Academic Capitalism and the New Economy


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Academic Capitalism and the New Economy

, 384 pages

5 line drawings

June 2009



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Academic Capitalism and the New Economy

Markets, State, and Higher Education

As colleges and universities become more entrepreneurial in a post-industrial economy, they focus on knowledge less as a public good than as a commodity to be capitalized on in profit-oriented activities. In Academic Capitalism and the New Economy, higher education scholars Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades detail the aggressive engagement of U.S. higher education institutions in the knowledge-based economy and analyze the efforts of colleges and universities to develop, market, and sell research products, educational services, and consumer goods in the private marketplace.

Slaughter and Rhoades track changes in policy and practice, revealing new social networks and circuits of knowledge creation and dissemination, as well as new organizational structures and expanded managerial capacity to link higher education institutions and markets. They depict an ascendant academic capitalist knowledge/learning regime expressed in faculty work, departmental activity, and administrative behavior. Clarifying the regime's internal contradictions, they note the public subsidies embedded in new revenue streams and the shift in emphasis from serving student customers to leveraging resources from them.

Defining the terms of academic capitalism in the new economy, this groundbreaking study offers essential insights into the trajectory of American higher education.

Sheila Slaughter is a professor of higher education at the University of Georgia and coauthor, with Larry L. Leslie, of Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University, also published by Johns Hopkins. Gary Rhoades is director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona and general secretary of the American Association of University Professors.

"Painstakingly researched... Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades warn of increasingly blurred boundaries among higher education, the state and the world of commerce. "

"The writers have made careers out of studying the issues they write about. They certainly have done their homework."

"Slaughter and Rhoades offer the most coherent account of how the academy is mired in commercialism."

"Unlike other recent popular works,... this one is not critical or afraid of intersections of higher education and the world of corporate sponsorships; the authors just want to help universities exploit these new opportunities for fun and profit."

"Provides a densely detailed and chilling description of the current 'state' of the university in the United States."

"Represents a timely scholarly work that unveils the complex development of academic capitalism and calls for a critical re-examination of the mission of higher education institutions."

"An impressive book and a major contribution to knowledge... The theory of academic capitalism presented in its pages will certainly stimulate and guide further studies in higher education for some time to come... All students of the educational arrangements in the new economy will find themselves in debt to the authors for their farreaching theory of academic capitalism, the wide variety of studies they offer to confirm it, and for the standard they set and the model they provide for subsequent work."

"The strength of this volume is their treatment of the impact of academic capitalism on academic work."

"This carefully argued and documented book fosters critical understanding of, if not the possibilities for 'regime change,' the implications of our actions."

"Perhaps the best book for understanding the commercialization and commodification within higher education is Slaughter and Rhoades's Academic Capitalism and the New Economy... It tracks the deep and pervasive changes in policy and practice that have created new social network and organizational structures, vastly changing the function and role of higher education to serve corporate interests... and covers a variety of topics including expansion of patenting and patent policies, copyright policies, ownership of courseware and teaching materials, entrepreneurial activities by departments, corporate connections of university trustees, and advertising and branding contracts."

"An important and much needed critical perspective."

"In the field of higher education and studies of colleges and universities, which are so dominated by stale and antiquated atheoretical arguments, this is the most innovative and important book to come along in years."

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