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Academic Darwinism: The (Logical) End of the Dawkins Era (Report)

Arena Journal 2007, Spring, 28

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In July The Australian reported that the salaries of vice-chancellors were edging closer to those of the corporate world, with some packages topping a million dollars a year. (1) Academics might ruefully recall when vice-chancellors were considered part of academic staff, whereas today it seems that to compare the remuneration of VCs with CEOs in the 'private sector' is largely unproblematic. In the Australian article, if any distinction was to be made between universities and private corporations, it was made ever so modestly, with one senior academic referring to the university as part of the 'non-profit sector'. That such comparisons can be made is indicative of the degree to which the idea of the university has been supplanted by business norms, and how 'knowledge' has increasingly become another commodity. Mark Olssen and Michael Peters write that 'after the culture wars of the 1990s will be the education wars, a struggle ... over the meaning and value of knowledge'. (2) Yet there seems little evidence so far that such a war will be fought with the vigour and tenacity of the culture wars. This is not to say that academics have been entirely passive over the corporatization of the university. There have been pockets of resistance and isolated critique. So far, however, any kind of systemic resistance to what amounts to a wholesale reconstruction of the university has not occurred. This can be attributed partly to the climate of precariousness in which many academics faced the possibility of redundancy. However, it is the enhanced status of 'knowledge' within the high-tech neo-liberal economy that has undermined the public and critical role of the university. While once the university stood apart from the society it framed and interpreted, it now stands in direct competition with a society made over in its image: a technologically enhanced knowledge-driven form of the social whose commitment to ceaseless innovation and commodity creation leaves the university little ground on which to stand apart, or to defend more traditional values.

Academic Darwinism: The (Logical) End of the Dawkins Era (Report)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: 22 March 2007
  • Publisher: Arena Printing and Publications Pty. Ltd.
  • Print Length: 16 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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