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ERIC Number: EJ915226
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-1478-2103
Interrogating the University as an Engine of Capitalism: Neoliberalism and Academic "Raison D'etat"
Davidson-Harden, Adam
Policy Futures in Education, v8 n5 p575-587 2010
In the era of knowledge capitalism, universities are consistently regarded as potential "engines" of capital accumulation and state prosperity. This article will argue that as regards their teaching and research functions--but with specific attention to the research function--universities can be seen to be enacting a type of neoliberal discourse/discursive practice that corresponds to the particular notion of "raison d'etat" raised by Foucault in his 1978-79 College de France lectures on neoliberalism. The positioning of monetary accumulation and expansion in the rawest sense as the ultimate desirable goal of universities serves to enact the type of "limitation of self-regulation" which Foucault describes as a function of the (new) liberal state, conditioned as it is to build itself, and condition all of its behaviour, on the principal goal of economic growth and accumulation, enacting a form of neoliberal governmentality, in Foucault's (and others') terms. Subsequently, a neoliberal conception of science as necessarily wedded to a narrow instrumental-economic idea of technology continues to animate public discourse both at the government and university levels, resulting in a complex--and at times contested--political terrain which revolves around a particular economic regime of truth predicated in growth and accumulation before any other consideration. In this context, universities must grow and expand, but particularly in the ways that are demanded by the particular regime of truth which is hegemonic at the time, which revolve around what is understood here as the neoliberal discourse of knowledge capitalism. This argument is offered with the example of Canada in mind in particular, but with cognizance of related trends active in other countries impacted by the "knowledge economy" discourse in the OECD group of countries, for instance, and beyond. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada