Sunday, 4 May 2008

Where I fit in the literature, possibly

Notes made in preparation for seminar I could not attend today. Comments are seriously welcome... am quite unsure about things.

At this early stage:

Which literatures do you think will best help you to address your question?

(Today) I'm thinking basically of my question as "How can understanding what led to the current crisis in knowledge ownership in Australian universities help us understand clarify the sources of its contradictions and controversies? Can this be done without inventing a romanticised version of the pre-commodified university?" Literature that will help me includes educational, economic, policy, sociology and (yikes) legal.

How do you anticipate that you might categorise your secondary sources?

1. Histories of universities/education in Australia
2. Educational theory (and some accounts of practice)
3. Philosophy, cultural studies and sociology of knowledge, research, higher education and probably also the internet
4. Economics and higher education studies
5. Law and critical legal studies

How might you periodise works that pursue similar inquiries?

The themes from all 5 converge nicely in different periods, from what I've seen, aligning broadly to government policy and primary sources, which is convenient. So:
1940s and 1950s thinking about new ways of running universities (without losing tradition) to benefit wider demographics and more diverse social, scientific and technological challenges. 1960s and 1970s: concern with academic freedom and the relationships of government to this and the role of universities in society, consequences of fragmentation of disciplines and development of an economy of knowledge. 1980s and 1990s economic performance, quality, efficiency, commodfication, technology and the internet. 1990s intellectual property, technology transfer, research commercialisation.

What’s fresh about YOUR contribution to the literature?

- Looking at a longer period that most commentators on educational capitalism can (since they are not normally history)
- Thinking about knowledge ownership more broadly than legal ownership, allowing me to explore connections between knowledge possession, acquisition, construction - and between policy, educational theory & practice and epistemology, really - so more interdisciplinary and more cultural meanings-based
- Australian allowing some comparison of different historical developments (esp compared to US) as well as different policy environments

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