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date: 06 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the history of higher education in Europe by considering three intersected dimensions: the global, national, and local spaces or geography of higher education; the contours of the higher education system regarding access, participation, and institutional differentiation; and the cultural, political, social, and economic rationales driving its expansion. Four historical periods are considered: the emergence of the medieval universities and their spread in the feudal order; the demands posed to universities by nation-states and the Enlightenment during the early modern period; the impact of the political and industrial revolutions; and the crisis of mass higher education since 1918. Overall, articulation among the rationales, shapes, and spaces of higher education has changed periodically across history.

Keywords: access to education, Europe, higher education, massification, university, universities

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