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Edward Moxon-Browne

Abstract

The fortunes of European Studies in Irish universities have tended to reflect the experience of Ireland as a member-state of the EU. At the outset, the need to prepare graduates for careers in EU institutions and more broadly for occupations directly affected by the EU such as law, banking, business, farming and tourism, was met a by wide range of courses in most Irish universities. These had a strong vocational flavour and were supported by EU-funded schemes such as Tempus, Erasmus and, later, Jean Monnet, all of which stimulated transnational mobility and subsequent standardisation of curricula by the adoption of credit transfers ECTS) under the Bologna process. In all these developments Ireland punched above its weight in a context where the country was basking in an economic success largely attributable to trade and inwards investment. More recently, and especially since the demise of the Celtic Tiger, public opinion has been more circumspect. This was evident in some negative referendum results and, more recently, by the management of the economy, by a 'troika' of external agencies. Today, European studies programmes have been the victims of tighter budgets, and 'cannibalised' by their constituent disciplines so that the label 'European Studies' is reduced to a fig leaf barely concealing the underlying fragmentation into traditional mono-disciplinary degrees.

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Keywords
Irish universities
Section
Teaching, Learning and the Profession
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