From the fall of the «junta» to «Change»: the «timid» transition of higher education in Greece (1974-1982)

Vangelis Karamanolakis


This paper focuses on Greek higher education and the transition from dictatorship to democracy, between the fall of the junta in 1974 and the ascent to power of the socialist government of Andreas Papandreou in 1981. It analyzes the developments, recording them in the history of tertiary education in Greece and considering them in the context of the political and social conjuncture. Main sources for writing this article were legal provisions, the press and the few relevant studies that deal with the topic. The basic working hypothesis of the paper is that the fall of the dictatorship and the participation of the student movement in the fight against the dictatorship unleashed forces within university institutions –that had already acquired a mass character since the 1960s– which claimed a more substantial role in their administration and operation. The purging of academic staff of junta elements provided an initial sample of this change. The challenging of university hierarchies, the quest for equality and democratization, and the dissolution of hitherto «sacrosanct» areas were demands put forward both by the student movement and auxiliary teaching staff, which faced the hostility of professors and the suspicion of executive power. The organized, unprecedented in intensity and methods and successful response of the bodies that claimed a new role vis-à-vis the government’s attempt to discipline the students and meet only a part of the demands of auxiliary staff were good indications of events and, at the same time, laid the groundwork for the important changes that would be effected in the following decade by a new political authority.

How to reference this article

Karamanolakis, V. (2015). From the fall of the «junta» to «Change»: the «timid» transition of higher education in Greece (1974-1982). Espacio, Tiempo y Educación, 2(2), 33-48. doi:


Greece; university; transition; democracy; student movement; university staff

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