22 SES 14 A, Higher Education, Political Conflict, and New Economies of Public Missions and Reform: Comparative international perspectives
The objectives of this symposium are to assess the ways in which wider transnational political movements, policy reforms and economic changes – particularly as they relate to the combined effects of heightened political conflict in nation-states and new economic logics of HE policy and practice - have transformed HE landscapes and their civic/public missions cross-nationally. In particular, we seek to examine, comparatively, the manner in which these wider forces and practices are impacting upon the structural, organizational, and cultural practices of HE at the level of scale, space and power. In so doing, we assess the role of such forces in shaping the knowledge ‘economies’ and conceptualisations of the ‘public’ and ‘action’ within higher education, particularly the public mission of HE’s, and the part played by regional, national and extra-territorial struggles/tensions in shaping their agendas and practices.
Such concerns are increasingly significant when observing both the convergence of political economies of HE which align with the ideological apparatus of longstanding autocratic states, alongside signs of a more resistant politically radical HE space in sub-regions or semi-autonomous zones of a conflicted nation, in reimagined European contexts and those reflecting quasi-market or enhanced market pressures from external agencies. These concerns are important as HE institutions confront increasingly politicized agendas as a consequence of reimagined nationalist movements or feel undermined by pressure groups who see themselves as influential in undermining or enhancing the post-war public mission of universities as a space of both academic freedom and egalitarian ideals.
HE is also an important site for better comprehending the role that national governments place upon HE’s third mission ideals as a renewed post-war institutional narrative and its conflict with more recent notions of HE as sites of national security (e.g., Prevent Duty , UK). This latter phenomenon can be witnessed in relation to heightened constraints in recent years on academic freedom in a more securitized HE context, alongside heightened concerns about the diminishing impact of extra-territorial states in shaping the moral and value economies of HE.
Taken together, these latter concerns raise important questions about HE’s role in responding to wider ‘humanitarian’ crises, only one of which is the recent migration crisis and the associated displacement of academics and university students from war torn countries in search of new pathways for social mobility but constrained by the wider politics of exile, statelessness, educational stagnation and new political economies of austerity and entrepreneurialism, including new modalities of capitalism as they are expressed in HE. The presenters in this symposium are international experts in the sociology of education. Each presenter draws upon cross-national case studies of HE to address the following questions:
*how is HE being positioned as a new state sector institution that is encouraged to either incorporate the ‘other’ as an institutional claim premised on regional political economies of legitimacy (new imperialisms) or as a rejection of legitimacy based on the rise of reimagined nationalism(s) and new political economies?;
* what part do nations, regions, spaces or extra-territorial economic pressures play in shaping understandings of HE and the constituency it is meant serve as part of its public mission. We focus here in particular on Kearney and Taylor’s (2005) ‘sacrificial stranger’ – the group who threatens the collective consciousness of institutional HE tolerance and who represents a spectacle of unacceptability or, by contrast, the legitimate HE participant/client and the organizational structures and practices such a client demands?; and
*what are some of theoretical tools we need to draw upon from areas such as cultural political economy, political theory, and sociology to better understand HE in relation to scales of change, systems of power, conflict and reform.
Kearney, R. 2014. "The Inescapable Choice: Welcoming or Refusing the Stranger?" ABC Religion and Ethics, 25 July. http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/07/25/4053636.htm Kearney, R. and V.E. Taylor. 2005. "A Conversation with Richard Kearney." Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 6 (2): 17-26.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.