(Slaughter 2001) Professional values and the allure of the market


Slaughter, Sheila. Professional values and the allure of the market. Academe. 2001 Sep–Oct; 87(5):22–26. Available from: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2001/SO/Feat/slau.htm.

Slaughter makes a case that the profit motive and capitalist values are now so pervasive in academia in the USA that the traditional social contract that underpinned academic freedom, and even the traditional view of threats to academic freedom as impositions on the university by outside forces, are no longer viable:

To the extent that the intrinsic value of money has been internalized by university constituents, they are complicit in the corporatization of higher education, and their construing it as a hostile takeover from outside academe becomes much more complicated.

University presidents function like CEOs (and deans like middle managers), seeking outside funding sources, especially university-industrial partnerships. Faculty compete against each other for funding, with those who acquire star status sometimes able to make fortunes through deals with the corporate world. Institutional and faculty agreements with corporations constrain choice of research topic and ability to publish results in ways incompatible with traditional academic freedom. Students are courted as consumers for their student-aid funds, then exploited as profit centers through on-campus sale of goods. Slaughter closes by urging the creation of a new social contract for academia that would restore some measure of autonomy from the values of the market.

 

 

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