Buchbinder, Pablo – Historia de Las Universidades Argentinas. Cargado por Gaby DAscanio. Buchbinder, Pablo – Historia de Las Universidades Argentinas. CapĂ­tulos 7 y 8 del libro “Historia de las Universidades Argentinas” by gsound in Types > School Work y historia de las universidades. Historia de las universidades Argentinas (Spanish Edition) eBook: Pablo Buchbinder: : Kindle Store.

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The university experience and students’ narratives: This paper explores the characteristic modes of the university experience as perceived by students of Buenos Aires University in the early 21 st Century. In our times, the university experience appears as a significant object of historical research in a scenario where academic traditions are undergoing a crisis, while we witness social reconfiguration and a new type of insertion both in Argentinean public universities as in those of other countries.

From the narratives of students’ lives, a reconstruction of daily life in a university context enables us to have an insight into the new dynamics of the cultural process taking place in the institutions and to identify factors and phenomena that point to elements of continuity and discontinuity with reference to other historical periods.

I intend to explore the changes that took place in Argentina during intergenerational processes of the transmission of culture, particular in the middle classes, since it is mostly they that have felt the impact of downward social mobility, transformations in the educational system, and changes in the distribution and access to cultural goods. The middle classes, that used to be regarded as the representatives of a social tissue characterized by interrelation of classes and cultural upgrade through education have become both witnesses to and victims of the deterioration of identity models and of horizons and expectations that, on a secondary level, affect the whole of society.

The importance of education as a channel for promotion and social reproduction, its optimistic outlook, and its consumer capacity have been central to the identity of the middle classes since the 50s 3. Several of these issues are put into play within the space of public university. As an essential factor of the educational system understood in the wider sense of a cultural system, public universities grew during the 20 th Century. At present, they are repositories of cultural imaginaries, traditions, and ideals originated in different historical periods.

Relocated in a field of higher education that has opened alternative private elite universities for the upper-middle classes 5public universities serve mass education in a space notoriously marked by the changes undergone by the country’s social tissue.

Thus, they exhibit the intergenerational conviviality of the different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds of both students and lecturers. The fact that the university still gives rise to egalitarian expectations 6 amid a social scenario pervaded by major inequalities turns into attractive research material.

What is happening right now? Present students’ experience is permeated by temporalities that respond to different historical periods and spheres of social life concerning the family, the generation, education, politics, etc. For their part, students’ lives express the tensions typical of a historical period marked by instability and uncertainty.

Students’ experience may be approached from a threefold perspective. One can identify the various historical representations about university students, analyze some of the data reflecting students’ present situation, and explore life histories of university students.

In my view, students’ narratives about their own university experience gives access to unknown aspects of the present which, in turn, allow demystification of old representations as well as to embody the individuals. This implies prioritizing inquiry into subjective modes of appropriation 10 of the university as an institution, of education as a whole, and of the historical time. The narrative of university experience constitutes one way of problematizing the connections among education, history, and subjectivity that facilitates an understanding of the heterogeneous layers ofinstitutional life as experienced by different generations.

The possibility of reaching a narrative of experience 11 told by one of its paradigmatic actors fosters an approach to daily life, to ways of socialization, sensibility, affects, modes of selective tradition, and pedagogical and cultural learning processes in a context marked by forceful challenges to the effectiveness of public university and of the processes and transmission modes of culture in a broader sense.

It gives access to a narrative about institutions from a different perspective. Some historical representations about university students. An approach to the university experience involves broaching representations that have been laid down on the various studies published on this issue.

University students have particularly been constructed as such through a large part of the social theories and research studies carried out in the second half of the 20 th Century, alongside with the phenomenon of the worldwide expansion of universities and surveys into their specific dynamics and processes.

In the French production, and from dissimilar standpoints, Bourdieu and Passeron, in Los herederos. Los estudiantes y la cultura, and Michel De Certau in La toma de la palabra whose first part takes up a writing published in France in broach the subject of the university student, whether as representing a subjective position in the social structure or as a voice in a historical event such as the incidents of Mayunderstood as a symbolic revolution.

University students were studied in their capacity of representative samples of a socially privileged condition and as a product of university teaching and, as such, the repository of diverse mechanisms of social inequality rendered invisible by an ideology grounded on gift and merit. These theories posited that each generation had its own program, which was to be carried out through history, and that the juvenile spirit was essentially related to innovation.

