Accreditation and Power - A discourse analysis of a new regime of governance in higher education
Journal article, Peer reviewed
This is an electronic version of an article published in scandinavian journal of educational research; i first. scandinavian journal of educational research is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/. original article is available at u r l: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2011.599419
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Original versionEngebretsen, E., Heggen & Eilertsen, H. (2011). Accreditation and power : a discourse analysis of a new regime of governance in higher education. Scandinavian journal of educational research. iFirst http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2011.599419
This article studies discourses within the accreditation of Norwegian higher education conducted by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), using one concrete case (the accreditation of bachelor programs in nursing). Analysis of policy documents and accreditation reports are influenced by two of Foucault’s concepts of power; governmentality and panopticon. The analysis provides insights into firstly, how the two forms of power are woven into the schemes used for quality control by redefining quality to be a quantifiable concept; secondly, how the supervision of quality gives privilege to specific types of knowledge; thirdly, how supervisory power is reformulated to require self-control mechanisms within higher education in terms of constant quality development and realization of unexploited potentials; and fourthly, how this power legitimates itself by making all parties guardians of quality control, deconstructing the difference between evaluator and evaluated.