Title

Academic Knowledge and Political Power in Late Capitalist Societies

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2000

Department

Sociology

Language

English

Publication Title

Knowledge and Power in Higher Education: A Reader

Abstract

The academy is contested terrain in contemporary western societies. Budget crunches, departmental closings, and calls for increased accountability among professors are news of the day, especially in state-sponsored colleges and universities. The public, it seems, wants to know just what it is that academics do with their time, what the value is of what they do, and if what they do is worthy of taxpayers' dollars. Efforts at diversity and affirmative action are under siege, as the U.S. Congress and state legislators move to reduce federal and state monies for student loans and financial assistance based on minority status. At the same time, both private and public institutions of higher learning are becoming corporatized, as private industry moves into the academy by sponsoring specific research process and whole academic programs and centers (Aronowitz, 1998; Dickson, 1988). Such political, economic, and administrative pressures have been matched by confusion among scholars about their production of academic knowledge and its uses by others. Scholars in a number of fields have gone so far as to argue that their disciplines are in crisis.

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