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Social Evolution or Social Ruin? Universities and Elite Formation in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Period: May 2012 - May 2013
Deadline for submitting abstracts
: May 30, 2012

Theme of the Project

This project seeks to assemble contributions in the form of chapters that will create a larger text on the topic of education and elite formation in the wider East European region. Since 1989 the countries in transition have taken innovative paths in catching up the educational developments of the European Union. Here numerous challenges have emerged, from the question in which fields highly qualified graduates are most needed, to whether graduates stay in their country after their studies or migrate abroad.

These challenges are not new, but have been relevant since the emergence of modern academia in the 19th century. It is thus only appropriate to take a look back and to explore these questions in a historical perspective, considering the period from the late 19th century until today.

Eligible topics for the Project


  • What have been the processes through which elites have been formed in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe over the past 150 years?
  • How central is the formation of elites to the respective state and society and which resources have been made available at different historical periods?
  • Which role have universities and other institutions of higher education taken, and what significance have Academies of Sciences and Arts had in creating an elite?
  • How has the interrelationship between political elites and universities changed across time in different political systems with divergent ideological orientations?
  • Are there success stories? If not, why not?
  • What, if at all, are the particularities of these phenomena in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe?
  • What have been the consequences of cross-border university education for elite formation?

There are two types of papers
1: Longer chapters with a broad perspective on the above questions, in particular from a comparative perspective (20-25 pages);
2: Shorter chapters on particular case studies based on the above mentioned questions (ca. 10 pages).

Guidelines for submission

All those interested contributing to the project are invited to submit their proposal in German or English by 31st May. The submission must include the following:
* Academic details of the author
* Email and contact information
* Title of the proposed paper and abstract (at least 300 words).

All submissions should be sent to: and


Information & contacts

Harald Heppner, Florian Bieber

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