Kvalitet på den politiske agenda: En undersøgelse af kommunikationen om kvalitet på universitetsuddannelserne

Anne Koefoed Ravn & Sofie Emilie Wilms

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the spring of 2013 the Danish Minister for Research, Innovation and Higher Education, Morten Østergaard, announced the need of a new quality reform with the aim to advance the level of quality among higher educations in Denmark. Doing so, he and the ministry have opened a public debate on the content and concept of quality. Taking a glans at the debate during the past six months reveals that different and conflicting notions of quality are present. Hence, there seems to be no collective agreement among the interest groups in the debate regarding what is perceived as quality among higher educations. The objective of the thesis is to analyse the communication of quality on the universities in the context of an upcoming quality reform. Accordingly, we don’t analyse the communication regarding higher education as a whole, but narrow our field of research to quality on the universities. In the thesis Niklas Luhmann and Ernesto Lalcau are used as the theoretical foundation of the study. By using Niklas Luhmann we apply a systems theoretical approach, which implies that we observe everything as communication and that the observed field only emerges as a result of a specific distinction made by us as the observers. Laclau adds to the thesis an understanding of the conflict between contrary discursive understandings of quality. The thesis is divided in three analyses. In the first part, we observe how quality emerges in the communication, including which logics are present and associated to the notion of quality. Here we find that different and conflicting understandings of quality are present. In the second part, we observe how the present systems in the communication seek to manage the different perceptions of quality on the universities, including how both the students and the universities are recognised as qualified in the communication. Here we find that both the universities and the students are forced to navigate among different and conflicting perceptions of quality, in order for them to be recognised by their surroundings as qualified. In the last part of the thesis we use Laclau to analyse our field of research with a perspective on conflicts. Here we find that two discourses are present; an economic discourse and a discourse, that seek to fight against the economic perceptions of quality.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages139