Global liberal education: Theorizing emergence and variability
Liberal education as a form of higher education is increasing globally even as it struggles for support and legitimacy in the USA. Its emergence and spread are only partially attributable to the growth in the tertiary sector worldwide: although the sharpest spike has been in Asia, new programs have opened in Western Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Why now? Why in a particular locale? What forms do these programs take, and why? This article uses concepts from organizational theory to argue that such programs are decoupled from economic ‘needs’, challenging the predominant explanations for the global growth. Complexity theories explain the uneven expansion and variability in approach, and offer insights for replication and/or critique. This theoretical analysis allows insight into the interplay and explanatory power of isomorphism and complexity, and suggests that studies of convergence should assess not only the form, but also the processes and substance of educational innovations.
Research in Comparative and International Education
Boyle, Mary Ellen, "Global liberal education: Theorizing emergence and variability" (2019). School of Management. 140.