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vol. 61, no. 1, 2019 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

AUR

Australian Universities’Review


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King, D.A. (2004). What different countries get for their research spending. Nature, 430, 311–316.

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vol. 61, no. 1, 2019 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

Australian Universities’ Review 2

Letter from the editor Ian R Dobson

55 Whose future? Or why we need to think more expansively about the future of Australian higher education

ARTICLES

Richard Hil

3

Has the role of the university sector to do its mandated duty as a feeder for the neoliberal economy? It depends on ‘the future’.

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

This paper revisits the opportunities for citizenship, cooperative, and public economics and the responsibility of economics teachers. 12 Doctoral supervisory quality from the perspective of senior academic managers Margaret Kiley

This study sought to identify the barriers and supports for heads of department or similar when they are working with ‘unskilled or neglectful’ doctoral supervisors who might be deemed less than ideal. 22 Neoliberalism and new public management in an Australian university: The invisibility of our takeover Margaret Sims

In this paper the author takes an ‘autoethnographic approach’ to reflect on her experiences of the practices emerging from the neoliberal culture emerging at her and other universities. 31 Silencing behaviours in contested research & their implications for academic freedom Jacqui Hoepner

If ‘unpalatable’ research is attacked from outside universities, what is revealed about academic freedom? When academic work is curtailed, this cherished concept is undermined. The silencing of research based on moral objection rather than wrongdoing, suggests that academic freedom is constrained. 42 Publications, citations and impact factors: Myth and reality Robert Jeyakumar Nathan & Omar Bin Shawkataly

This paper presents an examination of the Malaysian scene on publication politics and practice, and some examples of ethical issues in publishing. OPINION 49 Free speech on Australian campuses: Hidden barriers Brian Martin

Speech at Australian universities is restricted, such as student protests against visiting speakers, defamation threats, cyber harassment and self-censorship being among them.

59 The Kantian University: Worldwide triumph and growing insecurity Simon Marginson

This modern history of the University was first delivered as an evening lecture to the National University of Ireland in Dublin, in November 2018. 71 Unveiling opportunities for hope: Is it too much to ask for a compassionate university? Bill Boyd & Airdre Grant

This paper ponders whether it is too much to ask for a ‘compassionate’ university. REVIEWS 76 It’s time! Whitlam’s Children: Labor and the Greens in Australia by Shaun Crowe Reviewed by Paul Rodan

78 I create, therefore I am Creativity Crisis. Toward a post-constructivist educational future by Robert Nelson Reviewed by Andrys Onsman

83 Management, corporations, business and society Business and Society: A Critical Introduction by Kean Birch et al. Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer and Reshman Tabassum

86 Managing Bullshit Business Bullshit by Andre Spicer Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer & Reshman Tabassum

93 Accounting for the university of the future The University of the Future: Can the Universities of today lead the learning of tomorrow? by Ernst and Young The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly by Ian D. Gow & Stuart Kells Reviewed by Tim Moore & Gordon Taylor


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Letter from the editor Ian R Dobson

This issue of Australian Universities’ Review comprises

elicited condemnation or constraint beyond ‘legitimate’

five scholarly refereed papers, three tantalising opinion

scholarly critique’.

pieces, and several book reviews.

Colleagues from Malaysia have prepared a paper about

The first paper comes from abroad, but its author

aspects of research publication misconduct in Malaysia. In

spent a decade at the University of Technology Sydney.

Publications, Citations and Impact Factor: Myth and Reality

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is now at the University of

by Robert Jeyakumar Nathan and Omar bin Shawkataly.

Helsinki, Finland. His concern in this paper is ‘…to revisit

Both authors have close links with the Malaysian

the opportunities for citizenship, cooperative, and public

Academic Movement (MOVE), the National Association

economics and the responsibility of economics teachers’.

for Academics in Malaysia.They outline publication trends

He looks at cooperative economics and citizenship and

in Malaysia and present a few recent examples of research

their place in the study of economics.

misconduct.

Next cab off the rank is a study about what senior

Opinion in this issue comes from three well-known

academic managers think about the supervisory quality

commentators on higher education. Brian Martin is

of PhD supervisors.This is the question asked by Margaret

widely known for his work on whistleblowing, and here

Kiley. Doctoral students’ relationship with their faculty

he offers a piece about ways that free speech is restricted

adviser is said to be the predominant factor in student

at Australian universities. ‘Self-censorship’ is included, and

decisions to continue or withdraw from their candidatures.

this can often be more overt than overt censorship.

However, heads of department and other senior academic

Richard Hil started his life as a commentator under a

managers ‘...know who the poorly performing doctoral

pseudonym: who could forget Joseph Gora’s insightful

supervisors are, but often they are not sure what they…

observations about universities and governance in his

can do to remedy the situation’.

columns in Campus Review Weekly and Australian

Margaret

Sims

is

well-qualified

for

her

topic

Universities’ Review? Unfortunately, he was always a bit

‘Neoliberalism and new public management in an

too close to the bone! He followed up with two fascinating

Australian University: the invisibility of our take-over’. Only

books on Australian higher education: must reads!

a couple of years ago, the University of New England had

Simon Marginson, now with the University of Oxford

to back down in the Federal Court case after it claimed

after stints with the Universities of London, Melbourne,

that Professor Sims, as branch president of the NTEU

and Monash University. His piece in this issue examines

could not also be on the university council, as reported

‘the University’ and how it has evolved. Read on! Finally,

in the Australian newspaper. In her paper, she notes that

Bill Boyd and Airdre Grant from Southern Cross University

‘The higher education sector in Australia is operating in an

look at ‘the compassionate university’.

ideological context in which the ideas of managerialism

Part of what AUR wants to bring to its readers is reviews

and neoliberalism combine to create a discourse shaping

of recently-published books.This issue has five reviews by

the lives of both workers and students’. This ‘managerial

regular reviewers Paul Rodan,Andrys Onsman and Thomas

privilege’ is bad for students, staff and the nation, she says.

Kilkauer, and another which looks at a report by Ernst and

Jacqui Hoepner’s paper is about attacks on ‘unpalatable’

Young (‘an exercise in speculation’), built into a review of

research, typically from outside universities, and the

a recent examination of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms.

impact of this ‘silencing’ on academic freedom? She says

I hope everyone enjoys the material here assembled!

that ‘When academic work is curtailed, this cherished

Ian R Dobson is Editor of Australian Universities’ Review, and an Adjunct Professional Staff member at Monash University, Australia.

yet misunderstood concept is undermined’. This paper is built on interviews with researchers ‘…whose work

2

Letter from the editor Ian R Dobson

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom University of Helsinki, Finland

In the current political economic dispensation, it is important to revisit the opportunities for citizenship, cooperative, and public economics and the responsibility of economics teachers. In doing so, it is essential to analyse the nature of the dominant pedagogical philosophy of individualism, probe what alternatives could be embraced, investigate whether citizenship is a superior compass, and ascertain how students respond to alternatives. The case study reported in this paper demonstrates not only that individualism is problematic but also that citizenship, public and cooperative economics have much prospect of success. Students who are enrolled in economics subjects could show substantial awareness of social justice and, based on their own account, that awareness could be increased. Overall, students appreciate the opportunity to challenge the status quo. If so, citizenship and cooperative economics have a place in the study of economics – contrary to the widely held view that they are irrelevant. It is the responsibility of teachers to expose the ideology of this impossibility view, emphasise the possibilities for cooperative economics and citizenship, and empower students to question and become citizens. Keywords: citizenship, cooperative economics, property, teachers

Introduction

of study and, if so, how are such subjects received by students?

It is the responsibility of economics teachers to empower students through teaching cooperative and public

Individualism

economics and citizenship (in the context of teaching people to be good citizens). This responsibility is much

The principal mainstream economics philosophy to

like ‘the responsibility of intellectuals’ more generally

be challenged by political economists is individualism.

(Chomsky, 1967), but economics teachers are also in

According to the proponents of this pedagogical world

a unique position. They have a particularly sensitive

view, economics teachers must simply be guided by

responsibility because our material conditions of life

a demand-driven philosophy. Economics teachers, the

depend on the ideas and practices of their students, as

argument goes, must simply supply the skills demanded

they assume important decision-making positions in the

by students who enrol in economics courses. According

global system. For this reason, and because, with few

to this view, such students only seek skills on how to

respectable exceptions, studies in cooperative and public

make money within the ‘reality’ of the capitalist system.

economics have focused less on teaching (see, for a review,

In this sense, teaching how to solve the problems of

Geerkens, 2008; Marini & Thiry, 2018), it is important to

accumulation for industry must, therefore, be the primary

probe how this mandate of economics teachers can best

focus of teachers because that commitment is assumed to

be used.What pedagogical principles must be challenged?

be the primary demand by students. Making students job-

What alternatives could be embraced? Can cooperative

ready is an apt description of how teachers of economics

economics and citizenship animate an actual subject

must see themselves. Theoretically, this line of thinking

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

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can be located within the human capital theory of Gary

Markets, then, are not only designed to reflect these

Becker (1962) and George Stigler (1970) but, in modern

sentiments, they are also the best allocator of resources

times, they can also be seen in the work of David Colander

and the best mechanism to aid in decision making.

(2003) and Edward Glaeser (2011) to the extent that their

Consequently, teaching ‘critical thinking’ is rare in

version of human capital theory prioritises individual

economics courses in which students are encouraged

skills as the primary determinant of employability and,

to uncritically follow the theories of the masters. In one

when employed, of the wage relation.

recent, widely discussed media review of 172 general

For others, notably the Dutch philosopher Michael

economics modules at seven universities in the UK,

Merry, under capitalism, there are no options for

it was established that 78 per cent of exam questions

citizenship, public and cooperative economics education

simply asked the student to show mastery of theories

to flourish (see, for example, Merry, 2018a, 2018b).

and equations without any independent or critical

According to him, in a capitalist system, the function of

thinking, while for compulsory subjects, sometimes called

education is to serve private interests. So, even if it were

‘fundamentals’, and the more widely taken by economics

desirable to teach cooperative economics and citizenship,

students, 93 per cent of exam questions had no place for

it is impossible to do so, as education under capitalism is,

critical analysis and thinking (Guardian, 2016).

inherently, designed to serve this economic system. From these perspectives, education is entirely

Most of the claims that percolate the design of such programs are, however, based on untested assumptions.

a private affair and the public must not support it

Therefore, it

financially. Bryan Caplan’s arguments in the book, The

systematically and empirically. The existing attempts at

is

important

to

test

these

claims

Case Against Education: Why the Education System is

doing so have been highly informative. The contributions

a Waste of Time and Money (2018), exemplify this line

to two recent special issues of the Journal of Australian

of thinking. The teaching implications of this view are

Political Economy (Nos. 75 and 80), as well as the

undeveloped even in the best books on methodological

various chapters in Advancing Pluralism in Teaching

individualism such as S. Charusheela’s Structuralism

Economics (Decker et al., 2019), show what is wrong

and Individualism in Economic Analysis (2005) and

with economics teaching and why economists remain

Sonya Scott’s Architectures of Economic Subjectivity

adamantly opposed to criticisms of their pedagogical

(2013).The key teaching practice of this pedagogy is the

approaches. Kavous Ardalan’s recent book, Case Method

top-down lecture model.

and Pluralist Economics: Philosophy, Methodology and

What are the implications of pedagogical individualism

Practice (2018), ‘applies a multiparadigmatic approach to

for teachers? First, teachers must follow the pattern of

education’ (p. x) and, as Ardalan notes, ‘The book argues

demand by students.Teachers who deviate from satisfying

that both the case method and pluralist economics

the pre-conceived wants of students will be poorly rated

emanate from the same foundational philosophy that

by the students, as the students will find their teaching

views the world as being socially constructed and that

irrelevant. Second, if teachers merely affirm what students

both of them advocate pluralism.’ (p. x).

want and there are problems for everyone in the world,

Strong on the philosophical foundations of alternative

the teachers must be absolved of responsibility because, as

pedagogy, Ardalan’s study can be better demonstrated

with the ‘Nuremberg Defence’ or the ‘Apartheid Defence’,

with an actual case study, especially focused on teaching

the teachers were merely following superior orders: the

property economics, a field that has received little critical

consumer-student is literally, and figuratively,‘king’. In The

engagement by political economists, although it is a major

Mirage of Social Justice, the Austrian economist Friedrich

area for investigating, for example, the property relations

Hayek provides a distinctive defence (Hayek, 1976/1998;

that were central to the last global crisis. Masson Gaffney’s

Brown, 2010): markets are impersonal, so neither justice

(2015) emphasis on the role of property economics in the

nor injustice can be attributed to anyone. The concept of

last financial crisis is important in this sense, but that work

social justice is, from this perspective, entirely bankrupt.

does not examine how an alternative teaching pedagogy

As it is not clear to whom social justice is directed, it

in property economics might contribute to redressing

follows that it is not clear to whose standards justice must

what Anne Haila (2017) has called ‘institutionalising the

conform; and, hence, it is not clear how social justice can

property mind’.Within the context of the responsibility of

co-exist with citizenship.Third, even if teachers wanted to,

economics teachers, that is what a citizenship pedagogy

they could not possibly succeed in teaching cooperative

seeks to do.

economics and citizenship.

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Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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Citizenship Political economists can embrace citizenship as a

Reasoning:

superior pedagogical framework. From this perspective,

e.g. Plato

studying economics is not about oneself at all but, instead, about helping others, the entire world society, and the environment. In her paper ‘Teaching economics’, Joan Robinson, the eminent Cambridge economist, noted that

Citizenship

‘The serious student is often attracted to economics by humanitarian feeling and patriotism – he wants to learn how to choose economic policies that will increase human welfare’ (Robinson, 1960, p. 173). By welfare,

Problems: e.g. Dewey

Care:

e.g. Rousseau

Robinson, means citizenship; not the individualism in ‘welfare economics’, which Robinson calls ‘a system of ideas based on a mechanistic psychology of a completely individualistic pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain, which no one believes to be a correct account of human

Source: Broom, 2010

nature, dished up in algebraical formulae which do not

Figure 1: Teaching citizenship

even pretend to be applicable to actual data’ (Robinson, 1960, p. 173). Citizenship is about fellow-feeling. It can include self-

about education that promotes global citizenship (United

love, even self-interest that does not harm others, but

Nations, 2018). According to the General Secretary of

citizenship is opposed to selfishness and individualism.

the National Tertiary Education Union, ‘Education trade

In his keynote address to the International Association

unions are part of the solution not part of the problem.

for Citizenship, Social and Economic Education (IACSEE),

After all SDG 4 depends on the supply and knowledge

Richard Pring (2016) notes that citizenship includes

of qualified education professionals in all sectors’

a strong concern for the public good, a nuanced

(McCulloch, 2018, p. 2).

understanding of political context, a focus on social justice

Can this philosophy ground university subjects in the

and a commitment to civic society. So, citizenship is not

current political economic dispensation? Economists

only an academic pursuit, or even just a political activity

think not, but Catherine Broom of the Education

of asserting rights and meeting obligations. Citizenship is,

Department at the University of British Columbia has

in addition, a bigger question of one’s contribution to the

shown that it can. She offers three examples, as shown

common good.There is the understanding part, the doing

in Figure 1.

part, and the action part of citizenship entailing taking

Broom’s conceptualisation gives three, intertwining

action to ensure, to enhance, or to maintain a climate of

dimensions of citizenship education. The first draws on

citizenship. Detailed elaboration of these ideas can be

Plato’s dialogue to develop students’ critical reasoning

found on the pages of Citizenship, Social and Economics

skills that enable engagement with the concerns of society.

Education, the flagship journal of IACSEE.

Here, the teacher leads a process of turning students into

Many other concerned citizens and citizen organisations

concerned thinkers. Rousseau’s approach, the second,

have contributed to this effort. Over the years, the

interlinked dimension to teaching citizenship, shares with

Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society

Plato the concern for a citizenship education. However,

published the journal, The Good Society, to emphasise

Rousseau’s approach more strongly emphasises teaching

the importance of citizenship education. Indeed, the

students citizenship based on care for their own needs.

journal now elevates ‘civic studies’ to the position of what

So, in this sense, while Plato’s approach prioritises the

Trygve Throntveit (2016, p.132) has called ‘subtitular

leadership of the teacher, Rousseau’s pedagogy is student-

eponym’ to animate a renewed emphasis on demanding

led, emphasising that there is no one universal ‘thing’ to

civic rights and giving civic duties to one another, to

teach students because every student cohort has its own

society, and to the environment. To ‘Ensure inclusive and

characteristics which must drive the pedagogy. John

quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’

Dewey’s pedagogy being the third, interlocking aspect

is the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4. Target 4.7 is

of citizenship pedagogy invites a learning approach

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

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centred on investigating the political-economic structures

can be found in the teachings of John Dewey in books

that shape students’ realities. In the Dewey approach to

such as Schools of To-morrow (1915, with Evelyn Dewey)

pedagogy, the interest of learners is in the critical analysis

and Democracy and Education (1916/1997) which, as

of, critical reflections on, and critical practicalities about

Christopher England (2018) has shown, were influenced

transcending social problems – regardless of the positions

by the ideas of Henry George. George is widely credited

of student and teacher.

with tirelessly putting the case for starting social analysis

Broom’s aim in juxtaposing these approaches to

and learning about the social world through an emphasis

developing pedagogies of citizenship is not to emphasise

on land and landed property and the problems they

differences or disagreement of what is the best or right

generate, as Richard Ely, the founder of land economics

way of teaching citizenship. Rather, the point is to show

as a university course, once famously noted (Ely, 1917). It

that citizenship can be taught in diverse ways. My own

does not mean that the class is all about Henry George but

experience as a teacher confirms Broom’s contentions,

rather about the idea – consistently developed by George,

but my pedagogy has been an interlocking function of a

for example, in Social Problems (1883), The Crime of

diversity of approaches, not a product of any one particular

Poverty (1885), and The Science of Political Economy

dimension. I mix aspects of Plato, Rousseau, and Dewey in

(1898) – that private property is the root of all evil.

the ‘Property and Political Economy (PPE)’ subject that I

In this subject, students are also introduced to the

taught at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia

texts written by the oppressed, including women,

for about ten years.

people of colour, and Indigenous communities. Similarly,

PPE is a pluralist political economy subject in the sense

students are introduced to the work of economists who

that it refuses to accept mainstream economics (icluding

were usually not to be found on the reading lists of the

neoclassical and new institutional economics) as the

typical property economics courses around the world.

only school of economics that has something useful to

Papers in economics journals are studied alongside those

say about property relations and the property industry.

published in political economy journals, journals of

The study unit questions ‘property for profit’ as the only

geography, science, and education. In addition, the reports

valid vision for property economists, and rejects the

of neoliberal think tanks, including the World Bank,

pedagogical individualism that defines most property

are studied. So, pluralism in PPE is not just in terms of

economics subjects. Critical of the usual view in property

engaging alternative ideas but also in terms of listening to

economics teaching that the teacher is the ‘expert’,

marginalised voices, including those of students.

presenting ‘technical’ ideas that cannot be questioned

The three-hour PPE class is interactive and integrates

(Obeng-Odoom, 2017), the subject invites students to

feedback within the learning environment. I would teach

the controversies in schools of economics, how various

for an hour, the students and I would discuss the readings

schools conceive of property, and how the choice of

in a tutorial that lasts another hour, and the last hour would

one school shapes one’s methodological and ontological

be devoted to student debates adjudged by a panel of

views, as well as the range of one’s policy preferences.

student-judges. My lecture slides would usually be posted

The importance of the mainstream view is highlighted

before class to facilitate pre-class student preparation.

but so are its contradictions and why, despite its failings,

Pre-class reading and pre-class reflections are enabled by

landed interests continue to support the approach with

making required readings and tutorial questions available

minor adjustments such as embracing ‘green property

to students before class. Feedback is given both within

development’ which, as research has shown (e.g.,

and outside class. So, dialoguing with students about the

Wilkinson, 2013), is merely another vehicle to make profit.

learning material, or the ‘case study’, is a central pedagogic

PPE was born from, continues to exist to shed greater

practice – drawing on Paulo Freire’s teaching philosophy,

light on, and strives to provide an environment in which

espoused in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) –

students can develop more sophisticated frameworks that

in contrast to the prevailing functionalist philosophies

are better able to explain, and transcend, the property

animated by the lecture-heavy teaching practice in which

basis of the dispossession and marginalisation of groups

the primary concern of the teacher is teaching to serve the

such as Indigenous people, women, and racially oppressed

subject/field; not necessarily to enhance transformative

minorities. Generally, students are invited to an organising

learning (Ardalan, 2018). My ‘dialogue’ is, however, not

hypothesis

relations

just about developing reason or critical thinking skills for

constitute the bedrock from which social, economic, and

public engagement (Plato), but also to enable the students

environmental problems arise. This analytical philosophy

to critically reflect on social problems (Dewey).

