Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly

The Social Sciences Look at the Neoliberal University

Edited by: Margaret Thornton orcid

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This collection of essays arose from a workshop held in Canberra in 2013 under the auspices of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia to consider the impact of the encroachment of the market on public universities. While the UK tripled fees in 2013 and determined that the teaching of the social sciences and the humanities would no longer be publicly funded, it was feared that Australia would go further and deregulate fees altogether.

In the best tradition of the social sciences, the contributors have assumed the role of critic and conscience of society to present penetrating analyses of the ramifications of the corporatisation of the university as neoliberalism continues to occupy the ascendant position in the political firmament. The dramatis personae in these analyses are students, academics, managers and political mandarins with the gendered character of corporatisation an important sub-theme.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2015
ANU Press
Law; Social Sciences: Education & Training, Social Policy & Administration

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Through a Glass Darkly »

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Part I: Theorising the Modern University

  1. Disinterested Scholars or Interested Parties? The Public’s Investment in Self-interested Universities (PDF, 158KB) – Hannah Forsyth doi
  2. Critical Theory and the New University: Reflections on Time and Technology (PDF, 149KB) – Peter Beilharz doi
  3. Gendered Hierarchies of Knowledge and the Prestige Factor: How Philosophy Survives Market Rationality (PDF, 147KB) – Fiona Jenkins doi

Part II: Markets, Managers and Mandarins

  1. What’s to be Explained? And is it so Bad? (PDF, 212KB) – Geoffrey Brennan doi
  2. Higher Education ‘Markets’ and University Governance (PDF, 130KB) – Tony Aspromourgos doi
  3. Transforming the Public University: Market Citizenship and Higher Education Regulatory Projects (PDF, 142KB) – Kanishka Jayasuriya doi
  4. The State of the Universities (PDF, 182KB) – Glenn Withers doi

Part III: Education for the ‘Real World’

  1. The Modern University and its Transaction with Students (PDF, 195KB) – Nigel Palmer doi
  2. Markets, Discipline, Students: Governing Student Conduct and Performance in the University (PDF, 160KB) – Bruce Lindsay doi
  3. ‘Selling the dream’: Law School Branding and the Illusion of Choice (PDF, 169KB) – Margaret Thornton and Lucinda Shannon doi

Part IV: Conditions of Knowledge Production

  1. Disciplining Academic Women: Gender Restructuring and the Labour of Research in Entrepreneurial Universities (PDF, 312KB) – Jill Blackmore doi
  2. Functional Dystopia: Diversity, Contestability and New Media in the Academy (PDF, 143KB) – Jenny Corbett, Andrew MacIntyre and Inger Mewburn doi

Part V: Telling It How It Is

  1. A Design for Learning? A Case Study of the Hidden Costs of Curriculum and Organisational Change (PDF, 167KB) – Diane Kirkby and Kerreen Reiger doi
  2. ‘Smoking Guns’: Reflections on Truth and Politics in the University (PDF, 198KB) – Judith Bessant doi

Part VI: University Futures?

  1. Seeking the Necessary ‘Resources of Hope’ in the Neoliberal University (PDF, 671KB)  – Jane Kenway, Rebecca Boden and Johannah Fahey doi

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