From this standpoint, young students’ values were intertwined with their aspiration for a generational change. In such societies, although the students felt seduced by their teachers, they were regarded as bearers of cultural authority on the face of the confusion of the masses and the immigration societies.


In the tradition of Latin American Reformism, the representation of university students is related to the modern process of the construction of universities as well as to the avatars of the political processes that swept the continent. It has not lived long enough to become contaminated.

It does not err in its choice of teachers. These young people confronted politicians in order to draw their attention of the university as an institution, hounded by a crisis of authority and an anachronic regime. In argenrinas various sources that deal with the university situation in the 60s and 70s, the students’ experience is intertwined with a complex web of discourses focusing on the relation among university, society, and politics.

Other perspectives of the university experience were obliterated and ignored because of the political overdetermination typical of the times 16a trait that may be easily found in either literary works or nuiversidades about the period. In the representations of the 60s and 70s, the students’ experience remains associated to cultural change, political movements, and generational struggles The character of the period is the committed or militant student, and the corresponding discourse is filled with themes such as solidarity between workers and students.

Interpretations of political history draw genealogies that tend to buchbindr other possible readings that have not been contested, whether they have recovered the intellectual history of the university 18 or attempted to tell the history of its culture.

The representations of university students along different historical periods in the 20 th Century enable us to identify the close bond existing among the middle classes 19political involvement, and generational confrontation. The historical period going from the military dictatorship to our days requires disassembling of the totalizing nature of such representations, which persist as identity marks in some sectors of the student population, though hybridized by forceful phenomena like the cultural genocide perpetrated by the dictatorship, the destruction of the middle class, the deindustrialization of the country with the concomitant annihilation of the working classesand the transformations undergone by the political culture on the face of the crisis of the ideologies, the globalization scenario and the transnationalization of the economies.

In the last few decades of the 20 th Century, the students’ experience was more deeply permeated by heterogeneity and fragmentation.

This is supported by the Argentinean case, in which the rise in numbers was not accompanied by the corresponding budgetary increase depending on the State 21and the university modernization process that had begun in the 60s at Buenos Aires University was never completed.

Historia de Las Universidades Argentinas

From the argentinnas status to the University situation: A retrospective glance demands that we strip representations of the past from their epochal mystique. Looking back requires that we question the new configurations of the students’ experience, leaving aside the phantasmatic aura that attaches it to the political sphere. This does not imply denying the role of the past in the long term construction of political affiliations, but I am aiming at a new historical comprehension of the present insofar as it is also sheds light on the crises of certain political forms and beliefs.

A first step in this direction is to identify, in their experience, the impact of the deep transformations undergone by the Argentinean society and historai institutions in recent decades. The following data show a silhouette of the typical university student that does not in the least resemble certain representations established by institutional, faculty, or political discourses.

Many of the identity marks exhibited by Argentinean university students have faded after confrontation with data that show social descent, a lack of interest in politics, and the fact that a large number of students have full-time jobs. According to data gathered inthe Argentinean University system is composed of university institutions, 45 of which are State-run unniversidades the remaining 55, private.

As recorded in the University Statistics Yearbooks of ,as Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology 24the number of university students doubled over the past decade. Inthe total number of students was 1, In1, students attended national universities.

While there has been a remarkable increase in the number of university students and in the number of those attending State-run universities, the Yearbooks also highlighted the aargentinas levels of attrition, for they recorded that almost half of the students registered drop out in their first year of studies.

Historia de Las Universidades Argentinas : Pablo Buchbinder :

The number of graduates is also low: The Yearbooks also emphasize the gender issue. A comparative glance at the Students’ Census of Buenos Aires University shows that the rate of growth keeps increasing.

The most significant leap in numbers occurred in By then, the number of undergraduate students had risen by This was the most striking increase after the 80s, when the rise in registration was due to the restoration of democracy and the end of restrictions to entrance. Besides the national data about the lengthening in the duration of undergraduate studies, the UBA Census reported an increase in the students’ average age.

Then, the average student was an unmarried female aged 25 or less, living and working in the City of Buenos Aires and coming from a private High School. The Census also showed similar percentages for students who paid for their studies with their own income or salaries and financial aid from their families. The Students’ Census conducted in had already shown changes in students’ social provenance: The Census also showed that, in agreement with the preceding item, six out of ten students are employed.