6

that

property

and

property

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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Why study PPE? Wk1

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Analytical approaches in Prosperity Economics Wk2

Actually existing Indigenous land rights vs ‘desirable’ property Wk7

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Figure 2: Themes, specific topics and structure Dialoguing this way has been enabled by a keen interest

begins with the debate about the commons, especially the

to know more about students through engagement with

so-called ‘tragedy of the commons’, the liberal alternative

others who better understand them and with students

by Elinor Ostrom, and the more radical contestation by

themselves (Rousseau). I have learnt, over the years, from

Henry George, while weeks 4 to 6 examine the ideology

highly effective teachers of political economy, such as Frank

of resource curse and some controversies about the

Stilwell, Australia’s eminent teacher emeritus (Mearman,

explanation of women’s marginalisation in resource-rich

2014; O’Donnell, 2014) either by meeting him to discuss

societies. With week 7 seeking to introduce students to

pedagogy, by watching him teach, or by reading his

the nature of Indigenous property rights/possession-based

extensive writings on the subject (Stilwell, 2005, 2006, 2011,

system versus how international development agencies

2012). I studied under Frank Stilwell and was privileged to

regard these rights, week 8 confronts the prevailing policy

tutor in the ‘Economics as a Social Science’ subject that he

position that Indigenous land rights are inferior and an

taught for over 40 years at the University of Sydney (see, for

impediment to growth. Much of the students’ education

example, Stilwell, 2011; Obeng-Odoom, 2017).

about sustainability relates to ecological modernisation,

During that time, I received feedback on my tutoring

so in week 9, we revisit property-based formulations,

which helped me to further develop my own classes when

especially the Lockean-Hardin notion that private

I became a teacher myself. Since then, I have also benefited

property (and, in some respects, market instruments),

from the feedback of students whether in formal surveys

about the economy, society, and environment, while week

organised by the university or via invited feedback when

10 appraises the debates on the limits to growth, including

I have met the students. Colleagues have also offered

the idea of green buildings, the Jevons Paradox critique

feedback when I have sought it or through departmental

and the need for a radically green society, economy and

processes, including the learning futures program. I

environment. Week 10 brings the PPE story together,

also enrolled in the diploma in education program and

by emphasising its key themes and a unifying logic of

completed one crucial subject on constructive alignment.

property, citizenship, and the good society.

In short, my teaching philosophy and teaching practices have been developed collectively. Figure 2 provides an overview of PPE in a typical

Evaluating citizenship as a pedagogical philosophy

semester. In week 1, the case for the subject is firmly and clearly made, while the analytical approach taken

How have students seen their role as citizens in evaluating

by the subject is developed in week 2 through a critical

PPE? The results of surveys of students enrolled in

examination of the debates between the natural rights

the Property and Political Economy subject designed

and conventional schools of property economics. Week 3

to provide/increase critical thinking, social justice

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

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Table 1: Responses to Survey Questions on PPE and Social Justice Contribution to: Rating

Critical Thinking Skills

%

Social Justice Awareness

%

Driving Per% sonal Action for Just Causes

Social Impact Framework

%

5 (strongly Agree)

23

49

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26

7

15

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15

4

20

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21

45

14

30

24

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3

4

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15

32

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3

2

0

0

2

4

9

19

0

0

1 (Strongly Disagree)

0

0

0

0

2

4

0

0

47

100

47

100

47

100

46

100

Total*

Source: Author’s Fieldwork, 2017. * Rounding errors apply

awareness, and a general empowering education for

into themes with specific code names, in this approach to

property economists can provide some tentative answers.

data analysis, frequency tables are prepared after tallying

Although the subject outline clearly explains that the PPE

common responses to the questions that students were

subject aims to develop these attributes, it is important

asked. Representative statements within certain themes

to do such a survey to establish the congruence between

are marked and quoted to animate the theme. In addition,

what is promised and what students judge as delivered. In

the university carries out statistical analyses such as mean

any case, it is not always that ‘what an instructor thinks is

and standard deviation tests for the outcomes of the

being taught is what students learn; the two processes are

student feedback service. So, when useful, these analyses

sometimes disconnected’ (Wilson & Meyer, 2011, p. 754).

also ooze into the results of the study.

Accordingly, carrying out the survey was warranted. On October 11, 2017, 49 students were issued with the

Results

questionnaires but two did not answer the questions on social justice, so the number of respondents was 47.

Between 2011 and 2017 when I progressively made

Another student answered all the questions except the one

citizenship a central pedagogical framework, the overall

on social impact framework, so for that specific question,

rating for the subject has increased from 2.21 to 4.08

the total number of responses was 46. I was out of the

(out of a maximum of 5.00).The overall rating for student

room throughout the time of the survey, returning only

satisfaction with staff has increased from 2.57 to 4.48 (out

when I received the student questionnaire administrator’s

of a maximum of 5.00); and the relative ranking of the

email to return. Upon coming back, I received a signed

subject against the course average has risen from about 1

and sealed envelope with the completed questionnaires

point below the course average to over 1 point above the

all of which were anonymous. This approach has been

course average.

successfully used in previous studies (e.g., Wilson

The subject is also well regarded for (a) developing the

& Meyer, 2011; Stilwell, 2011) on social justice and

critical thinking skills of students and (b) contributing to

pedagogy. The questions asked were informed by what

raising awareness about social injustice and teaching new

political economists consider to be the key ambitions for

ways of thinking about social justice and (c) being at least

citizenship (Schneider, 2013), namely critical thinking,

analytically relevant and hence helping to do something

social justice awareness, and the praxis of social justice.

about it. Table 1 contains a summary of the responses by

I relied on two other approaches for complementary data. I conducted open debates about the relevance of

students to the question about how PPE contributes to these three attributes.

the subject to the career of the students and relied on

Table 1 shows that 90 per cent of the students strongly

student feedback surveys conducted by the university

agree or agree that the subject enhanced their critical

over the years. These methods led to the generation of

thinking. Students’ qualitative comments include: ‘It

both numeric and qualitative data.

challenges you to think outside of your normal thought

Following similar studies (Stilwell, 2011; Wilson &

process about things you wouldn’t normally consider’;

Meyer, 2011), I used the technique of content analysis to

‘Your debate is a prime example of this’,‘Critical thinking

make the data meaningful. Starting with grouping the data

in the scope of property relations is core’, ‘Continually

8

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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referenced critiques are discussed in every lecture’, and

with’ (student who rated ‘3’ on both awareness and

‘By having to question every reading, we are able to come

personal drive). Another noted that ‘I have taken on a

up with our own understanding of the meaning and

new understanding of the concept. However, I was always

truths of each reading.’

surrounded [or always aware of the topic]by the topic’

Through citizenship, other aspects of student learning

(student rating ‘4’ on both awareness and personal action).

have also been enhanced. For example, over 70 per cent

For a student rating ‘5’ and ‘3’ on awareness and action,

strongly agreed/agreed that the subject has raised their

s/he was ‘Made much more aware about issue facing

levels of awareness about social justice. About 68 per

oppressed people/groups. But don’t really see what else

cent strongly agreed/agreed that the subject seeks to

I can do’; ‘Able to rethink how poverty/social injustice

‘contribute to increased public good, social mobility and

is caused by + ways it is trapped that way’. ‘Through

equity; support the creation of enabling environments

my personality’, one student said, this ‘subject has made

for communities to thrive; [and] positively influence and

me know more’ (student rating ‘5’ and ‘3’ respectively

impact the public, the individual and the systematic forces

on awareness and personal action) and another student

that shape justice’, a statement printed in the university

noted, ‘I already had a personal concern for social justice.

‘Social Impact Framework’. Students’ comments include:

I learnt more injustices but did not increase an already

‘I feel the approach of the subject was even handed’; ‘It

long concern’ (student rating ‘4’ on awareness and ‘3’

explores very important and fundamental issues to poverty,

on personal action). These results, then, are similar to

income inequality which leads to more perspectives and

the findings of J.L Wilson and K.A. Meyer (2011, p. 757)

insights’; ‘Insights new ways of looking at topics such as

who, in seeking to establish how much their course

climate + poverty’; ‘I found the gist of the subject was to

had contributed to social justice awareness among their

critique capitalism (fairly) and learn about other systems

students, found that the students were ‘no tabula rasa or a

that could benefit society’; ‘makes students more aware’;

blank slate’ but had had some exposure to social justice in

and ‘most socially aware subject in the course’.

their varied experiences in life.

Students are less enthusiastic about personally

What about the career advantages of education in

committing to social justice. Indeed, only 45 per cent said

cooperative economics and citizenship? When asked

the subject helped them to commit to social justice. Does

about how the students rate the contribution of PPE to

this prove the well-known view that property economics

‘practical and professional skills’, some 53 per cent of

students are selfish or care less about social justice, even

the students found PPE relevant and 61 per cent found

if they are aware of it? The qualitative answers seem not.

it particularly relevant to ‘innovation and creativity’. So,

Rather, many students are concerned about social justice,

whether it is in doing further studies, working in the

so the question looked redundant. What the students

private sector as property consultants, or following a

praised was that they have become more aware and

path in property valuation, the dominant career paths

developed better analytical frameworks to understand

of property economics students, (on careers in property

and transcend mainstream debates.

economics, see, for example, Obeng-Odoom and Ameyaw,

While a small minority noted that they are practically

2010), education in citizenship has evident advantages. If

or ideologically unconcerned – even if they are now

so, it is the responsibility of economics teachers to reject

more aware. In their words: ‘I have become more aware,

the ideological claim that (property) economics students

however some of my views do not align with what we

have no exposure to, or are not interested in, social justice.

are taught’ (student rating ‘5’ and ‘3’ on awareness and

As teachers, we can, and must, embrace citizenship; not

personal action). Another said, ‘I am more aware, but it

individualism.

is not relevant to my career. The subject is irrelevant to my future career’ (student rating ‘3’ and ‘1’ on personal

Conclusion

action), while a third noted that ‘The real world doesn’t care about feelings’ (student rating ‘3’ and ‘1’ on personal

The final class of PPE typically features a debate. In 2017,

commitment).

the motion was ‘Private property is the root of all evil’.

However, most students have become more aware and

This debate was fascinating, showing brilliant arguments

appreciate the skills they have developed to understand

from the students on both sides of the debate.The student

and analyse social (in)justice better. As one student put it:

judges voted for the affirmative team on the basis that its

‘I don’t feel I’ve become more aware but simply gained

arguments, and evidence, better represented the social

a deeper understanding of these topics I was familiar

world, but praised the negative team for their analytical

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

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skills.The takeaway point, as I discussed with the students

students to question the practices of property, and to

after class, was to realise, and to keep, a critical and

teach property economics as a social science rather

pluralist gaze as citizens.

than as an uncritical, so-called technical vocational study

The notes on my power point slides in 2017

which, in fact, institutionalises property as a science that

emphasised five take away points from PPE. First, that our

exists to protect, to advance, and to justify the narrow

world today – the largely capitalist world – is based on

interests of propertied classes (Obeng-Odoom, 2016).

the idea that more private property is better than more

My experiences suggest that, based on the opportunities

public property. Second, by both real-world evidence

provided by cooperative economics and citizenship,

and logical analysis, private property in land/all natural

taking such a responsibility is highly valued by students,

resources generates grotesque social problems. Third, the

especially if done in dialogue with them – rather than

choice is not just between private and public property –

as a sermon.

there is also common property. Fourth, beyond good/bad/ blessing/evil, we have learnt that, focusing on property

Acknowledgements

and property rights, can help us to understand and explain the world system and its many problems/processes and,

I am grateful to my students and AUR reviewers for their

crucially, offer ideas of transcending the capitalist world.

helpful comments.

Finally, I pointed out that the first four points demonstrate that ‘we’ (I emphasise that I too took their course as a

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is with Development Studies and the

student) should not just blend in (merely thinking of

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) at the

ourselves as fund managers, valuers, asset managers,

University of Helsinki, where he is Associate Professor of

corporate real estate advisers, property managers, and

Sustainability Science.

developers) – but also stand out and stand up as property

Contact: franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi

economists seeking to analyse critically and reconstruct the world in which we live. A key impediment to realising this aspiration is the composition, and orientation, of members of faculty. Many teachers are also property investors, so they tend to indoctrinate students along similar lines. In addition, landed interests, retained as accreditation bodies (e.g., professional associations that exist among others to offer professional services for the propertied classes), nudge the system into uncritical terrain. The self-preservation of the teachers and the activities of landed interests set up what Gunnar Myrdal (1944) called forces of ‘combined and cumulative causation’, for example, through the recruitment of teachers, the invitation of guest speakers to inspire students, and methodologies which perpetuate the system of teaching based on individualism. Such evident indoctrination, however, cannot be allowed to continue and neither should teachers stand aloof apparently in obedience to the market. As this case study shows, (a) students who are enrolled in economics subjects show awareness of social justice (b) the awareness of social justice can be increased (c) overall, students appreciate being taught to challenge the status quo. Critical and radical pedagogies, therefore, have a place in the study of (property) economics. There are opportunities for cooperative and citizenship economics and it is the responsibility of teachers to advance them, to expose the ideology of property, to empower

10

Economics, education and citizenship Franklin Obeng-Odoom

References Ardalan, K. (2018). Case Method and Pluralist Economics: Philosophy, Methodology and Practice, Springer, New York. Becker, G. S, (1962). Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis. Journal of Political Economy, 70(5,) Part 2: Investment in Human Beings, 9-49. Broom, C. (2010). Conceptualizing and teaching citizenship as humanity. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 9(3), 6-14. Brown, D. (2010). Flaws inherent in the Hayekian critique of social justice. Conspicuous Assumption: The University of Sydney Student Journal of Political Economy, 1(1), 21-26. Caplan, B. (2018). The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. Charusheela, S. (2005). Structuralism and Individualism in Economic Analysis: The ‘Contractionary Devaluation Debate’ in Development Economics, Routledge, London. Chomsky, N. (1967). The responsibility of intellectuals. The New York Review of Books, February 23. Colander, D. C. ((2003), ‘The Complexity Revolution and the Future of Economics’, Discussion Paper 3 -19, Department of Economics, Middlebury College, Vermont. Decker S, Elsner W, and Flechtner S (eds.), (2019). Advancing Pluralism in Teaching Economics: International Perspectives on a Textbook Science, Routledge, London. Dewey, J., & Dewey, E. (1915). Schools of To-morrow. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications Inc. Dewey, J. (1916/1997). Democracy and Education: An introduction to philosophy of education. New York: NY: Free Press Ely, R.T. (1917). Landed Property as an Economic Concept and as a Field of vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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Robinson J, 1960, Teaching economics. The Economic Weekly Annual, January, 173 -175.

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Schneider, G. (2013). Student evaluations, grade inflation and pluralistic teaching: Moving from customer satisfaction to student learning and critical thinking. Forum for Social Economics, 42(1), 122-135.

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Scott, S. (2013). Architectures of Economic Subjectivity: The Philosophical Foundations of the Subject in the History of Economic Thought, Routledge, London.

Glaeser, E. (2011) Triumph of the city. London: Pan Books. Guardian (The). (2016). Economics teaching is still neglecting critical thought, 17 November. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/economicsblog/2016/nov/17/economics-teaching-is-still-neglecting-critical-thought Hayek F.A. ([1976] 1998). The Mirage of Social Justice, 2. Routledge, London. Haila A. (2017). Institutionalizing ‘the property mind’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41 (3), pp. 500-507. Marini, M. & Thiry, B. (2018). An enduring platform for public and cooperative economics research: A centennial perspective. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 89(1), 5-10. McCulloch, G. (2018). UN Sustainable Development Goal 4. Advocate, 25(1).

Stigler, G.J. (1970). The case, if any, for economic literacy. Journal of Economic Education, Spring, 77-84 Stilwell, F. (2005). Teaching Political Economy: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Proceedings of the Eleventh Australasian Teaching Economics Conference: Innovation for Student Engagement in Economics. Sydney University, 107118. Stilwell, F. (2006). The Struggle for Political Economy at the University of Sydney, Review of Radical Political Economics. 38(4), Fall, 539-550. Stilwell, F. (2011). Teaching a Pluralist Course in Economics: The University of Sydney Experience. International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2(1), 39-56.

