Findlow, S, Hayes, AM and Sundell, T (2019) Academic Capitalism: tensions, exceptions and challenges to the paradigm. In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education. Sage. (In Press)

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Over the last four decades, the joint collapse of higher education’s socio-political mediating role along with the state’s default financial one has consolidated what has come to be known as ‘academic capitalism’, defined not only as the yoking of higher education to the shifting needs of state and supra-state economies, but also as the building and trading of academic capital, with corresponding modes of administration and collaboration. However, while this is more-or-less global phenomenon, there is relatively little explicit consideration of the ‘capital’ component of academic capitalism. This entry seeks to partly fill that gap, by reviewing the consensus characteristics of academic capitalism with a focus on concrete and especially monetary conceptualisations of ‘capital’. It also reviews paradigmatic explanations of Academic Capitalism’s evolution: as the production of a source of human and political capital, as a means of managing this, and in its neoliberal re-conceptualisation as the dealing in tradeable academic-related commodities. It shows that, despite prevailing characterisations of academic capitalism as something new and dependant on neoliberalism, there have always been forms of academic capitalism; its current characteristics are part of a continuum whose backbone is the interface between its relationship with the state and its critically transformative function. Finally, the entry raises questions about the nature of academic capitalism and how far we can generalise about this, reviewing in particular ideas about how the consolidation of ‘academic capitalism’ has also rendered the phenomenon both practically and analytically fragile.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This book can be purchased online at
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2019 07:39
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2019 08:21

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