„What is especially evident is that in the aftermath of World War I, this secular institution, the University, regularly found itself in a position to redefine its mission. As these redefinitions were seldom followed through, one can see why the University often drifted away from its mission.
One may ask, for instance, to what extent did the development of certain fields of study (or lack thereof) – inevitably bound to the ideological context – influenced the modernization of society or, on the contrary, widened the social gaps? Furthermore, what were the economic and political interests which determined the adoption of certain laws of higher education? And to what extent were these laws obeyed or bypassed? On the other hand, student movements and organizations deserve a more thorough analysis, all the more so as their activities and ideologies have turned out to transcend the simplistic left vs. right dichotomy which has dominated previous research on the topic. In addition, one cannot ignore the relations between the University and other organizations or institutions (student associations, political parties, social movements, governments, churches or the Crown) or the double identities of academic – politician / cleric / high dignitary etc. Last but not least, the development of extra-university research structures in the wake of non-functional institutions of higher education is an extremely interesting topic.
These issues can only be solved by deploying diverse methods and perspectives that combine history with anthropology, sociology, oral history and gender studies in a way that highlights the everyday realities of university life in the region and that allows the positioning of the topic in a concrete social and cultural field. This is what the current volume aims to achieve.”