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Doctoral supervisory quality from the perspective of senior academic managers Margaret Kiley Australian National University

It has been suggested in the literature that the relationship with a doctoral supervisor is the predominant factor in student decisions to continue or withdraw from their candidatures. However, anecdotally it is not uncommon to hear heads of department, faculty deans and those in similar positions say that they know who the poorly-performing doctoral supervisors are, but often they are not sure what they, or others can do to remedy the situation. This study is based on interviews with 34 senior staff in order to understand how they identified supervisors who they generally considered less than ideal in the way they supervised doctoral candidates. This was followed by how they addressed, often, the multiple issues involved. The results provide helpful insights for staff in leadership positions as well as those whose role it is to support doctoral education, and particularly candidates and supervisors. Keywords: doctoral education, PhD supervision

Aim

supervisors would have revealed a more comprehensive picture, this modest beginning presents one aspect of this

The aim of this study was to identify the barriers and

complex picture.

supports for heads of department or similar when they are working with doctoral supervisors who might

Context

be deemed less than ideal, for example: unskilled or neglectful.The research questions addressed were: Within

There is substantial research to indicate that poor research

an Australian context how do Heads of Department

supervision is associated with doctoral delays and non-

define troublesome, unprofessional or poorly performing

completions (see for example Amundsen & McAlpine, 2009;

research supervisors and what, if anything they do about

Gardner, 2009; Platow, 2011).Therefore, identifying ways in

them? In the Australian situation the role of the head of

which senior staff can identify and then respond to issues

department is critical given that generally the dean of

of poor performance in supervisors was deemed to be one

graduate research has little or no authority over staff in

way of addressing the issue of unprofessional supervision.

departments. Note, this study was particularly from the

Of note, performance here was not referring to numbers of

perspective of senior academic managers. While there is

publications and grants, but rather the way staff performed

no doubt that a broader study involving candidates and

their supervisory work with candidates and colleagues. At

12

Doctoral supervisory quality from the perspective of senior academic managers Margaret Kiley

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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the coursework teaching level (bachelor’s and master’s)

of supervision such as: unselfishness and respect. In

it is often possible to identify poorly-performing lecturers

a more recent study Davis and Kiley (2018) found that

through course and teaching evaluations. However, it

the affective dimensions of supervisors were by far the

is generally recognised that it is much more difficult to

most common with regard to candidates’ comments on

identify and quantify supervisory performance.

the ideal supervisor. However, one of the difficulties with

Despite the difficulty in identifying supervisors of

such findings is the idea that sometimes ‘tough love’ is

concern there are reports such as the article by Grove

much appreciated after submission of the thesis but not

(2016) who writes about the ‘toxic’ supervisor and

necessarily during the process.

‘students from hell’ and Grant (2004) the master/

It is important here to gain some insight into how heads

slave relationship. Specifically related to supervisors,

of department know who are the poorly performing,

Chamberlain (2016 pp. 1-3) proposes a number of different

unprofessional supervisors for whom they are responsible.

types of unprofessional behaviour such as: cheap labour;

Many universities, particularly in Australia, require

the ‘ghost supervisor’; collateral damage; the combatant;

candidates and supervisors to complete an annual report,

creepy crawlers; and the captivate and con supervisor.

with some even requiring six-monthly reports. However,

In their study of supervisory quality Lofstrom and

Mewburn, Cuthbert, and Tokareva (2014) undertook

Pyhalto (2017) used a model of ethical principles based

interviews with 20 candidates and 15 supervisors to

on Kitchener (1985, 2000) with the qualities: ‘1. respect

find out the efficacy and value of such annual reports.

for autonomy, 2. avoiding harm (non-maleficence),

They found that there was a diversity of views about the

3. benefiting others (beneficence), 4. being just (justice)

purpose and audience with most assuming ‘effectively no

and 5. being faithful (fidelity)’ (Italics in the original p.

audience’ (p. 8). Furthermore, ‘no candidate expressed

233). The framework was applied to data they collected

the desire or willingness to comment on supervisor

from Finnish supervisors and candidates in the natural

performance in writing’ (p. 5).

and behavioural science. They found that: ‘A substantial

In light of the above, the New South Wales (Australia)

portion of the ethical dilemmas in the data pertained to

Ombudsman, in a recent report, asked the question: why

non-maleficence, typically exploitation’ (p. 242).

do universities find complaints regarding supervisors to

On the other hand, research by Golde (2000) and

others

suggests

that

a

supportive

be problematic? The report argues that the relationship

advising

between supervisor and candidate is a complex one and:

[supervising] relationship is central to successful and

If a dispute arises it almost always centres on events that occurred when two individuals were alone in a room having a conversation that does not exist outside their respective memories, which rarely align. A third party, investigating a complaint, has nothing they can definitively rely on to determine where the truth lies. (Ombudsman, 2016 p. 3)

timely completion and particularly as an agent for socialisation into the discipline, the institution, and a scholarly approach to research. There are a number of books written for academic staff who are setting out on the course of becoming an effective supervisor (for example Denholm & Evans, 2007; Anne Lee, 2012; Taylor, Kiley, & Humphrey, 2018; Walker & Thomsom,

In light of the importance of good supervision, and the

2010; Wisker, 2012). Unsurprisingly they have a common

difficulty in evaluating supervision in ways that universities

thread related to discussing and managing expectations,

might evaluate undergraduate teaching this small-scale

recognising individual differences, creating a positive

study set out to ask Heads of Department or equivalent:

relationship, and managing the research process.

• What they thought made a ‘good/poor’; ‘professional/

In addition to books, there are numerous publications related to being a ‘good’ supervisor with most research findings recognising the important aspects of the affective rather than simply the cognitive qualities of the supervisor. For example, from student interviews Janssen

unprofessional’; or ‘well performing/ poorly performing’ supervisor; • How they knew about these supervisors, especially the negative ones; and • What they did about them.

(2005) reports qualities such as: availability; interest

However, it is worth noting that one of the first

and enthusiasm; good communication; approachability

challenges associated with the study was deciding on the

and rapport. Adrian Lee, Dennis, and Campbell (2007)

term to use to describe supervisors who generally were

undertook analysis of applications to the journal Nature

not very good! Poorly performing? Unprofessional? Staff

for their Mentor of the Year award and the results

of concern? Difficult? Various terms are used here to give

indicate again, a strong focus on the affective aspects

a sense of the language used by interviewees.

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Following ethics approval, deans of graduate research in

from science, technology, engineering and mathematics

each of the seven universities involved in the study were

(STEM) areas.Twenty were female and 14 were male (See

approached and asked to introduce the researcher and her

Table 3).

project to relevant staff in their institution.These were staff that the dean thought might be prepared to participate in the study. Once the message was sent out by email, potential

Table 3: Number of interviewees by discipline and gender Female

interviewees were asked to contact the researcher directly in order to ensure that the institution’s dean of graduate research would not know who had been involved. In most cases, the interviews were held individually, although, at one university there were six staff who

HASS

Male 14

Total 8

22

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12

Total

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opted for a group discussion. Each individual participant was interviewed for approximately 30 minutes with the

In order to analyse the data, each interview record was

interview recorded and then noted whereas the group

read a number of times with major issues coded against

discussion went closer to an hour. The 34 interviewees

the following four key questions. The codes were then

came from seven different universities across three states

categorised into the major themes outlined in Tables, 4, 5

of Australia as detailed in Table 1.

and 6. Questions asked were: • What defined a ‘professional’ doctoral supervisor?

Table 1: Interviewees by type of University Type of University

• What constituted a ‘difficult or unprofessional’ doctoral

N=

Australian Technology Network

9

Innovative Research University

6

Group of Eight

4

Regional

1

supervisor? • How

did

interviewees

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who

were

the

unprofessional staff? • How were the issues addressed? What worked and what did not? Of note, several interviewees found it easier to describe

Non-aligned

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the staff who they considered to be professional or

Total

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‘good’ supervisors before they began describing the difficult ones. As a result, the findings below begin on

As Table 2 outlines, of the 34 interviewees 13 were

a positive note and then move onto the more negative

heads of department, seven held the role of associate

aspects. As commented earlier, this modest study sought

dean higher degree by research (HDR), six were deans of

the views of academic managers rather than supervisors

faculty, four were graduate convenors, two were deans of

and candidates.This is not to suggest that the perspectives

graduate research, and one a pro-vice-chancellor. Most of

of candidates and supervisors are not highly valuable but

those in more senior positions had held the role of head

given there is very little research from the managers’

of department or equivalent in previous years.

perspective this study is seen as a start.

Table 2: Roles of interviewees

Findings

Role

N=

Head of Department

13

Associate Dean HDR

7

Faculty Dean

6

HDR Convenor

4

As with many studies (see for example Connell &

Dean of Graduate Studies

2

Manathunga, 2012; Halbert, 2015; Janssen, 2005; Adrian

Director

1

Lee et al., 2007) the affective aspects of supervision are

Pro-Vice-Chancellor

1

Total

14

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From the analysis, as Table 4 outlines, there were four main categories of ‘professional’ supervisor qualities: affective qualities; communication skills; assistance with writing and publication; and the management of candidature.

frequently at the top of any list, and certainly they were reported in this study. For example, the ‘Supervisor has to care about the student as a person’ (HASS3). And, a

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Affective

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I now move on to report from the analysis how interviewees described unprofessional supervisors or

Caring

those who were difficult to ‘manage’.

Interested in the candidate 2.

Communication

The unprofessional/difficult supervisor

With the candidate With other supervisors

3. 4.

Writing and publication

Support with scholarly writing

Management

Agreements

The following categories of unprofessional as outlined in Table 5 were evident in the interview data from academic

Publications

managers: organisational; personal; skills; and research related.

Meetings

Table 5: Main categories and characteristics of unprofessional supervisors

Knowledge of policies and procedures professional supervisor is: ‘someone who is genuinely

1.

Category

Characteristics/qualities

Organisational

Unavailability

interested in the student’ (HASS15).

Unresponsiveness

Linked with the affective aspects of supervision is

Lack of timely feedback

communication: ‘And then I want the primary supervisor

Withdrawal

to be someone who really knows how to communicate’

Changing ideas

(STEM2). Communication was described in several ways, including communicating with other members of the

2.

Personal

supervisory team as well as with the candidate.

Inappropriate relationships Too nice

Assisting with writing and publishing was another quality that was reported in relation to the professional supervisor. For example, the good supervisor: ‘does know how to support students with all the problems they

Disrespectful 3.

Skills

Lacking supervisory skills

4.

Research related

Manipulation Inappropriate authorship on publications

face with writing’ (STEM2). And ‘I also think that the professional supervisor encourages students to publish

Unethical behaviour

along the way’ (HASS2). Finally, interviewees talked about the management qualities of supervision such as: setting up agreements;

Organisational

meetings; and knowledge of policies and procedures.

In the category of organisational there were five main

A member of the discussion group (DG) reported that:

characteristics or qualities noted when describing difficult

‘I guess the professional supervisor handles ‘hygiene’

supervisors (Table 4). The first, and most common, was

[organisational] aspects [however] they are necessary

unavailability: ‘Things like students coming in and saying

although not sufficient [to be a good supervisor]’ (DG).

that my supervisor only meets with me for three minutes

A second aspect related to meetings, and something

a week. I am scheduled from 11.27-11.30’ (STEM8).

that came up frequently was: ‘basic things like being able

Linked with unavailability was the second characteristic

to schedule regular meetings and attend these meetings’

of unresponsiveness to candidate needs and required

(DG). And, as HASS2 reported:

administrative tasks, for example: ‘Supervisors are just

I define professional as a system where the supervisor sets up a formal agreement and schedules of meetings and those meetings are adhered to and there is some input from the student on what form those meetings might take but at each meeting there should be a report made by the student on what progress has been made and what they want to discuss and that should be presented to the supervisor.

not responsive enough and they don’t respond quickly

The

of

other thing that I guess is very unprofessional and which I

candidature related to being: ‘very aware of the policies,

think is a major issue…is people who don’t read students’

procedures etc’ (STEM2).

work.’ Or, even when they eventually read the work: ‘a

third

characteristic

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under

management

enough to student enquiries and don’t communicate and meet often enough with the student’ (HASS8). And: ‘My own supervisor was a dud in the sense that he was a benign dud as he was absent’ (STEM4). Such supervisors could be described as negligent. The third characteristic was lack of timely feedback. As HASS3 commented: ‘The

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long turn-around time, or no turn around with feedback

for these supervisors to be quite senior, who brought in

on written material’ is a real problem (STEM5). There

substantial research funding, and were good researchers

could be several reasons for this, including institutional

in their own discipline with the term ‘arrogant’ being

pressure to take on excessive supervisory, administrative

used to describe some of them. As will be discussed later

and teaching workloads.

in this paper, it was often this group of supervisors which

Somewhat different from the first three characteristics

was the most difficult for senior staff to manage.

is the fourth, withdrawal, which involved supervisors

Perhaps the personal characteristic or quality of a

choosing not to continue with candidates who are having

difficult supervisor that was most unexpected is what

difficulties:

was described as the too nice supervisor and for some

The other thing I find extremely unprofessional is when perhaps the supervision is not going the way it maybe should have, some supervisors have got the gall to suddenly say that is not in my area and want to withdraw from the supervision process…it’s very difficult to discipline the academic in that situation, there’s a whole lot of academic reasons why. (HASS2)

senior managers they posed considerable difficulty. Basically, these were the supervisors who found it almost impossible to,‘call it’ as some managers described, perhaps being considered weak or lacking in academic courage. In other words, even though the candidate might be struggling to grasp essential concepts, and be behind on most milestones, the ‘too nice’ supervisor kept supporting

The fifth organisational characteristic was described

and encouraging rather than, as senior managers suggest,

by HASS16 as changing ideas.‘He would give advice…the

recommend that the candidate withdraw or change their

student would go away and work on it and then when

program.

he went back to the supervisor, he had other ideas…this happened with three students.’

For example:‘[I] have a swag of committed supervisors and the problem with the ones who are problematic is

In summary, many of the interviewees reported a

that they are too over-indulgent to the detriment of the

number of organisational issues related to the supervisors

student’ (HASS1). Or: ‘I think that is one issue where the

they described as unprofessional including: not being

student doesn’t realise there is a major issue and the

available; lack of helpful and timely feedback and

supervisor has been too positive’ (HASS6). With a third

commentary; and lacking commitment to the candidate

describing:

when ‘the going got tough’.

Personal Under the category of personal, interviewees reported: personal relationships; being malicious; and being ‘too nice’. Comments regarding personal relationships related

At annual review, the supervisor says yes everything is going ok and the panel reiterating that, while the student is clearly struggling [these supervisors seem to think] ‘I can’t tick unsatisfactory as the student will be upset so I will tick satisfactory.’ (STEM8)

to both co-supervisors and candidates. For example,

Skills

because the supervisors were not communicating

The poorly skilled supervisor was not considered

before meetings: ‘[the candidate] gets opposing views

disrespectful or arrogant, but just someone who was

about something and is torn as to who they upset and

not good at supervising, or, who could be described

who they please’ (HASS9). More personal relationships

as ‘unskilled’. For example, STEM1 suggests: ‘they are

were described as: ‘Does not respect the ‘at arms-length’

clueless through no fault of their own, often because

supervisor/student divide’ (STEM3).

they had poor supervision themselves and/or little or

The second quality under personal was the disrespectful.

no support regarding supervision from their institution.’

‘There are the malicious ones, not a huge number of them,

Or, as STEM4 commented: ‘then there is a person who

but they do exist’ (STEM4). Trying to explain this STEM3

doesn’t even know, [about supervision] and doesn’t take

suggests that:

the developmental responsibility seriously at all’. Many,

Sometimes these supervisors are very bright but have psychological problems … Dealing with that situation is not straightforward…I don’t think they realise that the student is the one they are meant to be working with and it is not all about their own research. Another way of describing such supervisors is ‘toxic’ (Grove, 2016; Kearns, 2018) and it was not uncommon

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but not all, Australian universities provide supervisor development programs. We have a supervisor register and there are rules about that…you have to be research active and have published in the last few years and we have to attend an update every couple of years, otherwise you won’t get your registration approved. (HASS8)

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However, with some development programs the focus

why they thought that some supervisors performed their

is substantially on policy and compliance rather than

role so poorly. The most common response from the data

supervisory skills and knowledge which might explain the

was related to the system. For example:

lack of skills for some supervisors.While it is important to know the rules and procedures, the development of skills and strategies for supervisors is critical, particularly for those who did not themselves have quality supervision on which they can base their practice.

There would be a number of people I could name without the slightest difficulty who basically put their name down to do supervision as it counts for workload and it gets them out of what I would call ‘normal’ teaching. So that’s a big problem. (HASS3) This practice is likely to be prevalent in universities

Research related

where workload policies enable staff to ‘buy themselves

The fourth category arising from the data was research

out’ of lecturing by taking on additional research

related and included: manipulating studies and students;

candidates. And in a similar vein where the academics’

inappropriate authorship on publications; and unethical

research role is privileged over their teaching and service

behaviour.

roles.

As HASS9 suggested an unprofessional supervisor is one who: ‘manipulates the study into something they want rather than allowing the student to take the lead’. Furthermore, order of

While it is important to know the rules and procedures, the development of skills and strategies for supervisors is critical, particularly for those who did not themselves have quality supervision on which they can base their practice.

authorship on publications was

seen

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as

unprofessional: ‘I find it very unprofessional when students’ work is presented with the supervisor’s name as the first author. I find that extremely unprofessional…’ (HASS2). However, as many would argue, there are different

In the worst case you will have someone with a stellar research career and one of the reasons they are stellar is that they have managed to do nothing else and they want to keep doing that and they resent that they have to teach and they resent that they have to exhibit leadership outside their own lab, they resent the fact that they have to go to Open Days, they resent the fact that they have to deal with student enrolments because that is not what they want to do, they want to be a researcher. (STEM1)

protocols regarding author order for different disciplines

The same interviewee suggested that part of the

although STEM3 comments that one of the things he

explanation for this behaviour is that: ‘I think academics

does is observe: ‘how the supervisor lists the authors in

typically come into a university doing one thing [research

publications and in seminars’ as a way of knowing who

following their PhD] but they are employed to do

the unprofessional supervisors are in the School.

something else and this transition is not clearly explained

Unethical behaviour was not only related to unethical research but: ‘a recent problem has been the ethics of completion where a supervisor moves to another university and wants to take his students who are quite close to completing’ (HASS16). There are a number of issues involved in this practice including the completion funding from the Government which is likely to go to

to them’ (STEM1). And as HASS10 says: The transition from someone whose whole life is devoted to research which is very luxurious and selfish and then all of a sudden, they have commitments outside their research and so the research contribution is less than 50% of what they do. I don’t think we do a good job of explaining this. The good ones get it but others don’t.

the completing university, not necessarily the one where much of the early work was undertaken. Furthermore,

The second reason for unprofessional behaviour that

particularly in some disciplines, there are likely to be

was evident in the data related to the lack of action and

serious ramifications related to the transfer and ownership

taking ‘the tough decision’ on poor performance by senior

of Intellectual Property.

staff.

Why might supervisors be like this? While asking the question: Why might supervisors be like this? was not part of the formal protocol, many

If we were really serious about it and the university were prepared to wear the flak, very senior people like a dean could actually put his or her foot down and say something like ‘we get too many bad reports of your supervision and so you are not getting any more students’. (HASS3)

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When suggesting above that the dean should ‘put his or her foot down’ within the Australian system this would have to be a dean of a faculty or college, given that generally deans of graduate research have no authority over staff in departments. Issues of lack of action, and some solutions from the study, are reported below. However, to summarise there were generally four types of supervisors who caused concern for heads of department

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On reflection, there is one issue I would still struggle with – there is one senior supervisor that I would say is the person I used to get the most consistent complaints about – never formal I hasten to add – year in year out. However, if you go back and ask the successful graduates, they speak very highly of this person and say he was critical to their success. The sources of information link well with the following possible strategies.

and those in similar positions. They were those who can be described as:

Strategies for improvement

• Toxic i.e. disrespectful, unpleasant • Unskilled i.e. poorly skilled in supervision

Keeping in mind that this study was from the perspective

• Neglectful i.e. negligent and uncaring, and

of academic managers, several interviewees reported that

• Too nice i.e. unable to address key issues of performance

there were some staff, generally very few, who they felt

during candidature.

there was little or nothing they could do to change or

However, these comments do not take into account the

even stop supervising given they were bringing in large

fact that it might well be that the Head of Department is

amounts of research funding to the Department. On the

one of those described above. This adds extra complexity

other hand, there were several positive strategies reported

to an already complex situation.

that relate to other poorly performing supervisors and which are noted below (See Table 6).

