The Bolivarian University of Venezuela: A revolutionary university in the global field of higher education?

January 31, 2012 - 17:20 - 18:45
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Event type: 
Event audience: 

This presentation offers a reflection on the paradoxes of the global field of higher education as observed at an alternative model of university – the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) and the related higher education program Mision Sucre. Drawing on ethnographic field research ongoing since 2008, the presentation outlines the different contexts in and against which this new university exists. It presents the difficulties, which the global trends and some local specifics in the higher education field present to the legitimacy of an alternative mass university. It also shows the ways in which the Latin American public university model, in general, and UBV, in specific, challenge the hegemony of the globally accepted market-driven research-oriented elite model of higher education.


Mariya Ivancheva holds a BA degree in Philosophy (University of Sofia), an MA in European social theory (UCL), and an MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from CEU, where she continued her PhD studies. Since 2008 she has done extensive field research in Venezuela, sponsored by the Marie Curie Doctoral School for Social Anthropology, and the Wenner Grenn Foundation. Her main interests are in the fields of anthropology of the state, social movement studies, theories of intellectuals and elites, and alternative models of development and social change, which all come together at an experimental site as the Bolivarian Univeristy of Venezuela.