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ERIC Number: EJ995030
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
Academic Dystopia: Knowledge, Performativity, and Tertiary Education
Roberts, Peter
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v35 n1 p27-43 2013
Jean-Francois Lyotard's classic work, "The Postmodern Condition," was first published in 1979 and has been available in English translation since 1984 (Lyotard 1984). Intended as a "report on knowledge," "The Postmodern Condition" has gained a wide readership among critical policy analysts with an interest in universities and research. Lyotard identifies fundamental shifts in conceptions of the nature, function, and status of knowledge that would become clearly evident both within and beyond the confines of the academy. Lyotard did not frame his work in terms of the organizing themes of utopia or dystopia, but "The Postmodern Condition" lends itself readily to analysis from such a perspective. With so much having been written about Lyotard, and "The Postmodern Condition" in particular, it can be helpful to focus on a quite specific context as a means for making some broader theoretical observations. In this article, the author examines developments in tertiary education and research policy in New Zealand, paying particular attention to the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) as an example of performativity, competition, and the commodification of knowledge in action. He argues that the trends evident in changes under the PBRF constitute a form of academic dystopia. The article begins with an overview of Lyotard's position on knowledge, competition, and research in a computerized, postmodern world. He then assesses the PBRF in the light of Lyotard's ideas. He comments on the limiting language of outputs, discusses links between information, interpretation, and the unknown, and considers the impact of research assessment regimes on intellectual life.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand