Higher education is being transformed, not least because of its rapid expansion. What should be the priorities, objectives and purposes of this new higher education? Much current policy development for universities and colleges is implicitly based on postmodernist ideas. This volume explores these postmodernist approaches through social and political theory, philosophy, cultural studies and feminism, and proposes radical alternatives. It argues that, although postmodernism has provided useful insights and corrections to other frames of reference, it leads often to a reactionary and conformist position. Its emphases on relativism, consensus and apolitical cynicism in relation to all progressive perspectives, effectively gives support to those who see higher education increasingly incorporated into technicism and free market cultures. In contrast, this book argues for a revitalized and radical university, characterized by critical, sceptical enquiry, tolerance, and a commitment to humanistic, egalitarian politics.
Richard Taylor is Professor of Continuing Education, University of Leeds. Jean Barr is Head of Department of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow. Tom Steele is Reader in Adult Education at the University of Glasgow.