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The State, Public Universities and Public Goods: Time for a New Settlement—The Case of Chile

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In Chile, higher education is characterised by a constellation of features that make ‘public’ a multiplicitous idea. In the present study, academics in two public universities are seen to hold strong views in favour of public universities playing public roles and they identify several public goods that they value. These academics also hold ambivalent perceptions of the relationships between the state and the market. On the one hand, the market and the state’s role in it are accorded a limited legitimacy. On the other hand, it is felt that the state does not sufficiently enable its public universities to realise their potential. The paper proceeds to argue that in this ambivalence can be detected four juxtapositions. It is suggested that these juxtapositions together open a space for a new settlement between the state and its public universities such that Chilean public universities might more fully realise their public possibilities. [See an on line version here: https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1057/s41307-020-00216-8?sharing_token=51KcNj-4F55e-GTLH7il11xOt48VBPO10Uv7D6sAgHvzjt04QoAd585DIZ1qN41GXW9Cf9RODmq6hk_5jeqQJ_Usu5ikXrMnoc4sjE2W75Bjl2ZixFAVZCRX-GzQ15ow8OkksRrpP5A81srgWFDFTr2PLVCkQU1xOH41qfpED5E%3D]

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Drawing upon perspectives from diverse disciplines, this paper critically examines some taken-for-granted definitions about what is understood by ‘public’ and its relation to universities. It highlights the need to uncover assumptions and value orientations that are at the basis of these definitions and that tend to guide both conceptualizations and practices about the public role of the universities. It is argued that under neoliberal regimes, the public university takes on private aspects and the private university may even take on public aspects: Universities are here characteristically becoming hybrids. Despite these overlapping patterns, absences are discerned both in the idea and in the practices of public universities. The idea of the transformative university is proposed to help to remedy these deficiencies.
Book
Universities have been propelled into the center of the global political economy of knowledge production by a number of factors: mass education, academic capitalism, the globalization of knowledge, the democratization of communication in the era of the Internet, and the emergence of the knowledge and innovation economy. The latest book in the International Studies in Higher Education series, Universities and the Public Sphere addresses the vital role of research universities as global public spheres, sites where public interaction, conversation and deliberation take place, where the nature of the State and private interests can be openly debated and contested. At a time of increased privatization, open markets, and government involvement in higher education, the book also addresses the challenges facing the university in its role as a global public sphere. In this volume, international contributors challenge prevalent views of the global marketplace to create a deeper understanding of higher education's role in knowledge creation and nation building. In nearly every national context the pressures of globalization, neo-liberal economic restructuring, and new managerial imperatives challenge traditional norms of autonomy, academic freedom, access and affordability. The authors in Universities and the Public Sphere argue that universities are uniquely suited to have transformative democratic potential as global public spheres.
Article
Market forces are powerful in U.S. postsecondary education. Such forces were employed when the first postsecondary institutions were established in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and many present day forms can be traced to these early beginnings. Over recent years public university revenue shares in block-grants from state governments have declined, thereby destabilizing the institutions. The universities have compensated by increasing shares from grant and contracting organizations and from students. The end result has been that expenditure shares for instruction have declined while shares for research and for administration have increased. Internally, these changes in “resource dependencies” have lead to the redistribution of internal university power, loss of “community”, and ever-higher charges to students. © 1997 International Association of Universities. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article
Academic capitalism has been among the most influential lines of research into markets in higher education. This paper takes up the distinct but related topic of academic production. This study makes use of a theory of fields and the concept of strategic action fields Fligstein and McAdam (Social Theory 29:1–26, 2011; A theory of fields, Oxford University Press, New York, 2012) and empirical evidence from a qualitative study of laboratory management at three research universities in the US to explore the how micro-dynamics of academic production may contribute to the establishment and maintenance of academic capitalism.
Article
Universities have flourished in the modern era as central public institutions and bases for critical thought. They are currently challenged by a variety of social forces and undergoing a deep transformation in both their internal structure and their relationship to the rest of society. Critical theorists need to assess this both in order to grasp adequately the social conditions of their own work and because the transformation of universities is central to a more general intensification of social inequality, privatization of public institutions, and reorganization of the relation of access to knowledge. This is also a pivotal instance for asking basic questions about the senses in which the university is or may be 'public': (1) where does its money come from? (2) who governs? (3) who benefits? and (4) how is knowledge produced and circulated?
Article
Market forces are powerful in U.S. postsecondary education. Such forces were employed when the first postsecondary institutions were established in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and many present day forms can be traced to these early beginnings. Over recent years public university revenue shares in block-grants from state governments have declined, thereby destabilizing the institutions. The universities have compensated by increasing shares from grant and contracting organizations and from students. The end result has been that expenditure shares for instruction have declined while shares for research and for administration have increased. Internally, these changes in “resource dependencies” have lead to the redistribution of internal university power, loss of “community”, and ever-higher charges to students.© 1997 International Association of Universities. Higher Education Policy Vol. 10, (1997) 239–252
Article
Today, higher education has become a commodity in the global education market aiming to serve the knowledge society through 'the production, transmission and dissemination of high-quality knowledge' (Simons, 2006, 33). One cannot dispute the economic importance of higher education, but to see the university as performing only this economic function is a misplaced and indefensible idea. In this article I shall argue that the university (its academics and graduates) has a role to play in cultivating democratic action and that this can most appropriately be done by reconsidering its civic role in relation to critical reasoning, social justice and deliberation with others.
Article
We gain insight into the emerging character of the entrepreneurial university by pursuing empirical answers to two questions: How are such universities initially formed? And how do they sustain themselves? My 1998 book, Creating Entrepreneurial Universities, used European cases to conceptualize five 'pathways of transformation.' My 2004 book, Sustaining Change in Universities, in search of exemplars of entrepreneurial action, turns to 14 internationally distributed case studies to clarify anew these transforming steps and to suggest dynamics of change that produce a new steady state change. Drawn largely from the book's concluding chapter, this article emphasizes key features of change-promoting organization in universities and highlights the growing centrality of university-led action based on flexible and adaptive self-reliance.
Article
This volume explores the complex relationships among universities, states, and markets throughout the Americas in light of the growing influence of globalization. It offers a biting critique of neoliberal globalization and its anti-democratic elements. In seeking to challenge the hegemony of neoliberal globalization, the authors highlight the ways in which corporate capitalism, academic capitalism, and increased militarization—both in the form of terrorism and in the international war against terrorism—are directing societies and institutions. Throughout this volume, the contributors—led by Noam Chomsky, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Raymond Morrow, Sheila Slaughter, and Atilio Boron—argue that neoliberal globalization has changed the context for academic work, research and development, science, and social responsibility at universities. They examine issues of access and social mobility, and argue that the recent push toward privatization limits the democratic and emancipatory possibilities of universities. Finally, the book explores various forms of resistance and discusses globalization in terms of social movements and global human rights. Contributors: Estela Mara Bensimon Atilio Alberto Boron Andrea Brewster Noam Chomsky Ana Loureiro Jurema Ken Kempner Marcela Mollis Raymond Morrow Imanol Ordorika Gary Rhoades Robert A. Rhoads Boaventura de Sousa Santos Daniel Schugurensky Sheila Slaughter Carlos Alberto Torres