How did senior staff know who were the underperforming/unprofessional supervisors?

Table 6: Effective strategies for addressing issues 1.

Transparency

Boards of Examiners and formal reviews

Given the generally reported private nature of the

Committee Chairs

research supervisor relationship (see for example Park,

Administrative processes

2008) it would not be surprising if senior managers

2.

Positive culture

generally reported that they were unaware of who were the underperforming and perhaps even the highly performing supervisors in their department or faculty. However, many of those interviewed reported that they were made aware of poorly performing staff through a

Through transparency Administrative structures

3.

Support

For Heads of Department For Convenors/Associate Deans For Supervisors

number of channels. Heads of department reported that they generally

From the data key findings relate to: making the

knew of such staff by reports coming from associate

supervisory relationship or supervisory practices more

deans, convenors and administrators. Another source

transparent; development of a positive culture; and

of information was milestone and progress reports

provision of support structures.

particularly where there was an associate dean or administrator who worked carefully through the reports

‘Opening up’ the supervisory relationship

and passed on comments: ‘We now have a research

The supervisory relationship has been described as the

administrator and they are running regular reports for me

‘Secret garden’ of supervision (Park, 2008) where: ‘…

so I can see what’s happening with progress’ (HASS16). A

student and supervisor engaged together as consenting

third source of information was from candidates: ‘coming

adults, behind closed doors, away from the public gaze,

by and talking with me about issues’ (STEM11).

and with little accountability to others’ (p. 2). However,

Most interviewees went to some length to explain

most senior managers reported that where processes

that they followed up in some detail with the individuals

were in place to open up the relationship or make it

(candidates and supervisors) when a complaint was

‘less private’ there were fewer reported incidents of

made as things were not always as they seemed. This

underperforming or unprofessional supervisors. They

was particularly important in light of the comment by

suggested that one of the key reasons for this was the

STEM5:

peer pressure exerted through a culture of supervisory

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performance. One of the ‘opening up’ processes reported

awards and grants it is very difficult to say to them, we are

related to Annual Reports:

not giving you any more students’. Furthermore, there is

The [progress] reports, other than confidential ones which go to the Head of School, go to a Board in the School and we sit down and read them one by one… and there is a subtle peer pressure. (HASS11) Another example of this process reported: That a [special] meeting is more like a board of examiners for the HDR students and so we go through each report on how they are progressing, and we review each student just to make sure they are all on track… all the supervisors in the enrolling area attend that meeting. (HASS8)

the requirement that heads of school/line managers have a responsibility to discuss issues of performance with staff and offer support/development prior to such action being taken. In a different way a strategy that was reported as being helpful was the increase in candidates presenting their work in public activities. For example:

‘“Oh no, you actually read everything” – so he knew there

Recently a student was presenting and they weren’t going well, and they couldn’t answer a simple question and the supervisor didn’t say anything so it [the issue] was taken to the Head of School [me] and we decided that the person [the supervisor] had to go off the Register… there had been previous problems but this was a public way of addressing the issue and so I could do something about it. (DG)

was going to be a change’ (STEM8). Another system that

Having one or two senior staff in the department

was reported by a few institutions as working well was

annually reviewing each supervisory panel (supervisors

having a chair person, independent of the supervisory

and candidates) was another reported strategy. On the

team, who meets with the candidate: ‘we do have the

whole, when a department had put into place strategies

chairperson approach, chair of the committee who is not

to make the supervisory relationship and practices more

a supervisor.This is a third person who nominates to your

transparent the head/dean reported positive outcomes.

One associate dean reported that following such a meeting a staff member came up to her and commented:

committee and then the student can go to them separate from the supervisors’ (HASS10).

While these strategies were reported as being very helpful they generally relied on having energetic, creative

The idea of supervision being ‘private’ had a slightly

and well-supported departmental convenors or associate

different connotation for STEM6. ‘I don’t think it should

deans which, from the literature (Brew, Boud, & Malfroy,

be private. Some researchers in universities act as if they

2017) is not always the case.

are consultants and doing the university a bit of a favour… and so there is a tendency that research governance is

Development of a positive culture

something they actively resist’. Several interviewees

The development of a culture where positive and

stated that making the process of supervision more

professional supervision was supported was described by

transparent should be accompanied by senior staff being

HASS11: ‘It’s quite collegial here and…so while the annual

more prepared to take action with poorly performing

review meetings are a structure they fit within a culture

supervisors. ‘You have to be in an environment where

and a supportive environment’. STEM1 had an interesting

people are prepared to make the hard decisions when the

way of describing the positive culture: ‘It is important

crunch comes’ (STEM1).

that everyone is hunting in a pack, heading in the same

Another strategy related to structure allows a Convenor

direction, “this is acceptable”, “this is not acceptable” …

or Associate Dean to ensure that poorly performing

structures and transparency are essential.’ Mind you,

supervisors no longer received any new candidates. For

developing a transparent culture, according to one of the

example, STEM3 reported that they are able to: ‘restrict

DG participants is difficult to implement:‘It’s an interesting

[supervisor] access to students and scholarships’ by

one culture, trying to change culture. But I find here [in

managing the application process very strongly. However,

Australia] that it is quite difficult to be transparent’.

in some cases this is not as easy as it sounds. One thing that is really difficult is to stop them from taking on students, it seems to happen completely independently of the Head of School, so someone should not be able to take particular students, but the students just turn up. (STEM1)

Support structures Some interviewees talked about support structures that were available in their institutions for supervisors. However, many of them talked about the problem where those staff considered to be most in need of development

Additionally, as HASS3 commented:‘if you have someone

were likely to be the ones least likely to be involved.

who is a very senior professor and brings in all these

While many universities in Australia have some form of

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mandatory development for staff new to supervision

While there were issues related to handling the

certainly not all required experienced supervisors to

individual who was not performing her/his supervisory

engage in meaningful development.

role in a professional, positive manner, many interviewees

Another form of support was for convenors, associate

mentioned that their role in working with such staff was

deans and heads of department as many reported there

much easier when transparent processes were in place.

was little in the way of assistance for them in their

These processes centred around three main practices.

convening or leadership roles. For example: ‘I’ve never

The first related to making the supervisory process

seen anything [regarding training and support] for

less private with colleagues reading annual progress

convenors and how to manage internal processes and

and similar reports, senior staff meeting regularly with

people’ (HASS11). Another example came from HASS5 (a

supervisory teams of candidates and supervisors, and the

head of school) who reported:

use of committee chairs. The second strategy reported

One of the students came to see me and I said ‘go and see the Associate Dean and complain’ …So they went to the Associate Dean, but it was a very tricky situation and they were not equipped to deal with these leadership problems.

was the involvement of pro-active HDR administrators,

Whereas STEM9 reported that: ‘I did a workshop on

consistently had complaints made about them were not

handling difficult situations before I started this position,

able to take on new candidates without appropriate

it was helpful.’ Support such as this might have helped

conditions put in place.

convenors and associate deans who establish processes that emphasise a strong positive supervisory culture. The third strategy reported was the active management of student applications to ensure that supervisors who

HASS13 as a head of department ‘Heads are only here for

Certainly, this study has a number of limitations,

a short period. There is lots [of training] for supervisors,

particularly given the relatively small number of

but I think having difficult conversations is something we

participants, coming from one perspective, which has

shy away from.’

not made it possible to draw conclusions related to issues

However, some interviewees reported helpful support

based on gender, discipline or type of university. A more

such as: ‘I have fantastic support and administration and

ambitious study involving candidates and supervisors

that really helps’ (STEM12). HASS16 [an associate dean]

would certainly broaden our understanding of this very

also reported the value of a support system:

complex issue in doctoral education.

We have a graduate research school and they are fantastic, they are knowledgeable and confidential and so I always feel I can ring them up, more on processes rather than what to do. But if I do have tricky questions, I can happily sound out the issues. So that’s been really helpful for me.

Acknowledgements A draft of this paper was sent to all participants in the study and a substantial number responded with insightful and helpful comments for which I would like to thank them most sincerely.

Conclusion Margaret Kiley holds an adjunct position at the Australian This modest study reporting from the perspectives of

National University, Australia.

34 academic staff working with doctoral supervisors has

Contact: Margaret.kiley@anu.edu.au

highlighted a number of issues. The first is the different ways in which a supervisor can be unprofessional, that is, toxic, incompetent, neglectful or too nice. Some of the reasons put forward for this behaviour included: • Mis-match of expectations of the role of an academic. • Lack of support and development for supervisors and for senior staff having to work with them. • Being the sort of person who finds it difficult to ‘give bad news’. • Supervisors with personality disorders, or • Simply ‘a nasty piece of work’ as a few interviewees described it.

20

References Amundsen, C., & McAlpine, L. (2009). ‘Learning supervision’: Trial by fire. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(3), 331-342. Brew, A., Boud, D., & Malfroy, J. (2017). The role of research education coordinators in building research cultures in doctoral education. Higher Education Research and Development, 36(2), 255-268. doi:10.1080/0729436 0.2016.1177812 Chamberlain, S. (2016, 12 January 2016). Ten types of PhD Supervisor relationships: which is yours? The Conversation. Retrieved from http:// theconversation.com/ten-types-of-phd-supervisor-relationships-which-is-yours Connell, R., & Manathunga, C. (2012). On doctoral education: How to supervise a PhD, 1985 – 2011. Australian Universities’ Review, 54(1), 5-9.

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Lee, A., Dennis, C., & Campbell, P. (2007). Nature’s guide for mentors. Nature, 447, 791-797. Lofstrom, E., & Pyhalto, K. (2017). Ethics in the supervisory relationship: supervisors’ and doctoral students’ dilemmas in the natural and behavioural sciences. Studies in Higher Education, 42(2), 2731-2747. doi:10.1080/030750 79.2015.1045475 Mewburn, I., Cuthbert, D., & Tokareva, E. (2014). Experiencing the progress report: an analysis of gender and administration in doctoral candidature. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 36(2), 1555-1171. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2013.861054 Ombudsman, N. S. W. (2016). Complaints about the Supervision of PostGraduate Students: A Discussion Paper. Sydney. Park, C. (2008). The end of the secret garden: reframing postgraduate supervision. Retrieved 23rd April 2015 http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/hr/OED/CPD/ rsarchive/files/ChrisPark.pdf. Platow, M. (2011). PhD experience and subsequent outcomes: A look at selfperceptions of acquired graduate attributes and supervisor support. Studies in Higher Education, iFirst.

Halbert, K. (2015). Students’ perceptions of a ‘quality’ relationship. Quality in Higher Education, 21(1), 26 – 37. doi:10.1080/13538322.2015.1049439

Taylor, S., Kiley, M., & Humphrey, R. (2018). A handbook for doctoral supervisors (2nd ed.). Oxon: Routledge.

Janssen, A. (2005). Postgraduate research supervision: Otago students’ perspectives on quality supervision, problems encountered in supervision. Retrieved from Dunedin: https://www.otago.ac.nz/graduate-research/study/ phddoctoral/programme/otago403801.html

Walker, M., & Thomsom, P. (Eds.). (2010). The Routledge doctoral supervisor’s companion: Supporting effective research in Education and the Social Sciences. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kearns, H. (2018). Enabling mental health for research degree students. Paper presented at the Quality in postgraduate research conference, Adelaide.

Wisker, G. (2012). The good supervisor: Supervising postgraduate and undergraduate research for doctoral theses and dissertations (2nd ed.). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lee, A. (2012). Successful research supervision: Advising students doing research. Oxon: Routledge.

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Neoliberalism and new public management in an Australian university The invisibility of our take-over Margaret Sims University of New England

The higher education sector in Australia is operating in an ideological context in which the ideas of managerialism and neoliberalism combine to create a discourse shaping the lives of both workers and students. The practices that emerge inside higher education organisations as a result combine to form an organisational neoliberal managerial culture that shapes practices, operating in a vicious cycle. In this vicious cycle, managers set the organisational culture through the roles they take on in this figured world, leading to particular ways of behaving and engaging in the practice of management. These experiences are received and internalised by their recipients who come to believe their reality reflects the only way things operate. In this paper I take an autoethnographic approach to reflect on my experiences of the practices emerging from this culture as I have experienced them within one higher education organisation in Australia. I argue that we are seeing the operationalisation of a discourse of managerial privilege that, in the long term, is not only detrimental to the functioning of higher educational organisations but puts at risk the wellbeing of the nation through its impact on both staff and students. Keywords: neoliberalism, managerialism, higher education, power, bullying

Introduction The higher education sector in Australia is operating in

profits … Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for usefulness and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive (Monbiot, 2017, p. 30).

an ideological context where the ideas of managerialism and neoliberalism combine to create a discourse shaping the lives of both workers and students.These interlocking systems ‘work together to uphold and maintain cultures of domination’ (hooks, 2013, p. 4).

Neoliberalism is positioned as both the new normal and invincible (Tronto, 2017). Managerialism is the enactment of neoliberalism in organisations (Graham, 2016) where the focus is placed

Neoliberalism takes the position that:

firmly on outcomes, performance assessment and

… human society should be run in every respect as if it were a business, its social relations reimaged as commercial transactions; people redesignated as human capital. The aim and purpose of society is to maximise

results (G. Fraser, 2017). Management is perceived to

22

be a specialist skill, a good thing (Shepherd, 2017) that cannot be performed by the professionals who are being managed, but rather must be performed by those who hold

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(Pennington & Prater, 2016 used the term 'figured world' to mean socio-culturally constructed worlds where roles are assigned to various actors who are required to play out those roles in order to be deemed 'successful') that, by nature of the roles assigned to various players, results in particular experiences of reality. Through exploring these experiences of reality, I aim to deepen my understanding of the various influences at play in the hope that more effective resistance can grow from this deeper understanding.

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2016, p. 81).This expertise can be applied across any type of organisation (Shepherd, 2017) and is characterised by theories of how to best constrain, control and enforce This combination of ideas at the level of society impact on the way in which higher education organisations operate. Higher education has become ‘predicated on a business model, people should be treated as

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Culture consists of: • Wider ideologies outside the organisation – managerialism + neoliberalism • structures, interactions, processes within the organisation

‘managerial expertise, theories and techniques’ (Doran,

compliance in workers (De Vita & Case, 2016).

I

Creates a new organisational normal (a figured world) that provides: • Scripts identifying how to behave and how to ‘be’ • i.e. discourses that influence how people perceive situations and how they act

consumers, and capital as the only subject…’ (Giroux, 2015, p. 118). The practices that emerge inside higher

Immersion in this environment reinforces this as the only possible culture – the way things are

education organisations as a result combine to form an organisational neoliberal managerial culture that shapes

These new norms include: • unequal valuation of work • reduced worker agency / lack of trust in workers • perpetual competition • culture of compliance / niceness • language take-over • the invisibility of privilege

practices, operating in a vicious cycle as outlined in Figure 1. In this vicious cycle, managers set the organisational culture through their ‘behaviour, attitude, treatment

Figure 1: The vicious cycle of neoliberal managerialism

of others’ (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2017, p. 4), and this culture becomes internalised by its recipients who

the political arena. In taking this approach I contend that

come to believe their experiences reflect the only way

ideologies external to the organisation (managerialism

things operate. In this paper I will discuss the practices

and neoliberalism) combine to create a context, a figured

emerging from this culture as they are experienced within

world (Pennington & Prater, 2016 used the term ‘figured

higher education organisations in Australia, using my own

world’ to mean socio-culturally constructed worlds where

experiences of these practices to illustrate. I argue that

roles are assigned to various actors who are required to

we are seeing the operationalisation of a discourse of

play out those roles in order to be deemed ‘successful’)

managerial privilege that, in the long term, is not only

that, by the nature of the roles assigned to various players,

detrimental to the functioning of higher educational

results in particular experiences of reality. Through

organisations but puts at risk the wellbeing of the nation

exploring these experiences of reality, I aim to deepen

through its impact on both staff and students.

my understanding of the various influences at play in the hope that more effective resistance can grow from this

Methodology

deeper understanding.

Conceptual framing

Ethical considerations

This study is positioned in an interpretivist ontology;

Auto-ethnography is not subject to traditional ethic

I claim reality is as it is perceived by those operating

committee approvals (Stahlke Wall, 2016), however it is

with a particular frame, in this situation, the frame of one

important to me that I behave ethically. My identity, and

higher education institution in Australia.Thus, individuals

therefore the identity of the organisation for which I

construct their own reality through their interactions in

work are both publicly available, therefore in presenting

the world of this university, however, those who hold

my experiences it is essential that others involved are not

more power in the organisation contribute towards

identifiable. My organisation has undergone numerous

these constructions. Figure 1 demonstrates the way

restructures in recent years, and I have experienced at

in which I see the interaction of factors contributing

least five changes of supervisor in the past two years, five

towards individuals’ construction and experiences of

different heads of school in the past 12 months, and in

their reality.

recent years, three different deans. As an active union

In this paper I present one construction of reality

delegate, not all my interactions in the organisation are

through my own experiences. I have explored my

confined to my own faculty/school.Thus, where I mention

experiences using critical autoethnography (using an

senior staff, the person could potentially be located at any

understanding of critical autoethnography as presented

level of management, in any part of the university, and be

by Holman Jones, 2016) because this framing supports

located at any time over the past five years. This creates

the linking of personal experiences with both theory

a level of anonymity that, I believe, sufficiently protects

and practice, in particular practice as it is positioned in

individuals.

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Research rigour

(VCs) prompted by the revelation of the salary paid to

Research rigour in autoethnography is best established by

the VC of the University of Bath (Adams, 2017). British

reader reaction to the work. Loh (2013) suggests that the

VCs earn, on average, between six and 12 times more than

best criteria is the extent to which the work both rings

average university staff, and 35 times more than average

true to the reader and can be used as the foundation

workers in the local area (Hymas, 2018; Rudgard, 2018).

from which strategies to address the issues raised can be developed.

Analysis

In Australia, Lyons and Hill (2018) report that in many cases, VCs here take more money home each week than is earned by many casuals in a year, with the highest paid taking home 1.5 times more than the VC of the University

In reflecting on my experiences, I have firstly written

of Bath. There is a school of thought suggesting these

reflective narratives about my experiences. Narratives

salaries are justified because great leaders are supposed

are increasingly popular in qualitative research (Spector-

to single-handedly ensure their organisations’ success

Mersel, 2010; Wells, 2011). Used in autoethnography they

(Rhodes & Fleming, 2018). However, other evidence

are particularly useful as the story (auto) can be located

indicates these salaries do not appear to be based on

in culture (ethno) and method (graphy) (Benoot & Bilsen,

performance but rather on a comparison with others and

2016). Having been created, the story can then be situated

a ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ philosophy (Hymas, 2018).

into theory which provides a guide for further thinking

Fitza (2017) argues that organisational outcomes are more

about the experiences (Holman Jones, 2016). Having

often linked to luck or pure chance rather than leadership

created my narratives, I then used a process of constant

performance. McCulloch (2018, p. 2) supports this: ‘their

comparison (B. Glaser, 1965) which involved creating

inflated salaries reflect neither the contribution nor, in

themes and comparing data within and across themes in

many instances, the capability of this new bureaucratic

order to appropriately define each theme, then linking

management cadre.’

themes to theory (via the conceptual framework and associated literature).

