The Open Access version of this book, available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351017558, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Few institutions in modern society are as significant as universities, yet our historical and sociological understanding of the role of higher education has not been substantially updated for decades. By revisiting the emergence and transformation of higher education since 1800 using a novel processual approach, this book recognizes these developments as having been as central to constituting the modern world as the industrial and democratic revolutions. This new interpretation of the role of universities in contemporary society promises to re-orient our understanding of the importance of higher education in the past and future development of modern societies. It will therefore appeal to scholars of social science and history with interests in social history and social change, education, the professions and inequalities.

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chapter 2|41 pages

The systemic evolution of universities

Ben-David’s ‘centers of learning’ as world-systems analysis
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chapter 3|45 pages

The ideological organization of university systems

A theoretical framework
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chapter 4|21 pages

Paradoxes of the academization process

Foreign and classical language education since 1864
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chapter 5|10 pages

Women and higher education

Two ideas of equality in 19th-century Britain
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chapter 6|20 pages

‘Without any reason for being’

Interdisciplinarity at the 1904 World’s Fair
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chapter 7|8 pages


Reconstructing the academic profession
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