerland 08.08.2017 Montreal, Canada Rossier Thierry; Benz Pierre;
7th French Sociological Association Congress Talk given at a conference Academic Elites and Disciplinary Boundaries. Interdisciplinary Collaborations and Scientific Power in Natural Sciences 03.07.2017 Amiens, France Benz Pierre; Rossier Thierry;
Journée d'étude: Trajectoires et dynamiques des réseaux : approches quantitatives Talk given at a conference Carrières et réseaux scientifiques : le cas des professeurs en sciences naturelles en Suisse 11.05.2017 Lyon, France Benz Pierre; Bühlmann Felix; Rossier Thierry;
28th Annual Conference of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy Talk given at a conference The Scientific Prestige of Professors of Economics and Business: Do International and Local Resources matter? 03.11.2016 Manchester, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bühlmann Felix; Rossier Thierry;
6th French Sociological Association Congress Talk given at a conference Les professeurs de sciences économiques: une élite « naturelle » du champ académique? 29.06.2016 Versailles, France Rossier Thierry;
Journée suisse d'histoire Talk given at a conference L’élite de la politique scientifique en Suisse 1940-2000 09.06.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Rossier Thierry; Bühlmann Felix; Mach André;
NOS-HS exploratory workshop Talk given at a conference Law professors as power brokers between elite fractions 06.06.2016 Uppsala, Sweden Bühlmann Felix;
Conference Changing Elites in Europe Talk given at a conference The Elite Placement Power of Professors of Law and Economic Sciences 26.11.2015 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bühlmann Felix; Rossier Thierry; Benz Pierre;
The Social Sciences since 1945 in East and West: Continuities, Discontinuities, Institutionalization and Internationalization Talk given at a conference Economics and Business Professors in the Swiss Academic Field since 1945: from Marginal to Central Actors 27.04.2015 Budapest, Hungary Rossier Thierry;
4th “Atelier Héloïse. L’histoire et les bases des données des universités en Europe Talk given at a conference Swiss Law Professors: the connections between academic, political, legal and economic fields (20th Century) 03.11.2014 Bern, Switzerland Piguet Steven; Rossier Thierry; Bühlmann Felix; Mach André;
Transnational Capital and Transformation of the Elites Talk given at a conference Cosmopolitan Capital and Adademic Elites 04.06.2014 Paris, France Rossier Thierry; Bühlmann Felix; Beetschen Marion;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Journées d'études QUI GOUVERNE LES SCIENCES ? ACTEURS, INSTITUTIONS ET POUVOIR 08.06.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland
Conference Changing Elites in Europe 26.11.2015 London School of Economics, London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Tagung der SchulleiterInnen der Sekundarstufe II des Kantons Bern, 4. November 2016, Magglingen Talk 04.11.2016 Magglingen, Switzerland


Abstract

1.Summary of the Research PlanThis research project aims to understand the evolution of the Swiss academic elites in the 20th century. During this period the modern university became increasingly autonomous, grew in terms of number of students and staff, specialised more and more in research, came under managerialist pressures, experienced a (re)-internationalisation and saw its staff being feminized. These changes have a) profoundly modified the power resources and the structure within the academic field and b) altered its relations to its environment such as the political, the administrative or the economic field. Informed by these developments our project will address the two following research questions: 1)We seek to elucidate the historical evolution of the resources (or capitals) typically owned by the academic elite, the processes of acquisition of these capitals and their distribution within the academic field. What types and combinations of scientific, institutional or social capital do the Swiss academic elites hold at different moments in time? Through which processes of inheritance, educational trajectories and professional careers do they acquire these resources? And how are these resources distributed among the disciplines within the academic field?2)What are the relations of academic elites to other fields (political, economic, and administrative) and how have these relations evolved during the 20th century? Our aim is to understand which fractions of the academic field develop linkages to other fields of power, which forms of interaction (networks, multi-positionality and field-connecting careers) these groups are using and what these connections mean for the autonomy of the academic field. To address these two points of inquiry we will draw on a historical sample of Swiss university professors. Building on an already existing data base on economic, political and administrative elites, at five benchmarks (1910, 1937, 1957, 1980 and 2000) we will collect data on relevant capitals of all full professors: scientific capital, institutional capital, social capital, cosmopolitan capital, economic capital and cultural capital. On a first level this will allow us to identify the general evolution of relevant resources and their distribution within the field of academic elites. On a second level we will collect more detailed data for three power related disciplines: engineering, law and economics. These two data sets will be integrated into the above-mentioned data base on Swiss elites and analysed by an innovative combination of methods: a network analysis of participation in relevant meeting places (extra-parliamentary commissions, boards of directors, economic interest associations) will allow us to study the formal links of academic disciplines to politics, business and the administration. Sequence analysis will be used to scrutinize academic careers, the connections to other fields of power these careers create and the varying degree of internationality of academic trajectories. Finally multiple correspondence analysis will allow us to understand the distribution of capitals and draw a picture of the structures and fractions of the academic field. For the first time in Switzerland, this project focussing on academic elites will overcome the particularistic studies of single universities or scientific disciplines. Second, its coverage of the whole 20th century will allow us to understand the evolution of the academic elite in the “long durée” and overcome the limitations of narrowly focused case studies. Third, we will be able to link the academic elite to leading actors in the political, administrative and economic sphere and thus to better contextualise the development of this group. Finally, we will contribute to the advancement of elite research through an interdisciplinary approach and an innovative combination of methods.
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