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Towards an Economy of Higher Education

Standish, Paul (2005) Towards an Economy of Higher Education. Critical Quarterly, 47 (1/2). pp. 53-71. ISSN 0011-1562. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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This paper draws a distinction between ways thinking and acting, and hence of policy and practice in higher education, in terms of different kinds of economy: economies of exchange and economies of excess. Crucial features of economies of exchange are outlined and their presence in prevailing conceptions of teaching and learning is illustrated. These are contrasted with other possible forms of practice, which in turn bring to light the nature of an economy of excess. In more philosophical terms, and to expand on the picture, economies of excess are elaborated with reference, first, to the understanding of alterity in the work of Emmanuel Levinas and, second, to the idea of Dionysian intensity that is to be found in Nietzsche. In the light of critical comment on some current directions in policy and practice, the implications of these ways of thinking for the administrator, the teacher and the student in higher education are explored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Philosophical examination of aspects of contemporary higher education. Identifies two 'economies' of thought, closed and open, in the light of which contrasting practices of teaching, learning, assessment, and administration are examined. Demonstrates ways of enhancing higher education with reference to the thinking of Nietzsche and Levinas, and does this in a manner that is accessible to a non-philosophical audience. Originally commissioned for special double issue of Critical Quarterly. Selected as the keynote and subject of a day conference at Kyoto University, 2005, with all other papers responding to it and about 200 participants; published in Japanese by Kyoto University. Presented at the University of Stirling, 2006, and as a keynote at the National Swedish Philosophy Conference, 2006. The idea was developed in a different form as ‘Education without Satisfaction: Accounting for the University in an Age of Globalization’ and presented as a keynote paper, alongside papers by Ronald Barnett (Institute of Education, London), Gianni Vattimo (Turin), and Tu Wey-ming (Harvard), at a two-day conference, with about 250 participants, at the University of Tohoku, Japan, in 2006; published in Japanese by the University of Tohoku. The definitive version is available at
Controlled Keywords: Philosophy of education
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Education Foundations and Policy Studies
IOE Departments > Departments > Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 15:59
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:25
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