Along with the inequitable manner in which senior management are rewarded for their work, is the proliferation of ‘bullshit’ management jobs (E. Glaser,

Results and discussion I am inferior

2014). In the university sector, characterised by growing austerity, we see a ‘weirdly profligate and pointless proliferation’ (p.86) of senior management positions.

Outside the higher education sector, inequality is on

In my context this is exemplified by a restructure,

the rise (Toczydlowska & Bruckauf, 2017): for example

re-introducing faculties which needed the new positions

in Australia in the decade 2004-14 the income of the

of deans, deputy deans and various associate deans. As

wealthiest grew 40 per cent but those on the lowest

a consequence, for those providing the core business of

incomes only experienced a 25 per cent increase (Grant,

the university, teaching and research work, the layers of

2018). By 2017, top Australian managers increased their

management through which work has to proceed for

take-home pay by nearly 12 per cent in a year, whereas

approval have more than quadrupled; not an outcome

pay increases for workers did not keep up with inflation

that I claim justifies the significant additional cost (over

(Rhodes & Fleming, 2018). In the United States the richest

$3 million per year). At the same time as we experience

one per cent hold more wealth than 90 per cent of the

this proliferation of management positions, we are

entire population combined (Giroux, 2015). Inequity is a

experiencing cuts in academic and professional staff; the

fundamental principle of neoliberalism and it is played out

ones delivering the core work of the university and to

in managerialism through the privileging of management

compensate, the remaining workers are required to do

where:‘As a class its primary aim is to reward its members

more work, to work harder. This means that my teaching

with obscene salaries and benefits by cannibalising

workload has increased, and the ‘discount’ I have received

the very services their companies should be providing’

in the past in my teaching workload to recognise my

(Patience, 2018, p. 2).

research productivity is decreasing. At the same time the

In the neoliberal managerial university, the privilege

expectations for my research output are not decreasing,

associated with management is reflected in the growing

so I am expected to increase my overall work productivity

disparity between pay awarded to management and other

in a context where the average academic in Australia

workers. In the UK, there has been significant debate

works 50.7 hours per week (National Tertiary Education

about the remuneration awarded to Vice Chancellors

Union, 2017).

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I cannot be trusted

University-20883). Young (2017, p. 14) suggests that

Along with these growing inequities is the associated

bullying is ‘hardwired into the organisational structure’

under-valuing of workers whose worth is judged by the

and, given that Australian universities are claimed to be

pay they receive. As N. Fraser (1995) suggests, workers

subject to the strictest form of managerialism in the

are subject to a form of symbolic injustice where they

western world (Smyth, 2017), experiences of symbolic

are ‘routinely maligned or disparaged in …everyday

injustice (as conceptualised by N. Fraser, 1995) abound.

life interactions’ (p. 71); a practice that is experienced

My lack of agency (and presumably professional ethics)

as oppression. Jameson (2017) identifies this as a form

is evident in the processes I am now required to follow

of de-professionalisation which is achieved through

to perform my regular duties as an academic. These days

‘questionable managerial behaviour involving controlling,

a professional staff member (appointed at a level not

bullying, performance monitoring, thinly justified by

recognised as senior) is the gatekeeper between me and

economic rationalism’ (p. 2).

the university’s Ethics Committee. I cannot be trusted to

Along with this comes the removal of staff from all

submit my application to the committee myself. In order

forms of governance (Giroux, 2015), something I have

to gain approval to take leave I have to submit a request

experienced personally in the attempt to remove me,

that goes through four layers of management. Each layer

as the academic staff representative, from the university

requires assurance that I am not abandoning my students

council (the governing body) because

of

conflict

of

a

perceived

interest

with

my role as president of the local union (for public reports

see

https://www.

nor any of my responsibilities

My lack of agency (and presumably professional ethics) is evident in the processes I am now required to follow to perform my regular duties as an academic.

theaustralian.com.au/higher-

(presumably I might do so if I was not required to identify who was covering me for every element of my work). Lack

of

agency

is

accompanied by a de-valuing

education/nteu-branch-chief-

of the work of university

margaret-sims-take-une-to-court-over-council/news-story/

staff. Identity Theory proposes that one’s professional

2224f18d3a15b00f581551fb309af0ca and https://www.

identity is developed partly through the ways in

theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/une-backs-down-

which one’s work is recognised and valued by others

on-sims-case/news-story/985241635150f013bb18663ff82

(Baumeister, 1986; Davis, 2014; Stryker & Burke, 2000).

ab2f7).

Work that is de-valued and accompanied by an increase

This

de-professionalisation

is

associated

with

in routine bureaucratic requirements leads to feelings of

increasingly onerous regimes of compliance control

powerlessness and de-professionalisation which can have

policed through policies, regulations, guidelines and

a significant impact on the well-being of workers: stress-

performance management metrics. G. Fraser (2017) argues

related illnesses, depression and high levels of anxiety

such strategies arise from Public Choice Theory which

commonly result (Qureshi, Rasli, & Zaman, 2014; Verkuil,

posits that workers cannot be trusted unless they are

Atasayi, & Molendijk, 2015). In my experience the core

subject to surveillance and quality control mechanisms.

work of teaching is increasingly being de-valued. I recently

In my own experience over the past decade I have moved

attended a meeting where a senior professional staff

from line-management/supervision where I was one of

member (without an education qualification) argued that

over 60 academics supervised by the one manager, to a

online teaching could only be recognised if it consisted

situation where I am now part of a group of fewer than 20.

of lectures or tutorials; that no other form of teaching

Such arrangements are organised on the assumption that

was appropriate. As a consequence, it was considered

appropriate supervision is only possible when managers

appropriate by senior management to no longer pay casual

have a small span of control, identified in recent times by

academics a teaching rate to teach in off-campus units:

Neilson and Wulf (2012) as around ten workers.

rather it was appropriate to pay a lower rate designed for

Associated with onerous supervision comes the

student consultations. I hear similar stories from other

perception of workers that they are being micro-

academics at other universities where the work of online

managed (Connell, 2016; G. Fraser, 2017; Smyth, 2017)

teaching is positioned as best performed by the creation

which often leads to perceptions of systemic bullying

of computer-based learning sites using a range of web

(Sims, in review; also see http://www.nteu.org.au/article/

resources to take the place of human teachers interacting

Achieve-The-Impossible%3A-True-Tales-From-A-Modern-

with students.

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I must always improve in comparison with others and myself

a solo occupation, and Smyth (2017, p. 114) agrees: the

In the neoliberal managerial university freedom has

must of necessity produce better outcomes’. In my own

become recast as an ‘an exercise in self-development’

work, the referees’ comments on the articles I submit

(Giroux, 2015, p. 11). Performance is measured against

for publication, in the main, help improve my work

organisational goals and these goals are ‘continually moved

immeasurably. Referees doing this work are not paid;

by management, so that faculty are never allowed to arrive

rather this is their contribution to the community of

at a definitive end to their work’ (Smyth, 2017, p. 9). The

scholarship. However, such work is rarely recognised by

discourse of continuous improvement positions staff as

management and the time taken to perform the work is

though they never perform their jobs correctly, always

time that is not available for work that is measured by

needing to improve something about their performance,

management-imposed performance indicators.

and thus creating an image of imperfection. Performance metrics encourage a culture of individuality,

‘aggregation of minds working in a cut and thrust way,

It is not nice to be noncompliant

cutting to the heart of the collegial relationships

Furedi (2017, p. 2) argues that Australian universities, in

traditionally associated with scholarship (Smyth, 2017).

particular, ‘appear to be moving backwards to the era

For example, when I am supervising postgraduate

of medieval institutions, where conformity to dominant

students, there is an annual workload allocation assigned

values was upheld as a principal virtue.’ Conformity to

to each student. There is an expectation that students

neoliberal managerial requirements is not only expected,

will be supervised by more than one person to ensure

it is enforced to the extent that those who do not comply

an appropriate range of expertise and support. All the

are positioned as trouble-makers. Such positioning, Giroux

supervisors perform the same work: we all spend time

(2015, pp. 9–10) argues, is a feature of neoliberalism

with the student discussing the research and providing

where all citizens are potential suspects who therefore

advice; we all read all of the student’s written work and

need to be managed by the increasing insertion of

provide feedback. However, the workload allocation is

‘armed police, security guards, drug-sniffing dogs, and

shared between the supervisors as if we were all doing

an array of surveillance apparatuses that chart their

a proportion of the work. The more supervisors on

every move’. This process of dis-crediting, dis-respecting

the panel the less each gets allocated in their official

and de-professionalising those who speak out makes it

workload, something not reflected in the actual work

possible to simultaneously ‘dismiss the substance of their

they each perform and not a position conducive to the

criticisms’ (Giroux, 2015, p. 16).

best support for students.

As a consequence of this ‘dissent has become a

Competition is created not just between me and my

dangerous activity’ (Giroux, 2015, p. 111). Many academics

colleagues, it is created between my performance last

‘have experienced the oppressive nature of top-down

year and my yet to be measured performance this year.

management at their institutions, management which

My productivity is measured by the number (and amount)

brooks no criticism, opposition or dissent’ (McNally, 2018,

of external research grants I obtain, and the number of

p. 37). For many, the solution is to align one’s performance

publications I have. Recently, management circulated a

with

set of academic profiles that identified their expectations

behaviour is rewarded (Smyth, 2017). This alignment,

in relation to the outputs expected from each level of

and anxiousness not to be perceived as a trouble-maker,

academic staff. If I am going to meet these expectations

means that many self-regulate. A number of my colleagues

I have to focus my efforts on a narrow range of activities

have spoken to me in quiet conversations, where they

and cease doing other work such as refereeing journal

cannot be over-heard, apologising for not taking protected

articles, reading colleagues’ work and offering feedback

industrial action because they are afraid they will become

before they submit for publication, supporting colleagues

targets of management. I have colleagues who have taken

who are struggling with ever increasing workloads and

on additional teaching load and not claimed this in their

stress, or offering pastoral care to students whose stress

workload spreadsheet because they do not want to be

levels increase with the ever-contracting length of

targeted. (Very recently, a recent review of my school

trimesters.

argued that it would be a good idea to develop a voluntary

organisational

objectives

where

conforming

The competitive environment is not conducive to

separation package for those staff who did not wish to

the development of good ideas or originality of thought

fully engage with management plans to redevelop the

(Brett, 1997). Brett argues that creativity is usually not

culture of the school.)

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Self-regulation often means that workers no longer

create a dictionary reporting the new meaning of these

operate critically, rather they begin to censor their

words as they are now used. For example, flexibility in my

thinking, focus on the positive, and align their thinking

experience now means remove enforceable protections

to the management-speak. ‘By avoiding careful thinking,

and trust management. Consultation now means telling

people are able to get on with their job. Asking too

everyone what management wants and offering workers

many questions is likely to upset others – and to distract

the chance to provide electronic feedback which

yourself. Not thinking frees you up to fit in and get along’

management can proceed to totally ignore. In my recent

(Alvesson & Spicer, 2016, p. xi). This creates a condition

experience, transparency means appointing senior

Alvesson and Spicer call functional stupidity. There is a

managers to new jobs, the creation of which involved

cost to functionally stupid behaviour, as evidenced by

no consultation, without ever advertising these jobs or

the behaviour leading up to the global financial crisis.

offering anyone an opportunity to apply. Best practice and

In universities, such behaviours led to the perversion of

quality mean whatever a manager (usually unqualified in

education where ‘Formulaic teaching is encouraged by

the specific area of expertise) says is desirable, despite

intrusive online templates, forums for serious debate and

much research-based evidence provided to the contrary.

dissent shrink, or are closed; staff and students alike are overworked and preoccupied with ticking boxes, doing

The invisibility of privilege

tests, and filling in audit statements’ (Connell, 2016, p. 70). Accompanying this is the requirement to protect students so that ‘when the

... systemic de-professionalisation in neoliberal managerial universities has made management privilege invisible.

Neoliberal has of

managerialism

created

a

privilege

culture where

management claim, use (and

principle of free speech is

I believe, abuse) power in

portrayed as contradicting

systemic

discrimination

the principle of safety, it has to give way to the demands

against workers. Normalisation of this privilege makes

of the censor’ (Furedi, 2017, p. 10); infantilising students

it invisible. N. Fraser (1995) makes this point clearly

and extending the notion of adolescence well into

when he argues that one form of symbolic injustice is

ages traditionally identified as adult (Furedi, 2017). The

that of non-recognition: ‘being rendered invisible via

outcome of this is the production of graduates who

the authoritative, representational, communicative, and

have been educated to feed the employment needs of

interpersonal practices of one’s culture’ (p.71). I claim that

corporations; who have been socialised into ‘a regime of

systemic de-professionalisation in neoliberal managerial

security and commodification in which their identities,

universities has made management privilege invisible.

values and desires are inextricably tied to a culture of

In this environment university employees are positioned

commodified addictions, self-help, therapy and social

as human capital:‘tools to be used to attain goals, a system

indifference’ (Giroux, 2015, p. 8) creating what Chomsky

of dehumanisation that equates humans with a ‘piece of

(2016) calls one of the greatest threats to democracy the

metal – you can use it if you want, you throw it away if

world has ever faced.

you don’t’’ (Jurkiewicz & Grossman, 2012, p. 6). Because staff are tools they are expendable (Giroux, 2015) and

The take-over of language

thus universities are awash with ‘stories of disposability’ (Giroux, 2015, p. 105). Staff are expected to comply and

Language is a powerful contributor to culture, and

if they do not they are determined unworthy. In a recent

the neoliberal managerial culture is supported by a

example, management decided that online teaching was

proliferation of meaningless corporate speak; a form of

not actually teaching but rather involved answering

language Spicer (2018) calls bullshit. Bullshit he argues

student questions. Therefore, when casual academics

is ‘words that have no relationship to the truth’ but can

were employed to teach online it was appropriate to

‘take over organisations, crowd out their core purpose,

pay them a third of the teaching rate. When a number of

and muddy the waters … Bullshit makes people despair’

long-terms casuals (many of whom had taught the same

(Preface, p. 2). Luks (2017) identifies a range of bullshit

unit over a period of years) complained, one received the

words including:adaptability,flexibility,quality,benchmark,

following response: ‘In the circumstances, I wish to take

innovation, best practice, consultation, transparency and

this opportunity to thank you very much for your service

resilience. I have often thought it would be useful to

to the School, which I know you have provided over many

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years. It is unfortunate that you are not able to accept the

these behaviours when they occur. That means fighting

contract, which effectively means your end of working for

for all the different kinds of work that are needed in a

us.’

university setting to be equally valued. In my context,

Where privilege is made invisible, management actions

online teaching must be recognised as equally important

become defined ‘in universal and common-sense terms

as face-to-face teaching and not just a less expensive way

as if it is beyond critique and dissent’ (Giroux, 2015, p.

to deliver content to a large number of students. It also

114). Of course, if you chose not to accept a contract that

means fighting the way neoliberal managerialism has

pays two thirds less for the work than you were paid last

taken over our language: Luks (2017) suggests regular

year, it is perfectly reasonable to say thanks and goodbye.

playing of ‘bullshit bingo’ not only raises awareness but

It is your choice. If you have a problem with that then

challenges people to think about the meaning of the

you should think about your own character flaws, and

words they hear and speak/write.

how your lack of willingness to be flexible has led you

Neoliberal individualism must be challenged by

to the position of losing employment. Under neoliberal

collaborative work. In part this requires us to reflect on

managerialism ‘all social problems and their effects are

what is important: do I withdraw and work on a publication

coded as individual character flaws, a lack of individual

or do I connect with people, take time to share a chat over

responsibility, and are often a form of pathology’ (Giroux,

morning tea and be available to read a new colleague’s

2015, p. 195).

work, advise on how to respond to a hairy student

Managers who enforce these decisions ‘... progressively

question or empathise over an unfair student evaluation?

acquire the ability to become detached from the

Jameson (2017) writes about the importance of this kind

consequences

&

of informal support: he claims corridor talk in particular

Grossman, 2012, p. 7). The invisibility of their privilege

can be particularly effective in helping people manage

makes their behaviour appear rational and sensible and

the stress associated with increasing workloads and

the problems lie with maladjusted individuals who need

compliance demands and decreasing professional agency.

to learn to function more appropriately (G. Fraser, 2017).

This leads to the consideration of the role of informal

At the broader societal level, Deleuze (1992) sees this as

leaders in developing resistance. Informal leaders are

evidence we have moved into an era characterised by

often ‘subjected to negative criticism, control and scrutiny

control.

by managers’ (Jameson, 2017, p. 4) but it is their support

of

their

behaviour’ (Jurkiewicz

of ‘mutually wounded’ (p.5) colleagues that enables staff

I am a skilled, intelligent, trustworthy academic

to continue to work and achieve organisational targets. Grove (2018) argues for a new form of management, one through which people work together in a more

Giroux (2015, p. 32) argues ‘the time for widespread

equal relationship and cites the way partners in a law

resistance and radical demographic change has never

firm organise themselves using a consensual model.

been so urgent’ and I propose the same sentiment for

Smyth (2017) and Stromquist (2017) point out that whilst

the university sector. Education is a powerful tool used in

universities were traditionally managed by academics this

shaping our society and thus is a key element in crafting a

has shifted with the rise of neoliberal managerialism and

new democracy not tainted by the workings of our post-

the creation of a management class, most of whom have

truth world and our neoliberal managerial universities.

never been academics. This divide between workers and

Giroux (2015, p. 189) further argues ‘resistance demands a

management (Stromquist, 2017) contributes to a sense of

combination of hope, vision, courage, and a willingness to

mistrust where ‘employees presume that all behaviour

make power accountable’ and that we need to ‘challenge

has a hidden purpose and they’ll spend time seeking it out

the normalising discourses and representations of

rather than focusing on work’ (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone,

common sense and the power inequalities they legitimise.’

2017, p. 6). Universities need new management that works

Failure to take action, to identify the issues, ipso facto

with employees, enforcing real transparency, and focusing

supports the very culture and behaviours I claim need to

on communication and real consultation.

change (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2017).

