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Christian Baier, Dr. rer. pol.


Transnationalization and Europeanization in the academic field

Academic fields, which traditionally have been structured in the framework of specific nation-states, have undergone massive reforms in recent years. One type of reform attempts to restructure academic administration and governance according to a new paradigm – New Public Management (NPM) – which introduces various forms of marketization and increases competition across all levels of the academic field. This new paradigm, which developed in the 1980s in the Anglo-Saxon world and is most strongly implemented in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US, gains more and more popularity in countries with widely different academic traditions and institutions and thus contributes to a transnational standardization of academic institutions and practices. I am especially interested in the effect of this kind of reform on the distribution of academic prestige (Münch & Baier 2012), the power relations between universities (Baier & Schmitz 2011) and on academic career trajectories (Baier & Münch 2013).
Another recent area of interest is the Europeanization of academic fields, which has taken on a new quality with the advent of the European Research Council (ERC), which was established 2012 and is the first transnational research funding body led by scientists. With its focus on “excellence” and competition, the ERC can be seen as yet another manifestation of the same wave of neoliberal reforms in the academic world. However, the effects of transnationalization generated by the ERC are much stronger and broader than with NPM, because the ERC seeks to enable “excellent” scientist to transcend the context of their national academic field, which, according to ERC policy, is inefficient and a potential hindrance to the evolution of scientific knowledge. The ERC seeks to establish a transnational academic field centered in Europe, where the traditional differences that structure the academic world – differences between national academic institutions, as well as between disciplines and applied and basic science – are abolished in order to enable “European science” to compete in a global market. Together with Nilgun Massih-Tehrani and Vincent Gengnagel, we examined ERC research policy as a specific form of Europeanization from above, targeted towards academic elites (Gengnagel & Massih-Tehrani & Baier 2016) and the effects of ERC funding on the competition between German universities and on the careers of German grant recipients (Baier & Massih-Tehrani 2016).
Because these reforms take place at the intersection between academic, bureaucratic and political fields, and because they attempt to transnationalize academic fields in various ways,  the study of these reforms and their effects should be of interest not only for the sociology of science, but also for a political sociology of transnational fields.


2003 bis 2009 Studium der Soziologie an der Universität Bamberg. Ab 2006 Hilfskraft, ab 2009 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Lehrstuhl für Soziologie II (Richard Münch). Seit 2012 Mitarbeiter im DFG-Projekt „Europäisierung des Hochschulraums“ an der Universität Bamberg und ab 2015 an der ZU Friedrichshafen. Daneben Lehrtätigkeit im Bereich soziologische Theorie und komparative Makrosoziologie an der Universität Bamberg.


Wissenschaftssoziologie, Feldtheorie, Relationale Methoden


  • Baier, Christian; Schmitz, Andreas (2011): Organisationen als Akteure in sozialen Feldern - Eine Modellierungsstrategie am Beispiel deutscher Hochschulen. In: Stefan Bernhard und Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg (Hg.): Feldanalyse als Forschungsprogramm, Band 1. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 191–220.
  • Baier, Christian; Münch, Richard (2013): Institutioneller Wettbewerb und Karrierechancen von Nachwuchswissenschaftlern in der Chemie. In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 65 (1), 129-155
  • Münch, Richard; Baier, Christian (2012): Institutional Struggles for Recognition in the Academic Field: The Case of University Departments in German Chemistry. In: Minerva 50 (1), 97-126.
  • Massih-Tehrani, Nilgun; Baier, Christian; Gengnagel, Vincent (2015): EU-Forschungsförderung im deutschen Hochschulraum: Universitäten zwischen Wissensökonomie und akademischer Selbstbestimmung. In: Soziale Welt 66 (1), 54-74.
  • Gengnagel, Vincent; Massih-Tehrani, Nilgun; Baier, Christian (2016): Der European Research Council als Ordnungsanspruch des europäischen Projekts im akademischen Feld. In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Sonderheft Horizontale Europäisierung (im Erscheinen).
  • Baier, Christian; Nilgun Massih-Tehrani (2016): Europäisierung der Wissenschaft: Auswirkungen der EU-Forschungsförderung auf das universitäre Karrieresystem in Deutschland. In: Nina Baur et al. (Hg.): Wissen. Organisation. Forschungspraxis. (im Erscheinen).