Neoliberal policies in teacher education marginalise faculty voice, narrow conceptions of teaching and learning and redefine how we know ourselves, our students and our work. Pressured within audit culture and the constant surveillance of accountability regimes to participate in practices that dehumanise, silence and de-form education, teacher educators are caught between compliance and complicity or the potential and risks of resistance. Written from my lived experience within the neoliberal regime of teacher education, this article examines the vulnerabilities, fears and risks that shape our choices, as well as the possibilities for ethical, answerable action.
Davydd J. Greenwood
This article summarises/analyses the higher education reforms proposed by the 'Spellings Commission' in the United States on quality assurance and accountability, and draws attention to the links I see between these reform proposals and the Bologna Process. I trace a brief history of the Spellings Commission and analyse it in order to produce questions for discussion about the 'parallel' processes of reform in higher education in the U.S. and Europe.
The article investigates how university lecturers taking part in the compulsory teacher training at Stockholm University (SU) conceive of the effects of standardised and formalised training on their teaching. The study explores the emotions and responses evoked among academics when everyone is required to embrace the same pedagogic philosophy of constructive alignment (Biggs 2003), adopt the language of learning outcomes and assign the same standards to diverse academic practices. The article attempts to shed light on different conceptions of the quality of teaching and learning in higher education and the interplay between the lecturers' values of academic freedom, collegiality and disciplinary expertise and the university leadership's values of efficiency, accountability and measurability of performance. The article considers how these conceptions coexist and are negotiated within the university as an organisation.
Danish university reform in the context of modern governance
Susan Wright and Jakob Williams Ørberg
In 2003 the Danish government reformed universities to 'set them free' from the state. Yet ministers are actively trying to shape universities and even set research agendas. How does the government's notion of 'freedom' reconcile independence with control? We identify three discourses of freedom: freedom to use academic judgement over what to research, teach, publish and say publicly; a free trade discourse where universities are free to pursue profit; and a modernising state discourse where government steers universities to contribute to the knowledge economy. Danish universities were reformed as part of the modernisation of the welfare state. We explore the assemblage of administrative and funding mechanisms through which the government now steers independent organisations: a chain of contracts for outsourced services, newly appointed managers, output payments and accrual accounting. While responsibility for achieving government policy is passed downwards through the independent organisation, formal lines of accountability run back up to the government. University leaders and academics are set free to manoeuvre within the system, but their economic survival is firmly dependent on responsiveness to centralised steering mechanisms
University of Pennsylvania and École PolytThe book by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello on the new spirit of capitalism returns to the question that puzzled the social thinkers of an earlier time: How does capitalism manufacture the ideological foundations of social peace, despite its hollow spiritual core and its creation of inequities? Their argument, reminiscent of Gramsci’s, is that capitalism is richly inventive in appropriating cultural systems to justify itself. To address the ills of contemporary society, one must deconstruct the ideologies that make excessive levels of stress, unemployment, and inequality appear unavoidable. Boltanski and Chiapello cite Durkheim’s thesis that capitalism is marred by the insatiable pursuit of self-interest, a view that resonates with the Chinese parable of the mask with no lower jaw.echnique
A Comparative Perspective
Susan M. DiGiacomo
Audit culture is examined comparatively in US academic life and in Catalan universities, medical research institutions and scientific publishing. In the case of Catalan universities, audit is shown to be a political practice as well, serving the centralising interests of the Spanish state at the expense of Catalan home rule. Despite the variation in formal practices and institutional contexts, then, the similarities in both the appearance and effects of these practices are remarkable. As anthropologists working across cultural boundaries, we should be attentive to the many forms coercive surveillance may take.
The most deceitful aspect of Gerald Feldman’s commentary on my
book is his tacit claim that he is engaged in something other than
character assassination. As in other academic jihads he has pursued in
the past, Feldman’s most effective weapon has been his capacity for
ad hominem attack. Straightforward debate concerning disputed historical
evidence is considerably further down his list.
The Holocaust in Czortków and Buczacz, East Galicia, as Seen in West German Legal Discourse
This article examines the way in which West German courts confronted the case of low-level, former Nazi perpetrators who conducted mass killings of Jews in isolated towns in Eastern Europe. Using the example of the towns of Czortków and Buczacz in eastern Galicia, the article argues that such trials, conducted in the late 1950s and 1960s, sought both to recreate the historical reality of genocide on the local level, where killers and victims often knew each other by name, and to identify a type of perpetrator who differed essentially from "ordinary" Germans, even as he was himself invariably defined as a "victim of the circumstances of that time."
In the last two years, a new period of reform has charged the Italian
public administration system with three principal objectives: modernizing
its organizational structure at the national and local levels,
reorganizing public employment, and improving the services rendered
by public institutions. To this end, the year 2009 signaled the initial
intensification of policies promoted by Minister Renato Brunetta—initiatives
that had been in the developmental stages in 2008. The reform
spirit of the government has given life to a first series of measures that
are urgently needed to remedy some of the most evident and critical
weaknesses in the public apparatus, such as absenteeism. At the same
time, these initiatives have been accompanied by the definition of the
principles and boundaries that will guide the process, as provided for
in Law No. 15 of 2009. This law came about in response to Legislative
Decree No. 150/2009, regarding the reorganization of public employment
and collective bargaining in the public sector.
Comparing German Party Responses to the Euro Crisis
performance as crisis managers. The findings are not anticipated by existing models of party position taking or valence advantages, and have important implications for the literatures on party responsiveness and democratic accountability. If politicians have