Progress report/ Raportare progres

PROGRESS REPORT NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2015

This is the summary of the report that covers the activity of Liviu Andreescu (project manager) and Viorel Proteasa (researcher CIII) during the first two months of the project.

Most of this time was covered by the completion of the contract that includes the familiarisation with the internal procedures of the host institution. This initial period was also dedicated to administrative activities (A5) necessary for the outset of the project, such as human resources, aquisitions and working procedures management.

Another important dimension of our activity during these months was the reviewing of the relevant literature (A1) focusing on the exploration of the main theoretical tendencies regarding representative organizations in Europe. Thus, we have investigated the literature available on the main online scientific data bases, accessible through the Anelis Plus portal, we have analysed different types of documents relevant for the theoretical dimension of the project, and we have explored the scientific community formed around the topic of student organisations in Europe.

PROGRESS REPORT FOR 2016

This stage of our research comprises the following objectives:

  • The development of the theoretical framework regarding student organisations
  • Choosing the case studies and identifying the relevant data sources, including the actors that are to be interviewed
  • The elaboration of the methodological framework and of the specific instruments
  • Training of the Phd. students in the research area concering the conceptual framework, the methods and the techniques applied in the research process
  • Collecting and systematizing data
  • Developing the conceptual framework regarding student organisations on the grounds of the data

The extent to which these objectives are met is described in the progress reports delivered at the end of 2016.

  1. The first report regards the conceptual framework, the methodology and the research instruments operationalized by the research team.

    After a period of accommodation with the administrative procedures of the host institution and the establishment of group working methods, a thorough review of the literature followed. Part of the result of these inquiries is the sketching of what we believe to be an innovative theoretical framework for the study of representative student organizations in Romania.

    In the process of identifying the theoretical notions suitable to the topic of our research and to our interests, we have looked into Philip Altbach’s work regarding student organisations and student collective action, and that of Thierry Luescher-Mamashela who builds upon it. We also investigated the work of Manja Klemencic focusing on agency in representative student organisations.

    Moreover, we have explored rational-choice institutionalism and theories of collective action such as that of Mancur Olson and that of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. Further on we have examined the usefulness of the political opportunity structure approach by looking at articles on the topic written by Dowoon Suh, Ruud Koopmans, Larry Bush, David Meyer and Debra Minkoff. Our inquiries also included a focus on a corporatist system of interest representation as that presented by Philippe Schmitter that could give us insight into the dynamics of the negotiations between student organisations and the government.

  2. The second report covers the collecting of archive documents, the performing of interviews and the analysis of all of this content.
    In the third phase of our research, the one which we currently find ourselves in, we initiated the collection of data such as newspaper articles, student organisations documents, legislative documents and so on. A thorough study of these documents followed, leading to the clarification of the socio-political context in which post-communist student organisations were established.

As our perspective lays a strong accent on agency, we began interviewing members of the academic community and leaders of the student organisations. The first interviews covered the critical moment of the regime change that took place in 1989-1990 and aim at investigating the transition from communist student organisations to the new ones. This transition is analysed by focusing on the relation between the political opportunity structure present at the time and the establishment and evolution of student organisations.

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