The Status Quo, Imponderables of Change, and Evaluation: Between Higher Education Policy and Academic Discourse


  • Dominik Chomik University of Gdansk
  • Helena Ostrowicka Kazimierz Wielki University



higher education reform, discourse analysis, post-Foucauldian analysis, academic discourse, problematization, media discourse, Poland


In this article, we discuss various issues regarding the contemporary reform of science and higher education in Poland, which are constructed and sustained by academics in media discourse. In the performed analyses we refer to the critical and post-Foucauldian studies on the discursive aspects of change in higher education. We propose that the connections between discursive factors, events and social changes be crystallized in the processes of their media problematization. In the space of public discourse and in the forms of the problematization of the reform of higher education, we sought the knowledge, concepts and classification rules that set the discursive framework of the change experienced by the academic community. The research has shown that this framework goes beyond the polarization of positions, that is, beyond the criticism or affirmation of neoliberal reforms. On the basis of the performed analyses we reconstructed three types of internally diversified and non-dichotomic discourses: the status quo discourse, the discourse of the imponderables of change, and the discourse of reform evaluation. Taking Poland as a case study, the article includes a discourse analysis formed at the national level in respect of the key objectives laid down at the European level.


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Author Biographies

Dominik Chomik, University of Gdansk

Dominik CHOMIK is assistant professor in the Department of Theory, History and Media Language at the University of Gdansk. He is a linguist. He is currently researching tabloids, the media image of the Catholic Church, ways of reporting mourning in the media, and analysis of the press discourse on higher education reform in Poland (research project funded by National Science Centre in Poland).

Helena Ostrowicka, Kazimierz Wielki University

Helena OSTROWICKA is associate professor in the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology and Chair of Research Methodology and Discourse Studies at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Her research interests focus on general and critical pedagogy, in particular on Foucauldian discourse analysis and the reception of Foucault's ideas in social research. She is the principal investigator of the research project on Governmentality of University—A Discursive Image of Contemporary Higher Education Reform in Poland, funded by National Science Centre in Poland.




How to Cite

Chomik, D., & Ostrowicka, H. (2019). The Status Quo, Imponderables of Change, and Evaluation: Between Higher Education Policy and Academic Discourse. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(1).



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