Non-Fiction Books:

Being a University


Paperback / softback

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Being a University by Ronald Barnett
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There is no single 'idea of the university'. Ever since its medieval inception, what it is to be a university has undergone successive changes. The metaphysical university gave way to the scientific university which, in turn, has been succeeded by the entrepreneurial university and the corporate university -- and even by the bureaucratic university. Two implications arise from these reflections. Firstly, the belief -- now widespread -- that the entrepreneurial university represents a kind of end-point of the evolution of the university has no substance. The university, both in its form and the ideas through which it is understood, continues to evolve. Secondly, the question arises, and in stark form: just what is it to be a university? And further, what might the university become? In this book, Ron Barnett argues that answers to these questions require imagination and the creation of feasible utopias. Through a careful examination of key 'contending concepts', searching issues are raised in relation to ideas such as 'anarchy and culture', 'space and time', 'authenticity and responsibility' and 'being and becoming'. On this basis, four feasible utopias are set out and critically examined. The first three are those of 'the liquid university', 'the therapeutic university' and 'the authentic university'. Each has virtues but also each also has weaknesses and even harbours dystopias. However, the fourth feasible utopia, the idea of the ecological university offers a way to the university fully to become itself. And it is an idea carrying universal significance and so reflects something of the university's metaphysical inheritance. It is a utopian idea of the university but it is entirely feasible. This book will be of interest to all those working in, and in the future of, Higher Education.

Author Biography

Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.
Release date NZ
October 1st, 2010
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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