Given the role of the leader is crucial in shaping

The key is how to harness our own agency as skilled,

organisational culture (De Vita & Case, 2016), and it

intelligent and trustworthy workers to do this. One

is organisational culture I believe, that sets up the

necessary element is not only the recognition and

vicious cycle of neoliberal managerialism which is so

identification of oppression but the active challenging of

disadvantageous to an organisation De Vita and Case

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(2016) claim quite bluntly that this does not work] it

disadvantaged. Her involvement in the NTEU began when

is essential to develop new models of leadership in

the Union was first established but in more recent years she

universities. New management can focus on a model

has become more actively involved as member of the Branch

of ethical leadership. Dibben, Wood, Macklin, and Riggo

Committee, Branch President for a time and a National

(2017) position this as a holistic form of leadership

Councillor.

where ‘leaders and organisations need to broaden their conceptualisation of outcomes – moving beyond just a focus on profit and shareholder value, and considering the impact on employees, the environment, customers, and the community’ (p.188). Ethical leadership is complex, and leaders need to be flexible (in the real meaning of the word, not the managerial meaning) and have good interpersonal skills to be able to include all organisational members in the leadership process. Ethical leadership takes the position that leaders ‘should not focus, in a static, modern way, on the needs of the organisation as primary but rather on the needs of the individual employee … the emphasis is now not on destroying the experience of individuals but enhancing it’ so that ‘… as far as possible, the individual’s needs are met without fundamentally compromising the organisation as a whole’ (p186). Chomsky (2013, p. 5) claims that in our modern form of democracy ‘the public must be kept in the dark about what is happening to them.The ‘herd’ must remain ‘bewildered.’’ For those with privilege to maintain this power, alternate views must remain hidden, suppressed, and the official mandate must continue to be spread to ‘regiment the

References Adams, R. (2017). Bath University vice-chancellor quits after outcry over £468 pay. The Guardian, November 29, 3 pages downloaded. Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2016). The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work. Pearson. Baumeister, R. (1986). Identity, Cultural Change, and the Struggle for Self. New York: Oxford University Press. Benoot, C., & Bilsen, J. (2016). An Auto-Ethnographic Study of the Disembodied Experience of a Novice Researcher Doing Qualitative Cancer Research. Qualitative Health Research, 26(4), 482-489. doi:10.1177/1049732315616625 Brett, J. (1997). Competition and collegiality. Australian Universities’ Review, 40(2), 19 – 22. Chomsky, N. (2013). The US behaves nothing like a democracy. Transcript of a speech delivered in Bonn, Germany at DW Global Media Forum. Salon, Saturday 17 August, 35 pages downloaded. Retrieved from http://www.salon. com/2013/08/17/chomsky_the_u_s_behaves_nothing_like_a_democracy/ Chomsky, N. (2016). Who rules the world? New York: Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books). Connell, R. (2016). What are good universities? Australian Universities’ Review, 58(2), 67 – 73. Davis, J. L. (2014). Triangulating the Self: Identity Processes in a Connected Era. Symbolic Interaction, 37(4), 500-523. doi:10.1002/symb.123

In the higher education sector Rea (2018, p. 31) argues so

De Vita, G., & Case, P. (2016). ’The smell of the place’: Managerialist culture in contemporary UK business schools. Culture and Organization, 22(4), 348 – 364. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14759551.2014.971122

‘much of what is done in our universities is now hidden

Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the societies of control. October, 59, 3 – 7.

from scrutiny, even from within the university community.’

Dibben, M., Wood, M., Macklin, R., & Riggo, R. (2017). Rethinking ethical leadership using process metaphysics. In C. Jurkiewicz & R. Giacalone (Eds.), Radical thoughts on ethical leadership (pp. 169 – 198). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

minds of men, much as an army regiments its soldiers’ (p6).

I have argued that neoliberal managerialism performs this function in the higher education sector, and through its manipulation of education, contributes to the shaping of neoliberal citizens. If we simply accept this as the way the world is we are acquiescing to its focus, the way it shapes us and shapes our children. We are accepting a world where inequality is valued, and where critical thought and debate are silenced. I argue, along with Connell (2016, p. 73):‘Quality doesn’t come from privilege or from an elite; quality concerns a whole workforce and the working of a whole institution. Working conditions and workplace relations matter for the intellectual project. We need to think about sustainability in a much longer frame than the policymakers and managers generally do.’ We need to do

Doran, C. (2016). Managerialism: an ideology and its evolution. International Journal of Management, Knowledge and Learning, 5(1), 81 – 97. Fitza, M. A. (2017). How much do CEOs really matter? Reaffirming that the CEO effect is mostly due to chance. Strategic Management Journal, 38(3), 802-811. doi:doi:10.1002/smj.2597 Fraser, G. (2017). Neoliberalism, new managerialism and the new professionalism in community development. (PhD), University of Edinburgh. Retrieved from https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/25813/ Fraser2017.pdf?sequence=1 Fraser, N. (1995). From redistribution to recognition? Dilemmas of justice in a ‘post-socialist’ age. New Left Review, 1(212), 69 – 93. Furedi, F. (2017). What’s happened to the university? A sociological exploration of its infantilisation. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

this work together and we need to do it now.

Giroux, H. (2015). Dangerous thinking in the age of the new authoritarianism. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Margaret Sims is Professor of Early Childhood at the

Glaser, B. (1965). The constant comparative method of qualitative data analysis. Social Problems, 12(4), 436 – 445.

University of New England. She began her career in community work, supporting children and families who were vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Glaser, E. (2014). Beyond bullshit jobs. Soundings, 57, 82 – 94.

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Graham, A. T. (2016). Role of academic managers in workload and performance management of academic staff: A case study. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 44(6), 1042-1063. doi:10.1177/1741143215587312

Qureshi, M. I., Rasli, A. M., & Zaman, K. (2014). A New Trilogy to Understand the Relationship among Organizational Climate, Workplace Bullying and Employee Health. Arab Economic and Business Journal, 9(2), 133-146. doi:https://doi. org/10.1016/j.aebj.2014.05.009

Grant, S. (2018). A war is being waged between nationalists and globalists and Australia is not immune. ABC News, 5 February, 4 pages downloaded.

Rea, J. (2018). University integrity undermined by declining public investment. NTEU Advocate, 25(2), 30 – 31.

Grove, J. (2018). Heroic leadership ‘will fail’ in higher education. Times Higher Education, June 29, 2 pages downloaded.

Rhodes, C., & Fleming, P. (2018). CEO pay is more about white male entitlement than value for money. The Conversation, July 24, 3 pages downloaded.

Holman Jones, S. (2016). Living Bodies of Thought:The ‘Critical’ in Critical Autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 22(4), 228-237. doi:10.1177/1077800415622509

Rudgard, O. (2018). Vice Chancellors can go to meetings which set their own pay at almost all universities. The Telegraph, 15 February, 3 pages downloaded.

hooks, b. (2013). Writing beyond race: living theory and practice. New York: Routledge. Hymas, C. (2018). Vice chancellor salary study demolishes their claims that pay rises are based on performance. The Telegraph, 6 June, 4 pages downloaded. Jameson, J. (2017). ‘Critical corridor talk’: just goppip or hidden moral resistance to managerialism? the negative capability of distributed higher education leadership. Paper presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education. Higher education rising to the challenge, Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales. https://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2017/abstracts/0141.pdf Jurkiewicz, C., & Giacalone, R. (2017). You can lead a man to oughta, but you can’t make him thin. In C. Jurkiewicz & R. Giacalone (Eds.), Radical thoughts on ethical leadership (pp. 1 – 20). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc. Jurkiewicz, C., & Grossman, D. (2012). Evil at work. In C. Jurkiewicz (Ed.), The foundations of organisational evil (pp. 3 – 15). Armonk, New Youk: M E Sharpe. Loh, J. (2013). Inquiry into Issues of Trustworthiness and Quality in Narrative Studies: A Perspective. The Qualitative Report, 18(33), 1 – 15. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol18/iss33/11 Luks, F. (2017). The ugly, the bad and the good. bullshit as discourse, accursed share and lubtricant. Journal of Extreme Anthropology, 1(1), 85 – 90. doi:10.5617/jea.5378 Lyons, K., & Hill, R. (2018). Million-dollar vice-chancellor salaries highlight what’s wrong with our universities. The Conversation, 5 February, 6 pages downloaded. McCulloch, G. (2018). NTEU at 25 – One era ends and another begins. NTEU Advocate, 25(2), 2. McNally, M. (2018). Academic Freedom. NTEU Advocate, 25(2), 36 – 37. Monbiot, G. (2017). Out of the wreckage. A new politics for an age of crisis. London: Verso. National Tertiary Education Union. (2017). 2015 NTEU State of the Uni survey. Report #2 Workloads. Retrieved from Melbourne, Vic: Neilson, G., & Wulf, J. (2012). How Many Direct Reports? Harvard Business Review, 90(4), 112 – 119. Patience, A. (2018). Towards a social democratic future for Australia. In J. Menadue (Ed.), Pearls and irritations daily (Vol. 2018). Retrieved from http:// johnmenadue.com/allan-patience-towards-a-social-democratic-future-foraustralia/

Shepherd, S. (2017). Managerialism: an ideal type. Studies in Higher Education, 1-11. doi:10.1080/03075079.2017.1281239 Sims, M. (in review). ‘Bullying is not tolerated here: we have policies and procedures which protect staff.’ An auto-ethnography of frustration. Article submitted to the International Journal of leadership in Education. 31 May 2018. Smyth, J. (2017). The toxic university. Zombie leadership, academic rock stars and neoliberal ideology. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Spector-Mersel, G. (2010). Narrative research: Time for a paradigm. Narrative Inquiry, 20(1), 204 – 224. Spicer, A. (2018). Business bullshit. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Stahlke Wall, S. (2016). Toward a Moderate Autoethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 15(1), 1609406916674966. doi:10.1177/1609406916674966 Stromquist, N. (2017). Twenty Years Later: International Efforts to Protect the Rights of Higher Education Teaching Personnel Remain Insufficient. An examination of achievements related to the existence of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel enacted in 1997. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/320839150_Twenty_Years_Later_International_Efforts_to_ Protect_the_Rights_of_Higher_Education_Teaching_Personnel_Remain_ Insufficient Stryker, S., & Burke, P. (2000). The past, present and future of an identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63, 284 – 297. Toczydlowska, E., & Bruckauf, Z. (2017). Growing Inequality and Unequal Opportunities in Rich Countries. Innocenti Research Brief, 2017-16, 5 pages downloaded. Tronto, J. (2017). There is an alternative: Homines curans and the limits of neoliberalism. International Journal of Care and Caring, 1(1), 27 – 43. doi:1 332/239788217X14866281687583 Verkuil, B., Atasayi, S., & Molendijk, M. L. (2015). Workplace Bullying and Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis on Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Data. PLOS ONE, 10(8), e0135225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135225 Wells, K. (2011). Narrative Inquiry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Young, K. Z. (2017). Workplace Bullying in Higher Education: The Misunderstood Academicus. Practicing Anthropology, 39(2), 14-17. doi:10.17730/0888-4552.39.2.14

Pennington, J. L., & Prater, K. (2016). The veil of professionalism: An autoethnographic critique of white positional identities in the figured worlds of white research performance. Race Ethnicity and Education, 19(5), 901-926. doi:10.1080/13613324.2014.885431

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Silencing behaviours in contested research & their implications for academic freedom Jacqui Hoepner Australian National University

What do attacks on ‘unpalatable’ research reveal about academic freedom? When academic work is curtailed, this cherished yet misunderstood concept is undermined. Silencing based on moral objection – rather than wrongdoing – suggests academic freedom is more constrained than we believe. On paper, academic freedom is rule-bound, yet ‘dangerous’ ideas produce overwhelmingly visceral reactions. It was these emotional responses I examined to explore the difference between what we believe academic freedom to be, and how it manifests in contentious fields. I conducted qualitative interviews with 18 researchers whose work elicited condemnation or constraint beyond ‘legitimate’ scholarly critique. I used mixed-methods data analysis to determine shared themes and characteristics. While academic institutions uphold their commitment to unfettered enquiry, ‘academic freedom’ is highly contingent and subject to the values of players in a range of disciplinary and institutional fields that together yield a generalised field of ‘academic research’. This research challenges assumptions about ‘freedom’ by identifying parameters that bound the notion. I argue the concept is indeed bounded, and that academics become aware of those bounds when they bump up – often unexpectedly – against them. Keywords: Academic freedom, silencing, moral disgust, peer review, qualitative research, reflexivity

Introduction

‘unacceptable’ enquiry in particular fields. I conclude these boundaries are only visible as ‘the rules’ once they

This paper is concerned with attacks on research

have been transgressed, when those actors threatened by

and what they reveal about the revered yet poorly

the transgression act to penalise rule breakers.

understood notion of ‘academic freedom’. I present data

This paper identifies 42 silencing behaviours present in

from interviews with academics from Australia, Canada,

attacks on research and interrogates what these behaviours

the US and UK whose work has been attacked on what

mean for our understanding of academic freedom. It is

appear to be moral grounds, rather than for demonstrable

important to distinguish between attacks based on moral

misconduct or flawed methods.

Although academic

objections and patent cases of wrongdoing, as the former

institutions promote and defend an ideal of academic

are not accounted for in the ‘legitimate’ limits to academic

freedom–that unfettered pursuit of knowledge is vital

freedom we see from an institutional perspective. That is,

to the function of universities–research silencing reveals

universities stress that with rights come responsibilities:

boundaries around what distinguishes ‘acceptable’ and

that research must take place according to scholarly

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conventions; ethics clearance, peer review and so on.

guarantees academics’ rights to pursue lines of enquiry,

Research silencing reveals more insidious limits to

as long as it is conducted in an appropriate and scholarly

academic freedom, as these silencing behaviours make

way. It is then left up to both the written conditions and

the rules that curtail freedom visible only once they have

often unspoken norms within academic communities

been broken.

to determine guarantees and limitations. It is clear these

Academic freedom

policies reflect the values of the day–‘academic freedom’ is contingent and constantly shifting, as seen in recent

This paper challenges what we expect and believe about

debates around ‘ministerial veto’ of Australian research

academic freedom. It is often considered an unbounded

projects (Piccini & Moses, 2018). It is not a guaranteed,

ideal–only by allowing researchers unfettered freedom

universal ‘good’. It is inherently bounded and limited, in

to pursue lines of enquiry can learning and knowledge

both spoken and unspoken ways. This can be seen in the

flourish (Department of Education University of Oxford,

current University of Sydney academic freedom policy:

n.d.). According to Jackson (2005, 2006) a typical Australian university policy considers academic freedom ‘fundamental to the proper conduct of teaching, research and scholarship. Academic and research staff should be guided by a commitment to freedom of inquiry’ (Jackson, 2005, p. 110). Conversely, other scholars point to a dangerous erosion of academic freedom. Several argue that the modern university, particularly in the western liberal-democratic world, has created perverse incentives that orient researchers towards agendas set by politicians of the day, rather than lines of enquiry the researcher deems important (Edwards & Roy, 2016; Hayes, 2015; Henry, 2006; Kinnear, 2001).

The University of Sydney declares its commitment to free enquiry as necessary to the conduct of a democratic society and to the quest for intellectual, moral and material advance in the human condition. The University of Sydney affirms its institutional right and responsibility, and the rights and responsibilities of each of its individual scholars, to pursue knowledge for its own sake, wherever the pursuit might lead… The University of Sydney, consistent with the principles enunciated in its mission and policies, undertakes to promote and support: the free, and responsible pursuit of knowledge through research in accordance with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards... (University of Sydney, 2008) The University of Sydney’s policy espouses commitment

Academic freedom in its modern form can be traced back

to the highest ideals of freedom, and the importance

to the German university model of the early nineteenth

of knowledge for its own sake. I draw attention to the

century (Hofstadter & Metzger, 1995). It originated from

explicit mention of ‘the rights and responsibilities of each

teaching, rather than research, based on freedom to

of its individual scholars, to pursue knowledge for its own

teach and freedom to learn (Bryden & Mittenzwei, 2013).

sake, wherever the pursuit might lead.’ The University of

‘Professors should have the right to perform teaching and

Sydney appears to make a theoretical commitment to pure

research according to their interests, and students should

or basic research. Implicit in this is the right for Sydney

have the right to choose what courses to follow’ (Bryden

University academics to pursue research, regardless of the

& Mittenzwei, 2013, p. 314). According to Shils (1995, p.

findings. That scholarship for its own sake is worthy and

7), the modern incarnation of academic freedom ‘protects

will be protected by the University.

the moral and intellectual integrity of the teachers’. In

My own university, the Australian National University

other words, ‘If the public cannot be sure whether a

(ANU) has recently introduced a Statement on Academic

teacher is independent in presenting her work, then the

Freedom that serves to bolster its existing rather

teacher has lost her integrity and her work is of minor

ambiguously written policy (Hoepner, 2017, pp. 94-95).

value’ (Bryden & Mittenzwei, 2013, p. 314). Academic

This Statement supports a commendable, high-level

freedom is considered fundamental to good research as

commitment to intellectual freedom:

well as teaching, if universities are to produce meaningful findings and help inform public debate. Most universities profess a fundamental commitment to academic freedom but can written, institutional policies really provide and guarantee the freedoms we believe they do? These policies are as much about protecting freedom as they are about structuring the conditions for research. Immediately obvious in these policies is a tension between rights and responsibilities. That is, the university

32

Academic freedom is fundamental to the life of The Australian National University. Our founding values require us to advance and transmit knowledge by undertaking research, education and public engagement of the highest quality… The Australian National University affirms its institutional right and responsibility, and the rights and responsibilities of its members, to free enquiry. The University will defend the right of our staff and students to exercise their academic freedom, provided it is done with rigor and evidence. (Australian National University, 2018)

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Documented cases of suppression overemphasise the major and dramatic events, such as dismissals and cutting off of funding, and underemphasise problems such as blocking of publication and subtle harassment by collegial disapproval. Documented cases also overemphasise instances in which channels for formal redress are available. (Martin, Baker, Manwell, Pugh, 1986, p. 5).

however, that despite this principled commitment, at

Dreger’s work around academic freedom, science and

the very same time I was discussing the development of

justice chronicles her experience navigating the tension

this Statement with ANU’s Academic Board and members

between activism and science in fields relating to sex and

of the Executive, my work drew a complaint from an

identity (2015). Dreger provides in-depth case studies of

external actor to the VC, leading to a lengthy embargo of

academics and scientists whose work provoked extreme

my doctoral thesis and an academic misconduct enquiry

backlash. Many of the cases involved research into sexual

(of which I was cleared of any wrongdoing). This is not

behaviour and identity, such as intersex, transgender

to criticise the ANU, but merely to suggest that perhaps

and biological bases for sexual coercion. She argues

the head does not always know what the tail is doing:

that attacks on researchers are due to science becoming

lengthy and complicated administrative procedures will

inextricably linked to personal feelings and sense of

continue to stifle ‘everyday’ academic freedom even

identity. Particularly in research on sexuality and sex

when those at the top believe it is fundamental to what

differences, science is relegated in favour of activism and

they do. Without carefully examining how ‘messy’ cases

advocacy. Rather than a few isolated cases, Dreger found

such as mine result in procedural silencing, even the most

patterns among researchers being punished for pursuing

principled institutions and policies may fall short of the

lines of enquiry deemed ‘unpalatable’.

ideal. Commendably, the ANU has taken steps to do so. Despite

noble

ideals, most

university

policies

acknowledge limits to academic freedom, through reference to ‘responsible conduct’, ‘ethical standards’ or ‘obligations’. Even on paper, academic freedom is limited.

