THEDIFFERENTIATION OF RUSSIAN UNIVERSITIES IN THE CONDITIONS OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

  • The authors:
    Elena V. Strogetskaya
    Vladimir P. Miletskiy
    Irina B. Betiger
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 298-305
  • Section: CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY AND EDUCATION
  • URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/298-305/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09669-2019-298-305

Abstract. The problem of сontemporary universities development is
complicated, on the one hand, due to inability to respond to modern
challenges of classical university models, on the other hand, due to the
instability of new university models. It is also extremely acute in today’s
Russia. Permanent education system reform, which began in 1987, with
more or less intensity is still ongoing. The more paradoxical and dramatic is
the fact that the current state of this sphere is still qualified by experts as an
acute crisis of higher education.
The starting hypothesis of the research is the assumption that Russian higher
education is experiencing the institutional crisis and possibility and direction
of development of universities depends on its depth. As the study objectives
were chosen:
1) analysis of the current situation in Russian higher education in terms of
possibility of its definition as an institutional crisis;
2) depth estimation of the crisis phenomena and identification of differences
in adaptation strategies of universities;
3) analysis of educational field structure in terms of level of overcoming the
institutional crisis by universities and their differentiation on this basis.
The assessment of the situation in Russian higher education in the present
study was given on the basis of two methodological models:
• model of “crisis of the Institute of education” by Manfred Furman;
• model institutional crisis by Pitirim Sorokin.
Application of the M. Furman model gives grounds to state the existence of
the institutional crisis of modern higher education in Russia. At the same
time, it is difficult to make conclusions without drawing attention to the fact
that the mortality of Russian universities – as a key sign of the institutional
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DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-298-305
crisis by Furman – is largely “artificial”. The decision of power but not the
refusal of society from a particular university, expressed primarily in the
absence of students, was the reason for the termination of educational
institutions. To explain this contradiction, we turned to the model of the
institutional crisis by P. Sorokin.
As a result of the application of two models of the institutional crisis, the
initial hypothesis of the study was confirmed. However, it is obvious that
the crisis does not reach its peak in the form of complete degeneration as a
social institution. The current crisis of the Russian higher school rather leads
to the redistribution of usual institutional functions, which is caused by
different initial conditions, adaptation strategies and integration practices of
universities.
Сrisis coping strategies differentiate universities. Among the groups formed
during the crisis, the research interest was represented by “outsider” group
of universities, “recognized” universities and universities – “hidden leaders”.
“Outsiders” get their name in connection with the discontent or indifference
shown in their attitude by the state and employers, which indicates a low
level of overcoming the institutional crisis. “Recognized” universities to the
greatest extent, showing positive signs of getting a high agreed valuation of
virtually all interested groups. A special place in the crisis structure is
occupied by universities – “hidden leaders”. Against the background of lack
of choice of these universities by the state, they demonstrate great and
steady success with employers and university entrants.
Research prospects of models of overcoming of institutional crisis by
Russian higher education institutions are connected with the comparative
analysis of changes in formal and informal structures, and also university
corporate cultures of the described groups. Among the social
transformations, the ones that require the most attention are those whose
consequences lead to an increase in the viability of university. It can be
assumed that the differences found in the actual implementation of the
adaptation strategies of universities, which are most successful in
overcoming the crisis, and the integration practices of these university
communities are social guidelines for the development of higher education
in Russia as a whole.
Keywords: Contemporary University, Higher Education Institutional Crisis,
Coping Strategies for Universities, Differentiation of Universities,
University Corporate Cultures

Elena V. Strogetskaya1, Vladimir P. Miletskiy2, Irina B. Betiger3
1
St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”, Department of
Sociology and Political Science, e-mail: avs1973@list.ru
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5304-2613
2
Saint Petersburg State University, Department of sociology of the political
and social processes; St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”,
Department of Sociology and Political Science, e-mail: falesm@mail.ru
3
St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”, Service of the
sociological and psychological support of the educational process,
e-mail: bib1973@yandex.ru

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