This is a high percentage, amounting to More students were engaged in full-time jobs between 26 and 45 hours per week and fewer students held part-time jobs.

Then, taking into account the data provided by the latest census, an average UBA student is an employed, middle-aged part-time student who depends on financial aid from the family, and whose parents, for the most part, had access to higher studies. Different specialists agree that, at present, socioeconomic indicators for those who access higher studies are lower than they were in the last twenty years and that the socioeconomic profile of students is undergoing a transitional stage.


If we make a joint reading of the above with the poverty data, according to which Regarding the students’ situation, the negative incidence of the economic changes undergone by our society can be seen from phenomena like university students’ malnutrition as recorded in the chronicles of and 28the early age at which university students enter the labor market because their parents’ income has decreased, and the fact that, owing to the impossibility of supporting themselves, students live in the family home for longer than should be expected.

We can easily assume that such social conditions leave contradictory marks in the relation between students and politics. Recent studies point out that the crisis of political representation makes a dramatic impact on students 29 and that students’ participation in university politics is fragmentary, sporadic, and conjunctural The close association between students and politics that occupied the first place as the key to interpreting the history of students’ movements starting from the plus of politicity seen particularly in the history of Latin American universities 31 must be revisited, since the complexities involved in maintaining university activity, added to the fact that the institutional situation itself claims for more political participation, make it difficult to sustain the said association.

This provides a good reason to make further attempts at understanding the students’ daily lives. In Argentina, students’ lives are pervaded by the shocking socioeconomic and political discontinuity and instability of the past two decades as well as by the globalization scenario, which has greatly contributed to the rise of unemployment and to the reshaping of the professional sphere.

According to the cited Yearbook, the courses of studies in the Humanities that grew the most between and were Arts, Education, Philosophy, History, Letters, and Psychology The second growth rate was recorded in the School of Engineering, and the number of students in the School of Philosophy and Letters rose by The increasing interest in the Humanities and Social Sciences seems to express not only that the mentioned fields of knowledge seemed to have gained greater recognition but also the particular blend yielded by the erosion of the productive system, the lack of expectations regarding employment in the field of basic sciences in the 90s, and the greater freedom to follow individual vocational callings on the face of generalized uncertainty.

The above data, collected from various sources and surveys, picture university students in a different light. The new vision calls into question the issues of the limitations age, social condition, etc. An examination of university life in our days as seen from the students’ standpoint implies an approach to the ongoing construction of identities rather than to the outcomes of fixed, unchanging, and established positions within the institutions. Identities are constructed from representations and rise from the narrative processes of the I.

This entails putting into play the disaggregation of identities, and to enter in a discussion with certain general characterizations of individuals and educational institutions that are a part of political-university discourses, without losing sight of the fact that every political discourse starts from a totalizingperspective with rhetorical components.

Such a narrative should put into play the biographical and the autobiographical scope of university life 33 while acknowledging its fictional nature, 33 and its inherent expectations, ideals, and ideologies.

A history of the present takes shape starting from the narrations of students’ experiences, in which one may identify the marks of the past with their corresponding present reinterpretations, the combination between old, persisting institutional mechanisms and the rise of new situations, the generation of differences in the generational chain that links students and lecturers, and the new forms of signification and appropriation of cultural goods, both from institutions and from earlier generationsetc.

The Higher Education System in Argentina. Networks, Genealogies and Conflicts

Such a narrative will invariably lead to the construction of a fresh look into what is already known: How to narrate students’ experiences? I shall now quote interpretations of the material collected during interviews to groups of students close to graduating from various courses of studies at the Schools of Philosophy and Letters and Social Sciences in Buenos Aires University. It is worth noting that registration has increased in the said Schools, while their budgets have been frozen and their fields of knowledge have undergone serious curricular changes over the past decades.

During the interviews, special emphasis was made on the reconstruction of a formative cycle, and the students favored both recalling strategies as an overall reflection on the university experience. I Aggentinas to the university which in the case of Buenos Aires University involves passing the subjects that composed the Common Basic Cycle [CBC], is viewed as a true initiation ritual. Students bcuhbinder not just enter an unknown world: They remember pooling strategies and collaborative techniques among peers in order to move about a world that they perceived as hostile.

Newly arrived students, they say, are not formally received by the institution. The first year is also perceived as bearing a public logic that differs from the logic upheld by the private schools from where most of the interviewees had obtained their High School Certificates