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Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can't be Bought Paperback – 22 Nov 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education
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  • Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education (Research into Higher Education)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (22 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441183604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441183606
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

If you have been discouraged by what you think may well be undesirable trends in higher education, I urge you to read this book - and to consider the questions Joanna Williams raises. From the Foreword by Arthur L. Wilson, Associate Professor of Adult Education, Department of Education, Cornell University. USA Consuming Higher Education is a very important contribution to thinking about the shape of higher education today. It grapples head-on with the pervasive trope of 'student-as-consumer', illuminating the complex socio-historical and cultural influences that have come to shape contemporary university students as consumers. Yet, the book is by no means all gloom. Joanna Williams argues lucidly, persuasively and inspiringly for putting 'intellectual struggle' at the heart of university education. Monica McLean, Professor of Education, University of Nottingham, UK Consuming Higher Education is a timely and comprehensive treatment of a phenomenon that is of growing importance as governments everywhere embark on market-based reforms. It should be read and reflected on by everyone with an interest in the future health of our higher education system. Roger Brown, Professor of Higher Education Policy, Liverpool Hope University, UK

About the Author

Joanna Williams is a Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice at the University of Kent, UK.


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Format: Paperback
If you want to understand the ideology and the whole intellectual atmosphere around higher education today, this book is the starting point. J. Williams writes as someone who participates in the Academy, but also as an intellectual whose critique on higher education is also a critique of dominant trends in today's zeitgeist. Therefore, the book combines data and relevant information on policies etc, but also places them on a historically accurate framework, giving you the whole picture about what the Academy used to be through times and how it is today. The general idea is that, yes, university has been `marketized' and `commodified', but the `neoliberal assault' is only one part of the story. `Radical' students who oppose this model, often begin from a position of self-entitlement, where University is seen as an institution that will take care of them and raise their self-esteem or secure them a better income, rather than as a challenge that will take them out from their (not only) intellectual comfort zone and put them on the test, expanding their horizons. The author shows how his procedure has been going on for years, is relevant with wider social trends (a therapeutic ethos, uncertainty on the issue of adult and intellectual authority, postmodern trends attacking the idea of Truth etc) and, thus, it is not only a by-product of tuition fees. What is missing on both 'neoliberal' and today's Leftist narratives is the idea of the pursuit of knowledge as an end in itself and in this book J. Williams is offering a great progressive defence of a knowledge-based education.
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Rather than going along with the false knee jerk dichotomy between paying University fees and getting a good education, Williams focuses on more profound changes that have instrumentalised education. She argues cogently that the problem is not fees per se but the short sighted idea that the purpose of education is to get you a job. Well researched and clearly argued.
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This is an excellent book, the best critique of the policy changes in higher education I have read so far. It also contains the best set of 'proposals for change' (p.149) - what a HE system ought to look like, with challenging disciplinary knowledge rather than student satisfaction at its core. Highly recommended.
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