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Higher education and the individualization of COVID-19

What’s going to happen in UK universities in September? This piece from Jim Dickinson seems plausible about the possible intersection between ‘learning to live with the virus’ (in other words the individualization of the problem once the vaccine programme is mostly or entirely complete) and the ‘migration event’ which takes place at the start of each academic year.

Higher education as self-formation

I found this really helpful for revisiting my PhD, seven years on, in order to finally publish from it. I’m broadly sympathetic with the project expressed in this lecture but the point of departure is his claim that higher education increases the capacity for reflexivity. This just isn’t true as […]

Unbundling the university

My notes on Newfield, C. (2019). Unbundling the knowledge economy. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 1-9. Far from being distinct institutions at a remove from society, this special issue explores their many interconnections with social and political life. Once we recognise the mutating character of the university, transforming and growing in […]

The Platform University

This special issue of Discover Society collects articles from speakers at last year’s inaugrial Platform University conference at the University of Cambridge. It has been published to coincide with the release of the call for papers for the second conference, taking place in December at Lancaster University. The Platform University, […]

The promise of university bureaucracy: academic neoliberalism as project rather than outcome

My notes on Nash, K. (2018). Neo-liberalisation, universities and the values of bureaucracy. The Sociological Review, 0038026118754780. It is too easy to frame neoliberalism in institutions as an outcome rather than a project. In this thoughtful paper, Kate Nash explores the space which this recognition opens up, the “competing and contradictory values in the everyday […]

The Polysemic University

From Making Sociology Public, by Lambros Fatsis, pg 240: Having already introduced Cardinal Newman’s ivory tower conception of the university, and Minister Humboldt’s equally idealistic depiction of it as a hub of culture and academic freedom, Barnett’s (2013) anthology of epithets, each of which furnishes 240 a different vision of […]

The ambivalent promise of higher education

In the latest collection of talks from Audrey Watters, The Curse of the Monsters of Educational Technology, she addresses an uncomfortable issue in higher education: the unrealistic claims made about the transformative aspect of university attendance. From loc 397-413: These questions get at what is an uncomfortable and largely unspoken […]

Call for Papers: The Accelerated Academy

November 30th t0 December 3rd 2016, Leiden University From the 1980s onward, there has been an unprecedented growth of institutions and procedures for auditing and evaluating university research. Quantitative indicators are now widely used from the level of individual researchers to that of entire universities, serving to make academic activities more visible, […]

The Second Accelerated Academy

Good news! This week it was learnt that CWTS will play host to the second annual conference ‘The Accelerated Academy: Evaluation, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life’. Generously sponsored by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, the event will take place from 30th November to 2nd December 2016 […]

How will social media transform #highered?

I asked this question on Twitter, offering a free copy of Social Media for Academics to the person who wrote the most interesting answer in two tweets or less. Here were the responses: @mark_carrigan @Soc_Imagination Homogenize, sanitize, try to monetize & brand evthing in sight, driving free expression further underground. […]