I had accidentally stumbled onto something much more surreal- a whole fraternity of beleaguered and bandaged academics who had produced scholarship offensive to one identity group or another and who had consequently been the subject of various forms of shut-downs. (Dreger, 2015, p. 108).

There is a tension between what we think academic freedom means and the unspoken limits that constrain

In her pursuit of several case studies, Dreger begins

it. These limits are only revealed once they have been

to question notions of academic freedom and whether

transgressed, where we see a clear demarcation between

it is ‘right’ that some areas of research are considered

‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ lines of enquiry.

off-limits, and whether we should stop being afraid of

Research silencing How can we understand attacks on research? Previous scholars have explored attacks on academics and their implications for academic freedom, particularly Brian Martin (Martin et al.,1986; Martin, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2017), Alice Dreger (2015), Gordon Moran (1998) and Linda

dangerous ideas. Is there anything too dangerous to study? Should there be any limits? What if, in order to prove how important truth seeking is, we made a point out of studying the most dangerous ideas imaginable? What if we became unafraid of all questions? Unbridled in our support of the investigation of ‘dangerous’ ideas? (Dreger, 2015, p. 133)

Gottfredson (2010). These areas of the literature provide pertinent insights into attacks on research.

In the 1980s and 1990s, art historian Gordon Moran

Martin argues attacks on researchers can be understood

was compelled to investigate silencing in academic fields

as examples of ‘suppression of dissent’. He argues in most

after finding himself on the receiving end of ‘uncivil’

cases research is attacked it is because powerful interests

attacks from the ‘Guido Riccio affair’ (Moran, 1998).

shut down what they see as inconvenient research. Martin

Moran provides an apt justification for his (and my) use of

highlights a problem with trying to understand the nature

‘silencing’ as a preferred term to describe these responses

and extent of this problem: namely, overt examples of

to unpalatable or challenging work.

attacks on researchers may be unrepresentative of a broader problem. Clear-cut examples obscure more insidious forms, and the structures that enable and encourage them. vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Silencing is a more encompassing term than censorship, suppression or peer-review rejection. Silencing takes place at various levels: A scholar might be

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silenced, an idea might be silenced and the truth might be silenced by a big lie… Silence is not only imposed, in some cases, on scholars and ideas, but silence is also employed, by academic leaders and peer review authorities for instance, as a tactic… (Moran, 1998, p. 3)

Materials and methods

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gottfredson and

this research problem. When I first began my doctorate

a

fellow

colleague

encountered

five

Reflexivity statement It is important to acknowledge how and why I came to

overlapping,

at the Australian National University, I was investigating

yet technically separate ‘events’–including blocked

‘wind turbine syndrome’ and what factors influence

promotions and withdrawal of funding–that highlighted

these health concerns. In largely English-speaking,

the fraught and contested nature of academic freedom.

western countries, a phenomenon has affected several

She found that while her university paid lip service to its

small wind farm towns. Some individuals who live near

importance, their actions suggested otherwise. As a result,

turbines claim they make them sick. When I started, the

Gottfredson’s work provides six ‘lessons’ about academic

literature was small but suggested there was no credible

freedom.

evidence to link turbines with ill health (NHMRC, 2015).

Academic freedom, like free speech, (1) has maintenance costs, (2) is not self-enforcing, (3) is often invoked today to stifle unwelcome speech, (4) is often violated by academic institutions, (5) is not often defended by academics themselves, and (6) yet, requires no heroic efforts for collective enjoyment if scholars consistently contribute small acts of support to prevent incursions. (Gottfredson, 2010, p. 273)

And yet the fears and complaints persisted (Stop These

Most practically, Gottfredson provides a thought

indeed there was no physical link? The debate had been

experiment around what university guidelines really

polarised and divisive, with stark ‘sides’ well established.

mean. They appear so vague, contingent and context-

I hoped to occupy a more neutral and open space to

dependent they are almost meaningless.

explore what was happening. But before I could conduct

As a thought experiment, readers might ask themselves to whom they would turn if they thought their institution had violated their academic freedom. Who inside or outside your institution has any authority or responsibility to investigate or take action? Does your university have any written policies that specify what academic freedom is, what constitutes a violation, what constitutes credible evidence that the violation occurred, who rules on the evidence, and whether the institution is required to act on that ruling? Do all parties interpret the written procedures in the same way and, if not, whose interpretation holds? What are your options if the designated authorities simply refuse to entertain formal complaints or they dismiss compelling evidence as irrelevant? What if the authorities are the perpetrators against whom you seek protection? (Gottfredson, 2010, p. 274)

Things, 2013). I wanted to know if there were shared themes or experiences among those who claimed to suffer health problems, as some literature suggested (Chapman, St.George, Waller & Cakic, 2013; Hall, Ashworth, & Devine-Wright, 2013). What drove these concerns, if

a single interview, anti-wind groups (Stop These Things, 2015) and a major daily Australian newspaper (Lloyd, 2015) disrupted my data collection. While it had been difficult to recruit interview participants in such a polarised field as it was, the involvement of newspaper and anti-wind groups made it impossible. Both told their readers–the very people I was trying to recruit– that I was unqualified, untrustworthy and acting as a paid spokesperson for the wind industry. They said my agenda was to exploit and manipulate vulnerable people. Once I recovered, I realised this attack on my study presented an even more interesting line of enquiry than the one I’d originally intended to pursue. Why was my research considered ‘unacceptable’ and worthy of these silencing responses? This experience provoked analytical

These perspectives are valuable, but not comprehensive in

understanding

research

silencing

in

fascination with this phenomenon and was central to

Western,

the intellectual development of the project. My position

Anglophone higher education contexts. Both Martin and

as a ‘beleaguered academic’ was fundamental in how

Dreger’s accounts focus primarily on responses from

I approached the problem of research silencing and its

interest groups external to academia. While these and

implications for academic freedom.

other scholars have explored vested interests, ethical

It was necessary to employ a reflexive methodology,

perspectives and the mechanics of academic suppression,

common in participant-observer, ethnographic and

little analytical attention has been paid to the emotional,

anthropological studies (Engels-Schwarzpaul, A; Peters,

visceral landscape in which these conflicts occur, and the

2013; Guillermet, 2008; Nazaruk, 2011). ‘Reflexivity

wider implications for our right to pursue lines of enquiry,

is the process of reflection, which takes itself as the

no matter how controversial.

object; in the most basic sense, it refers to reflecting on

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oneself as the object of provocative, unrelenting thought

Analysis

and contemplation’ (Nazaruk, 2011, p. 73). Reflexivity

After completing the interviews, typing up transcripts and

requires a consistent, active awareness of, and reflection

ensuring the validity and acceptability of the data with

on my own position relative to the research problem. It

participants, I performed an iterative process of thematic

allows me to recognise why my initial research project

analysis, common in qualitative research (Fereday & Muir-

within the wind turbine syndrome space was always

Cochrane, 2006; Nowell, Norris, White, & Moules, 2017).

going to be difficult, if not impossible. It also allows

I carefully parsed the transcripts for emerging themes. I

me to acknowledge the various ways my position both

hand-coded themes and myself and supervisors reviewed

orients me and the enquiry I’m following, while also

these several times to ensure validity. Once preliminary

making it possible for me to gather a rich diversity of

themes were established, data was reviewed again to

data. Only by gaining participants’ trust, as ‘one of them’

group and analyse accordingly. From this analysis, it

was I able to elicit candid accounts of their experiences

was possible to identify shared themes and patterns,

with research silencing. While this began as an informal

particularly around the range of responses participants

impression, it became clear during interviews that our

encountered. The analysis also revealed the groups most

shared experiences allowed some participants to open

likely to instigate research silencing.

up in ways they would not have otherwise. (Further detail of my use of reflexive methodology can be found in: Hoepner, 2017 pp. 9-23).

Results Summary of Figure 1

Interviews

Figure 1 visually represents several aspects of my dataset.

My participants were researchers from Australia, the US, UK

The vertical axis represents discrete forms of silencing

and Canada whose work had been attacked, constrained

behaviour. They have been placed on a scale from more

or silenced in some demonstrable way. I identified many

covert or implicit behaviours (bottom), to overt or explicit

from adverse media coverage around their work as well as

behaviours (top) for ease of interpretation.The behaviours

tips from colleagues, while employing snowball sampling

range from self-policing or self-censorship, to termination

from these participants to identify researchers with

of employment. Pale grey represents silencing behaviour

similar experiences. Participants were from a range of

that came from within academia or the scientific

fields, though most overlapped with public health in some

community, while dark grey represents behaviours from

way, with participants’ findings challenging conventions

outside academia–whether members of the public,

around sugar, obesity, addiction, mammography and

media or industry. The horizontal axis represents the

circumcision, among others. Research which threatened

number of participants interviewed who encountered

identity (around race and sex in particular) was also prone

the behaviour. The 42 silencing behaviours in Figure 1

to attacks, which supports Dreger’s findings (Dreger,

have been broken into seven groupings: private silencing;

2015). It is worth noting that while some participants I

structural limitations; effects of polarisation; beyond peer-

interviewed were from physical science backgrounds

review; outside pressure; using old and new media; and

and could be described as ‘disgruntled academics’ who

allegations and discipline. This is to both simplify the

were blindsided and confused by the attacks on their

graph and provide a consolidation of the different types of

work, many were from social science disciplines and

behaviours my participants encountered. This means the

as such had examined research silencing within their

behaviours can be understood in several ways: grouping,

respective fields from a theoretical perspective too.These

level of overtness and whether the response came from

should be considered ‘participant-experts’ as their views

within or outside academia.

were nuanced, considered and based on theoretical and experiential knowledge.

Patterns of silencing behaviours

All 18 interviews were semi-structured, with questions

After analysing the data, it was possible to identify

following similar themes: how they became involved

42 distinct ‘silencing behaviours’ that participants

in the research, responses to their work and how they

experienced in response to their research. Most

feel about the same (Hoepner, 2017, pp. 29-30). While it

participants encountered multiple behaviours within

would be impossible to include the backgrounds of all

this range. As shown in Figure 1, these behaviours range

participants, full interviewee summaries can be found in

from subtle and hard to pin down, to overt or very public

Hoepner (2017, pp. 23-29).

attacks. The motivation for these silencing behaviours

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play here.

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Silencing behaviours from private (bottom) to most overt (top)

Termination Research misconduct inquiry Disciplinary action from employer Conflict of interest accusation Direct threats of violence Allegations of funding… Allegations of misrepresenting/… Accusations of ethical breach/…

Silencing behaviours from private (bottom) to most overt (top)

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Figure

1

is

something

Figure 1: Graph of silencing behaviours and their prevalence within and outside academia

of

translation–rendering conversational

data into quantifiable, tabular data are quantitative, or that

Using old and new media

Attacks from industry/ organisation Unwanted support/ endorsement… Contacting employer, demanding… Paying employer for contradictory…

Behaviour instigated from outside academia

Outside pressure

Behaviour instigated from within academia

Misinformation in journals Time-consuming inquiries/… Symposia attacking research Public statements decrying research Explicitly told to shut up or stop Keynote speech rebuttal Sustained minor harassment Misinformation on Wikipedia page

they are representative of all

academic

of

responses

experiences to

research

more broadly. However, it does provide a sense of how prevalent

the

behaviours

were within the dataset. Is it

Beyond peer review

an anomaly only experienced by one or two participants,

Polarisation

Difficulty collecting data due to… Pressure to declare 'a side' Rejecting/ disbelieving claims of…

or is it something we can see across disciplines, across different

Pressure to follow research orthodoxy Research communities close ranks Pressure to not 'add fuel to the fire' Pressure to give up/ shift to… Only able to do research in very… Ethics committee limitation/… Shut out from major journals Impossible-to-reconcile peer-review… Funding bodies limiting scope for… Pressure to only find positive/… Pressure to respond in peer-reviewed…

0

W

data. This is not to say my

Spreading misinformation in blogs/… Media involvement/ interrogation/s Harassment over social media

Private cautioning from colleagues Intimidating younger students Friendships tested over academic… Colleagues giving 'cold shoulder' Self-policing or self-censorship

a

qualitative,

Allegations and discipline

E

countries

and

systems, that may suggest a pattern in negative responses to research? It is important to stress that overt cases

Structural

of

research

often

appear

suppression anomalous.

This rendering of the data into clear thematic patterns

Private silencing

2

4

6

8

illustrates this is a problem 10

Scale represents number of participants affected by silencingby behaviour Scale represents number of participants affected silencing behaviour Figure 1: Graph of silencing behaviours and their prevalence within and outside academia Examples of silencing behaviours

that plays out in subtle and explicit

ways,

originating

from both inside and outside academia, and across different disciplines. The significance

of this problem is worthy of While it would be impossible to outline and provide examples of all 42 silencing behaviours within the investigation and analysis. word limit, a selection is given below. was often unclear at the outset, though from researching As such, it is necessary to each Self-censorship participant’s orexperiences interviews, formalise tabulate thematic and behavioural patterns self-policing inthrough this instance refers to participants who feltand pressure to avoid controversial topics they felt it wasliterature; too risky or potentially damaging to theirfor careers. surrounding mediaresearch coverage andaspeer-reviewed within the dataset this problem to be considered Participants who mentioned this had either previously been attacked suppressed and didway: not want it seemed well beyond the standard peer-review process in aormore productive that tothis is not just sensitive experience it again, had witnessed a colleague encounter backlash or had some well-founded reason to researchers expect. From my investigation into their academics feeling slighted. Visualising the data reveals respective cases, opponents in most cases were unable to provide proof of misconduct or wrongdoing. From the

there is something more systemic at play here.

beginning of this project, the responses followed similar 7 patterns. For instance, many mentioned accusations of

Examples of silencing behaviours

conflict of interest or denouncements in mass media.

examples of all 42 silencing behaviours within the word

Once I began interviewing participants and analysing

limit, a selection is given below.

While it would be impossible to outline and provide

the data, it became clear these kinds of responses were

Self-censorship or self-policing in this instance refers

common. These responses are not part of an established

to participants who felt pressure to avoid controversial

peer-review structure, as they do not appear to be aimed at

research topics as they felt it was too risky or potentially

improving research or furthering understanding through

damaging to their careers. Participants who mentioned

critique, but rather to silence or shut down.

this had either previously been attacked or suppressed

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and did not want to experience it again, had witnessed a

in public forums, rather than through journal peer-review.

colleague encounter backlash or had some well-founded

This overlaps with several other behaviours. This often

reason to avoid controversial research. For example, a

caught participants by surprise, as they expect to justify

participant from public health discussed the various

their work through established peer review channels

reasons academics may avoid particular research areas.

and not in the mainstream media. An epidemiology

I don’t doubt that concern about the reputational damage and personal attacks deter a lot of people from getting involved in the field, or at least in making public comment on these sorts of controversial issues. It probably also affects their preparedness to get involved in the research.

participant believed he was doing the right thing by sending advance publications of his follow-up paper to relevant organisations, but it ultimately backfired.

When… I knew the 25 year follow-up was about to be released by the BMJ, I notified the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute that it was coming out, and I sent them the advance publication. Their reaction was This kind of silencing behaviour may be entirely to thank me for this, but what it did was to arm them unspoken or even unconscious. It would be difficult to with the ability to react as soon as our report hit the ascertain how prevalent academics policing themselves media, when they were out in force decrying it, on the wrong basis. So, these were out of controversial topics is, people who were definitely as there is little data on what It would be difficult to ascertain how obsessed with the idea that research academics choose mammography was the right prevalent academics policing themselves not to pursue. This comment thing to do and they weren’t out of controversial topics is, as there is prepared to listen to evisuggests steering clear of little data on what research academics dence. fields likely to draw attacks might happen at every stage

choose not to pursue.

of research–from deciding

Contacting requesting

employer, disciplinary

not to pursue it in the first place, through to avoiding

action in this study refers to participants whose critics

publication or public engagement.

called or emailed their employer demanding they be

Shut out from major journals in this context refers to

punished, or their position terminated.This was a common

participants unable to get published in major journals

silencing behaviour described by participants. While one-

because journal editors and reviewers considered their

off calls did not appear to be persuasive in most cases,

position indefensible. This appears not as a matter

they may have exerted influence when enough pressure

of substantive problems with methodology or data

was applied. This pressure also contributed to a lingering

analysis, but intolerance of the moral implications of

sense of unease in participants, as the implication was

the paper. An anthropologist I interviewed recounted

that they had acted inappropriately in some way. An

her difficulties getting published in mainstream

evolutionary biologist participant was generally unmoved

circumcision journals.

by the attacks he encountered but says the ones that did

I had kind of extraordinary attempts to try and stop publication of the paper. And it took… a long time to get that paper published. I had something like 25 reviews for that paper… And what was happening too is that I quickly realised that there were certain people that if the paper was sent to them they were just in principle opposed to everything I was saying in the paper, so I would specifically list them as non-preferred reviewers. But then what I realised at a certain point was that it was intentionally being sent to those people I had indicated as non-preferred reviewers. And then I think one of the reviews I received in about the third journal I submitted it to, was a one-sentence review where the person said ‘In my prior 8000-word review on this topic, I’ve indicated why the arguments are untenable in this paper and it can’t be published. Full stop, end of story.’

upset him were those that questioned his professionalism and integrity. What bothered me about it was they felt their perception of it was accurate and correct and as a consequence, I must have done something improper. And as a result, they… went as far as they could to try to penalise me for my behaviour. Now this is contacting the Vice Chancellor of our university, contacting the ARC regarding my funding statement. Meanwhile, if they’d just approached me I would have said ‘This is where it came from, this is how I got it.’ And I tried to do that to some and they just said they didn’t believe me. Research misconduct inquiry refers to participants who were forced to defend their work against claims of wrongdoing in an official investigation. Although participants who experienced this behaviour were

Public statements decrying research in this analysis

ultimately cleared of misconduct, they believe their

refers to participants who had their research condemned

reputations sustained damage throughout the process. A

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nutritionist I interviewed explained her anxiety around

from perpetuating visceral, knee-jerk responses. The data

having a research misconduct inquiry, as she feared her

indicates these reactions are just as prevalent within

reputation might be permanently affected.

academia as without, if not more so. After all, cognitive

I was stunned when… the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research… made the decision, after a long time, I think it probably was December 2013, so we’d been now going almost two years. She made the decision that the only way to settle this was to institute an inquiry into research misconduct. And honestly the words ‘research misconduct’ were enough to make me feel sick, because you know, it would mean from thereon in if someone, you know, got your name and just Googled it, it would be associated soon enough with something called ‘research misconduct’. And you didn’t have to read far to gain the impression that I’d done something wrong.

biases and partisan thinking can be exacerbated when one is expertly trained in research and distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sources (Kahan, 2014). The impact of internal attacks should not be downplayed. Certainly, ministerial vetoes make the news (Piccini & Moses, 2018), but the way the academy internalises and ‘weaponises’ societal expectations, orthodoxy and palatability through ‘legitimate’ structures such as conferences, ethics, peer review, for instance, to silence colleagues can have a much more significant, and more insidious influence on the research that is, or is not conducted.

