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Title: Introduction: Universities, 'Relevance' and Scale
Contributor(s): Scott, Alan  (author)orcid ; Harding, Alan (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: The contributions to this volume, like many of their authors' papers to the international conference on which it is based, take the notions of relevance and scale and subject the common assumption that they increasingly 'drive' what academics actually do to a greater degree of critical scrutiny than has been common heretofore. The task we have set ourselves is to take a step back from the current - often polemical, sometimes highly rhetorical - debates about higher education, and to examine the reality of universities' relationship to their external environment (Part 1) and how it impacts upon and/or is conditioned by the changing inner life of higher-education institutions (Part 2). Our aim is to avoid the kinds of argumentative shortcut that characterize much of the debate about, and often the practice of, university governance, and to take a more theoretically and empirically informed - if inevitably selective - view of the factors that influence the way universities perceive the world beyond the campus and organize themselves in order to engage and interact with it. The volume concentrates, in particular, on the local and regional scale. It asks a number of inter-related questions designed to promote more critical discussion about the degree to which universities have made the transition from the archetypal 'ivory towers' of the prospectus age to the 'bright satanic mills' of the emerging, global knowledge economy. Specifically, our contributors help us understand: • What has changed to encourage universities to take 'local and regional missions' more seriously? • Through what mechanisms have these changes been transmitted? • How have universities, as institutions, and academic communities more generally, responded to the key changes in their operating environments that have encouraged 'regionalization'? • How have recent changes affected traditional conceptions of the 'role of the academic', based upon dispassionate, detached, discipline-specific, curiosity-driven inquiry? Our job in this opening chapter is to rehearse the context in which these questions have become more pressing and describe the way in which the rest of the volume approaches the task of addressing them.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Bright Satanic Mills: Universities, Regional Development and the Knowledge Economy, p. 1-22
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
Place of Publication: Aldershot, United Kingdom
ISBN: 0754645851
Field of Research (FOR): 160809 Sociology of Education
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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