The economistic university: a brave new paradigm?
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According to economistic thinkers a paradigm shift in the idea of the university towards the notion of an entrepreneurial university should take place. Their idea is that this transformation should be a cumulative process with the entrepreneurial motive an addendum to the already established teaching and research functions of universities. It will be argued in this paper that the projected transformation is probably more radical; that the aim is to change the foundations of the university with an economistic emphasis leading the functioning of universities. This raises the question: how should we evaluate an outlook for universities preoccupied with their economic side? The claim will be that this introduces an obsession that will harm the university as institution. For instance, “iron cage” instrumentalist interpretations of economic values like “efficiency”, make their appearance as the new but reductionist foundations of a functioning university. This can have the effect of changing practices at universities to imitate those of a business. This change is, moreover, not only aimed at the internal structure and functioning of universities, but more so at transforming universities into corporate players, converting students and lecturers into clients and entrepreneurs, and knowledge into an economic commodity. The alarming consequence of this reductionism could be that universities will be deprived of the ability to “think the universe”. Not everybody is therefore convinced that these proposed economistic changes can be harmonised with the established tasks of teaching and research and that the anticipated transformation will confirm a progressive new paradigm for the idea of the university
- Faculty of Arts@PUK