This article examines the modernisation of universities in the U.K., arguing that heterogeneous policy objectives and strategies have become condensed in the construction of higher education as a governable system and the university as a corporate enterprise. It argues that managerialism has displaced and subordinated professional and administrative logics for the coordination of universities, articulating them into supporting roles. Finally, it examines some of the cultural psychological states associated with the contradictory and uncomfortable assemblage that is the modernized university: identifying fantasy, dissociation and professional melancholia. It concludes with an argument that nostalgia for a lost academic community cannot be a foundation for political challenges to the present model.
Roar Høstaker and Agnete Vabø
Research and higher education are, to a greater extent, being governed and evaluated by other than fellow scholars. These changes are discussed in relation to Gilles Deleuze's notion of a transition from 'societies of discipline' to what he called 'societies of control'. This involves a shift from pyramidshaped organisations, built upon authority, to a set of lateral controls and hybrid power structures. This theory and its logic are compared with other theories that have been used to explain such changes in higher education: New Public Management, new modes of knowledge production, academic capitalism, trust and the role of higher education in social reproduction. The development of lateral controls is analysed in relation to the de-coupling of the state as the guarantor of academic quality, the changing status of the academic disciplines and scientific employees, managerialism, the new modularised study programmes and the changing position of external stakeholders. The article, drawing on empirical studies from higher education in Norway, suggests possible affects of the change to 'societies of control' on research, teaching and learning in higher education.
This article explores the legacy of three decades of neoliberal reforms on New Zealand's university system. By tracing the different government policies during this period, it seeks to contribute to wider debates about the trajectory of contemporary universities in an age of globalisation. Since Lyotard's influential report on The Postmodern Condition (1994), critics have frequently claimed that commercialisation and managerialism have undermined and supplanted the social mission of the university as governments throughout the developed world have sought to transform the university 'from an ideological arm of the state into a bureaucratically organised and relatively autonomous consumer-oriented corporation' (Readings 1996: 457). Against this I argue that the new model of the entrepreneurial and corporate university has not so much replaced the traditional functions and meaning of the university as added a new layer of complexity to the university's already diverse and multifaceted roles in society. Drawing on an ethnography of one university and personal observations, I explore the effects of that reform process on the culture and character of the university and, more specifically, its impact on academic identities and the everyday practices of academics and students. As in other OECD countries, New Zealand's universities are now required to deliver a bewildering plethora of government priorities and strategic economic and social objectives whilst simultaneously carrying out their traditional roles in teaching, research and scholarship. The challenge for the modern university, as reflected in the case of New Zealand, is how to negotiate these diverse and often contradictory missions.
Liz Morrish and Helen Sauntson
This special issue sets out to investigate a number of areas of concern, regarding gender and sexuality, which are identifiable in the current British higher education environment. We argue that current dominant 'neoliberal' discourses, which emphasise the commodification of higher education in the U.K., function to set limits upon 'equality'. While these discourses often suggest a widening of opportunities within higher education, with an emphasis upon unlimited individual freedom and choice, the lived experience can be rather different for women and sexual minorities. This issue explores the impact such discourses are having upon gender and sexuality identities and practices in the academy.
Raven Narratives and the Anthropocene
Thomas F. Thornton and Patricia M. Thornton
The Anthropocene is rooted in the proposition that human activity has disrupted earth systems to the extent that it has caused us to enter a new geological age. We identify three popular discourses of what the Anthropocene means for humanity's future: the Moral Jeremiad admonishes the transgression of planetary boundaries and advocates reductions to live sustainably within Earth's limits; the Technofix Earth Engineer approach depicts the Age of Humanity as an engineering opportunity to be met with innovative technological solutions to offset negative impacts; and the New Genesis discourse advocates re-enchantment of humanity's connections to earth. By contrast, we find that in many indigenous and premodern narratives and myths disseminated across the North Pacific and East Asia, it is the trickster-demiurge Raven that is most closely linked to environmental change and adaptation. Whereas Raven tales among northern Pacific indigenous communities emphasize a moral ecology of interdependence, creative adaptation, and resilience through practical knowledge (mētis), robustly centralizing Zhou Dynasty elites transposed early Chinese Raven trickster myths with tales lauding the human subjugation of nature. Raven and his fate across the northern Pacific reminds us that narratives of environmental crisis, as opposed to narratives of environmental change, legitimate attempts to invest power and authority in the hands of elites, and justify their commandeering of technological xes in the name of salvation.
Quis custodiet ipsos consumptores?
of the managerial repertoire. For example, the introduction of regular student satisfaction surveys (for convenience here, ‘SSSs’) in one university was explicitly motivated by the need to ensure that PDR [Professional Development Reviews
Game Theory in Management Pedagogy and Practice
Since the 1980s, game theory has become a standard feature of management school curricula, treated extensively in textbooks and core courses in managerial economics and competitive strategy. It promises a formal and rational set of procedures for formulating decisions in situations of dynamic interaction. I suggest that the appeal, and key symbolic effect of game theory is not due to its actual influence on the decisions reached. Rather, it is due to the reframing of decisions and the contexts in which they are made, in terms of the framework of game theory. When strategic action is formulated and justified in terms of game theory, the theory serves as a kind of sociodicy, a social theory which justifies suffering as a necessary evil. I suggest that the increased appeal of game theory since the 1980s has to do with changes in the social organization and managerial culture of corporations.
The social construction of participation and accountability in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica
Pieter de Vries
This article sets out to test the Foucauldian concept of governmentality as it has been applied by social theorists working on the topic of neoliberal managerialism. It starts with a critical discussion of the 'good governance' agenda as developed by the World Bank. The question that the article poses is whether such technologies of governance are as successful in shaping new fields of intervention as assumed in the (managerial) governmentality literature. This question is answered negatively by way of a case study of an extensionist, working in an integrated rural development project in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica, who developed his own 'participatory extension style of operation' for dealing with farmer beneficiaries. At a more theoretical level, the article takes issue with current notions regarding the malleability of the Self and the 'social'. The article concludes that the governmentality approach has perverse consequences for the anthropological project as it leads to an impoverished kind of ethnography.
After years of financial struggle, protected areas in the Russian Federation have been encouraged to open up to ecotourism in order to become more financially self-sustainable. This article focuses on this transition and examines the challenges of policy-related geographical and social aspects of the development of ecotourism in the nature reserves. The article identifies four main risk factors in the development of ecotourism: environmental, social, managerial, and economic. It outlines stakeholder interests in tourism, the local population's involvement in environment-friendly developments, and the possibilities for ecotourism on the model territory of the Baikalskii Nature Biosphere zapovednik.
Ambivalent Situations and Human Resource Embarrassment
The Manchester School brought with it a fundamental methodological heritage that continues to be generally relevant today and may be particularly pertinent to the study of business organizations, a field often described by narrow instrumentalism and an implicitly management-centric perspective. In this article, through an ethnography of the Human Resource Department of the Danish firm Bang & Olufsen, I argue that the legacy of the Manchester School can be used as an analytical vantage point to open up a rich field of inquiry. I further suggest that we need to move beyond both managerialism and Manchester in order to analyze adequately the pervasive ambiguity in the experience of consultants working as middlemen in value-based corporations.