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Customer Review

on 10 November 2013
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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