Discussion

What does research silencing reveal about academic freedom?

Distinction between responses from inside and outside academia

The silencing behaviours described lie outside established

In this analysis, I have chosen to distinguish between

expects to deal with, based on (flawed) assumptions

responses initiated by those inside the academic

around academic freedom and research protocols.

community, and those outside the community, whether

These responses do not appear to be based on critical

they are interest groups, media, public figures or industry.

or rational critique. Rather, these are impulsive, knee-jerk,

Within my data, recriminations arising within the academy

visceral responses aimed at shutting down, denouncing

against academics that crossed these lines were far more

or silencing unpalatable or discomfiting research. We see

prevalent than those from outside. Some participants

communities closing ranks and penalising those who

encountered attacks from both insiders and outsiders

cross boundaries or refuse to play by the rules.

peer-review

channels, beyond

what

an

academic

and this did not necessarily correlate with whether or

Is academic freedom really what we think it is? Does

not they were supported by their institution.This reflects

it live up to the ideal? It would seem that once research

findings from the broader literature (Martin 2002, 2017;

crosses a boundary–and deemed unacceptable–unspoken

Dreger, 2015; Gottfredson, 2010; Moran, 1998) that many

and invisible boundaries are revealed, drawing a clear line

academics are left to defend themselves when institutions

between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ research. Patterns of silencing

fear reputational or financial damage.

behaviours establish what it looks like when researchers

A distinction between insiders and outsiders is

are punished for transgressing boundaries.

important for a couple of reasons. First, the behaviour may

So what drives attacks on research when no substantive

feel more or less hurtful depending on who initiated it.

misconduct or wrongdoing is present? A visceral, knee-

An attack from a member of the public can be dismissed

jerk response. One aimed at shutting down lines of

more easily as ‘ignorant’ or ‘ill informed’, as several

enquiry, and reprimanding those not playing by the rules.

participants did. Opposition from an industry group who

Hidden limits are revealed in a close examination of the

feel threatened by findings provides a clear motivation

relations of disgust. These limits are particularly apparent

to suppress or condemn research. These external attacks

in lines of enquiry that threaten the public health field,

may be just as devastating and limiting as any other, but the

in and through my interrogation of the actors who

reason may be easier to understand or accept. However,

have experienced silencing of their work. Moral disgust

if a peer within the academic community attacks your

literature suggests people may ‘primitively’ appraise ideas

research, particularly outside of established peer review

they find morally reprehensible, rather than cognitively

channels, it may be much more difficult to comprehend

processing them (Chapman & Anderson, 2013). This

the backlash.This confusion may contribute to an already

response may override critical, conscious thought. It’s

distressing atmosphere.

important to acknowledge that while emotion may

It is also important to separate these responses because

motivate the initial response, those opposed to offending

it suggests academic training does not stop someone

research can be quite methodical and careful in employing

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silencing tactics. In these emotive responses, Haidt argues

Martin. I was not concerned with discussing examples

the ‘rational mind’ can operate in service of passions, not

where researchers had demonstrably breached codes

in spite of them (Haidt, 2012).

of ethics or manipulated data. My sole focus was on

Most academics will likely never encounter this response and will continue to take the ideals universities espouse for granted. It is only those cases in which a researcher

exploring research silencing and its implications for academic freedom.

pushes a previously unseen boundary that we see this

Implications for academic freedom

visceral response, exposing the fragility of the academic

This paper questions assumptions usually associated

freedom ideal. My participants’ stories demonstrate that

with the concept of ‘academic freedom’. Academic

when academic work crosses boundaries, individuals or

freedom is not a given, without limits or borders. While

groups will wield whatever power is at their disposal to

we may acknowledge more ‘legitimate’ constraints to the

shut down the offender. There is no attempt to engage

practice of academic freedom, such as peer review and

critically or review the work in question. It is simply to

ethics protocols, there are unspoken, insidious ‘rules’ that

silence, to stop, to shut down.

severely curtail and silence particular research, in ways that go beyond written policies. This means that academics’

Limitations

own understanding of their

The nature of this research

While we may acknowledge more ‘legitimate’ constraints to the practice of academic freedom, such as peer review and ethics protocols, there are unspoken, insidious ‘rules’ that severely curtail and silence particular research, in ways that go beyond written policies.

meant I relied on a relatively small sample of the more extreme cases of research silencing.

In

recruiting

academics and researchers whose

work

had

been

publicly attacked or at the very least contested enough

rights and responsibilities is inadequate, as they expect to be protected so long as they ‘play by the rules’. I have argued that we should not take academic freedom policies for granted, as the silencing

behaviours

I’ve

documented here reveal that

to draw my attention, I likely

boundary transgressions can

missed more subtle or insidious cases. The true scale of

be harshly penalised, despite academics believing they

research silencing, from private silencing, through to

were doing ‘all the right things’. This paper calls for a

disciplinary action is difficult to comprehensively account

more reflective, honest examination of the ways research

for.

silencing sets the conditions for scholarly thinking and

Another

limitation

disproportionate

of

my

geographical

sample

was

their

enquiry, rather than accepting the ‘just there’ ideal of

representation.

Most

academic freedom.

participants were from Australia, with around a third from the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

Implications for the literature

This means I missed stories from academics in other

This paper has significant implications for the broader

parts of the world. European countries such as Finland,

literature around contested research and academic

Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Spain measure

freedom. In some ways, it reinforces respective findings

highly on five indicators of academic freedom, including

from Martin, Dreger and Gottfredson that vested interests,

academic tenure and legislative protection (Karran, 2007).

identity and controversy can influence and curtail what

Conversely, countries like the United Arab Emirates, China

research is seen as ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’. While

and Singapore are more overtly restrictive than the four

previous work in this field provides pertinent insights

countries I drew participants from (Kinser, 2015). My

into the problem of research silencing and its implications

dataset was overwhelmingly drawn from English speaking,

for academic freedom, this paper goes further. I argue that

western, liberal-democratic countries.

it is not that academic freedom policies are being flouted,

This paper was never intended to assess the validity

or ignored, or breached in cases of research silencing-

of my participants’ research. Unlike Alice Dreger, I was

but the protections widely assumed to be provided by

not concerned with proving through comprehensive

academic freedom are illusory. The boundaries between

research and analysis that my participants were justified

‘good’ and ‘bad’ research are only see-able once they have

in their research. I was also less concerned with the

been crossed. These boundary crossings override any

structures that enable suppression of dissent, like Brian

‘legitimate’ rules, which creates confusion and a sense of

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injustice for those academics penalised: ‘I thought I was doing the right thing.’

Implications for players in the field My research findings have significant implications for players in academic fields, including universities, research communities and individual academics. University policies pertaining to academic freedom promote an unrealistic ideal; suggesting unfettered enquiry is fundamental to their role within society, despite competing obligations

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References Australian National University. (2018). The Australian National University Statement on Academic Freedom. Released 23 July 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.anu.edu.au/files/committee/ANU%20Statement%20on%20 Academic%20Freedom.pdf Bryden, J. & Mittenzwei, K. (2013). Academic freedom, democracy and the public policy process. Special Issue: Sociology, Knowledge and Evidence in Rural Policy Making, 53(3), pp311–330. http://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12012 Chapman, H. & Anderson, A. K. (2013). Things rank and gross in nature: a review and synthesis of moral disgust. Psychological Bulletin, 139(2), 300–27. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0030964

brand management, among others. While many academic

Chapman, S., St.George, A., Waller, K. & Cakic,V. (2013). The Pattern of Complaints about Australian Wind Farms Does Not Match the Establishment and Distribution of Turbines: Support for the Psychogenic, “Communicated Disease” Hypopaper. PLOS ONE, 8:10, pp1–9.

freedom policies stress researchers must meet scholarly

Dreger, A. (2015). Galileo’s Middle Finger. New York: Penguin Press.

to ‘client

service

delivery’, industry

stakeholders,

international collaborations, broader ‘national interest’ and

requirements, these legitimate and widely accepted ‘rules’ ultimately mean nothing if a line of enquiry crosses a boundary and is deemed ‘bad’ or ‘dangerous’. It will not matter that academics ‘fulfilled scholarly responsibilities’ to those threatened by a boundary transgression, whether representatives of university administration, academia, industry groups or the public. For research communities, this paper argues for a more reflective approach to the work we do, and whether it is justifiable to silence findings we disagree with. If we continue to allow lines of enquiry we don’t like to be curtailed, narrowed or shut down, does all research become conditional and subject to research silencing? This paper concludes individual academics need to recognise that although they may satisfy scholarly requirements, their work may still cross a boundary and as such provoke research silencing. Calls to defend academic freedom in light of attacks on researchers mean little when our understanding of ‘academic freedom’ itself is so lacking.

Acknowledgements

Edwards, M. A. & Roy, S. (2016). Academic Research in the 21st Century: Maintaining Scientific Integrity in a Climate of Perverse Incentives and Hypercompetition, Environmental Engineering Science 34:1, p51–61. http:// doi.org/10.1089/ees.2016.0223. Engels-Schwarzpaul A. & Peters, M. (2013). Of Other Thoughts: NonTraditional Ways to the Doctorate: A Guidebook for Candidates and Supervisors. Rotterdam, NLD: SensePublishers. Fereday, J. & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis: A Hybrid Approach of Inductive and Deductive Coding and Theme Development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(1), 80–92. http://doi.org/10.1177/160940690600500107 Gottfredson, L. S. (2010). Lessons in academic freedom as lived experience. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(4), 272–280. http://doi. org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.001 Guillermet, E. (2008). Reflexivity–A tool for the anthropologist. An example: the fieldwork of a French PhD student. Antropoweb, 16–21. Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. Hall, N., Ashworth, P. & Devine-Wright, P. (2013). Societal acceptance of wind farms: analysis of four common themes across Australian case studies. Energy Policy, 58, 200–208. Hayes, D. (2015). New ranking exposes curbs on university freedom of speech. The Conversation. Retrieved February 3, 2016, from https://theconversation. com/new-ranking-exposes-curbs-on-university-freedom-of-speech-37060 Henry, A. (2006). Academic Freedom Under Fire: The Case for Critical Pedagogy. College Literature, 33(4), 1–42.

as always.

Hoepner, J. (2017). You Need to Shut Up: Research Silencing and What it Reveals about Academic Freedom. PhD Thesis. Open Research–Repository, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, The Australian National University. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/121823

Dr Jacqui Hoepner is Early Career Fellow for HDR

Jackson, J. (2005). Express Rights to Academic Freedom in Australian Public University Employment. Southern Cross University Law Review, 9, 107–146.

I would like to thank the researchers who generously gave their time to share their often-traumatic experiences. To Professor Simone Dennis for her expertise and guidance,

Supervision at the Australian National University, where she also teaches Masters and undergraduate courses at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology. Her scholarly work focuses on institutional culture, academic freedom, critical public health and contested research. Contact: jacqui.hoepner@anu.edu.au

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Jackson, J. (2006). Implied Contractual Rights to Academic Freedom in Australian Universities. Southern Cross University Law Review, 10(2005), 139–200. Kahan, D. (2014) Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem. Advances in Political Psychology (2015) 36, 1-43. Kinnear, P. (2001). Academic Freedom and Commercialisation of Australian Universities Perceptions and experiences of social scientists. The Australia Institute, 37.

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Lloyd, G. (2015). In response to the Media Watch report about The Australian’ s coverage of wind farms. The Australian. Retrieved from http:// www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/in-response-to-the-mediawatch-report-about-the-australians-coverage-of-wind-farms/news-story/ ea7e13660d70930785876c412a97917c Martin, B (ed.). (1996). Confronting the Experts. Albany: State University of New York Press. Martin, B. (1999). Suppression of dissent in science. Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, 7, 105–135. Martin, B. (2002). Dilemmas of defending dissent: the dismissal of Ted Steele from the University of Wollongong. Australian Universities’ Review, 45:2, 7–17. Martin, B. (2017). Defending university integrity. International Journal for Education Integrity, 13:1, 1–14. Martin, B., Baker, C.M., Manwell, C. & Pugh, C. (eds.). (1986). Intellectual Suppression: Australian Case Histories, Analysis and Responses. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Moran, G. (1998). Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields: Power, Paradigm Controls, Peer Review, and Scholarly Communication. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN: 156750342X, 9781567503425 Nazaruk, M. (2011). Reflexivity in anthropological discourse analysis. Anthropological Notebooks, 17:1, 73–83.

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NHMRC. (2015). NHMRC Statement and Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health. Retrieved from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/ health-topics/wind-farms-and-human-health Nowell, L. S., Norris, J. M., White, D. E., & Moules, N. J. (2017). Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16:1, pp1–13. http://doi.org/10.1177/1609406917733847 Piccini, J & Moses, D. (2018). Simon Birmingham’s intervention in research funding is not unprecedented, but dangerous. The Conversation, published online 26 October 2018. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/simonbirminghams-intervention-in-research-funding-is-not-unprecedented-butdangerous-105737. Shils, E. (1995) Academic freedom and permanent tenure. Minerva 33, pp5–17 Stop These Things. (2013). Cape Bridgewater: Sonia. Australia: YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx1rRxMUwvc&list=PLAktpg ushkOMxKByCxZ5ZvwxfALpC3v1x&index=4 Stop These Things. (2015). Simon Chapman, Will Grant & Jacqui Hoepner: the Wind Industry’s Health “Expert” Great Pretenders. Retrieved from https:// stopthesethings.com/2015/03/16/simon-chapman-will-grant-jacqui-hoepnerthe-wind-industrys-health-expert-great-pretenders/ University of Oxford, Department of Education. (n.d.). Academic freedom and values. Retrieved from http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/about-us/academicfreedom-and-values/ University of Sydney. (2008). Charter of Academic Freedom, (May), 2008.

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Publications, citations and impact factors Myth and reality Robert Jeyakumar Nathan Multimedia University, Malaysia

Omar Bin Shawkataly Universiti Sains Malaysia

This article discusses the role of university academics as researchers. In present-day society which touts instant gratification, the primary role of a university is being undermined. In Malaysia, academics no longer teach and research as they please but are ‘guided’ by government agencies and influenced by the priorities of funding agencies. One of the components of academic freedom is the freedom to publish. Academics publish research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. They choose journals in which their articles will be peer-reviewed, published and read by the communities of interest. However, lately many academics tend to publish in journals based on rankings, in journals reputed to have higher impact than others. Often young academics are puzzled whether they should publish where it matters or where it would quickly boost the key performance indicators (KPIs) set by the university. This article highlights some of these struggles in modern academia and exposes several examples of academic misconduct. Keywords: role of academics, academic freedom, journal ranking, academic misconduct

focus and concern would be students’ learning. For

Introduction

lecturers and professors, their main focus is often their field of expertise that they research and teach. Lecturers

Academics are pillars of educational endeavour and

and professors seek to invigorate students’ thinking on

agents of knowledge discovery and dissemination. Some

their subject matter, by constantly questioning the status

academics only conduct research, while others busy

quo and providing new perspectives to a subject matter

themselves solely with teaching. Still others have mastered

through research.

the delicate art of balancing both teaching and research.

Their focus would be discovering new knowledge and

In a nutshell, an academic’s value lies not merely in

contributing to the greater body of knowledge. In terms

fulfilling the role of a teacher, but also in active discovery

of knowledge creation, researchers play a pivotal role

and disseminating knowledge through research.

in the academy in their systematic attempt to conduct

Let us examine the roles of the teacher and contrast

research to provide answers to important questions.

it with a lecturer who conducts research. A teacher

This is in line with the purpose of research which aims

uses a syllabus with textbooks as guides to teach and

to enhance knowledge and generate new applications

convey knowledge to students, aiming to ensure students’

from newly-discovered knowledge (Sulo et al., 2012).

comprehension of the subject matter. A teacher’s primary

The danger is that the wheel might be reinvented. A

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researcher’s worst nightmare is to get stuck in the middle

contribution to the common good, which depends on

of their research, only to discover that the same work has

the free search for truth and its free exposition. It is this

already been done (Noll, 1997). To avoid this, researchers

which justifies academic freedom, not the interests of the

need to be constantly updated with the changes to the

individual academic or even the interests of a university.

existing body of knowledge and new knowledge in their

Ideally, academic freedom functions to fulfil the two main

field of research.

roles of higher education, which have been defined by Franke (2011, p. 2-3) as the advancement of ‘knowledge

Academic freedom

through research and creativity’ and the education of students in such a manner that they are able to ’develop

In the process of knowledge creation and dissemination,

their own independence of mind’.

academics crave academic freedom. Academic freedom

In line with this, academics should be given the

refers to the independence and autonomy given to

freedom to conduct research, publish, share and explore

academics to teach and conduct research in any capacity

ideas, in addition to maintaining the quality of their

without being constrained by rules and regulations,

respective institutions (Herther, 2009), uninhibited by

thereby allowing them to discover and disseminate newly-

numbers or rankings or tenure.Tenure is the permanency

found ideas regardless of their sensitivity (Robinson &

of employment up to the age of retirement which

Moulton, 2001). Additionally, scholars require academic

ensures that academics will not be dismissed based on

freedom which allows them to work and research

their freedom to publish in their areas of interest. As

without restraint and/or interference by other individuals,

academics, they should be able to conduct research

authorities and the government (Robinson & Moulton,

in their preferred area (Wicks, 2004) and advance

2001). In having this form of freedom, academics may

knowledge where they see fit without being worried

effectively focus on research which can generate, nurture

that their contract will not be renewed just because

and exchange ideas and knowledge more freely, without

they are not publishing in line with the university’s rigid

being confined to rules and regulations that might limit

research map.

the scope of their work. To conduct research free from

Engaging

in

research

enhances

one’s

personal

external influences and be able to teach and share

development and provides new knowledge for teaching

knowledge freely without any form of control, as well as

purposes. Teachers or educators active in research

having the right to choose problems for investigation is

will acquire skills and knowledge and enhance their

the traditional view of academic freedom (Polanyi, 1998).

students’ learning experience by delivering quality

Scholars and researchers should be granted the right

teaching sessions and encouraging knowledge sharing

to conduct research without interference or suppression

among students (Thomas & Harris, 2000; Nathan et al.,

in accordance with their professional principles of

2017). By cutting down on teaching hours and offering

intellectual rigour, scientific inquiry and research

more research grants, institutions of higher learning can

ethics. They should also have the right to publish and

encourage academics to engage in active and continuous

communicate the conclusions of the research which they

research (Katz & Coleman, 2001). However, academics

have authored or co-authored.

should be given leeway (Franke, 2011) in finding the

Aby & Kuhn (2000) stipulated that academic freedom

delicate balance between teaching and research, and

encourages the exploration of new ideas, the testing of

in choosing areas of investigative research without

received wisdom and, ultimately, the search for truth; it is

compromising on teaching and research standards merely

the sine qua non of free inquiry. This resonates with the

to fulfil the goals of funding agents or market trends.

very notion of education in the words of John F. Kennedy;

Academic freedom is inseparable from a university’s

‘the goal of education is the advancement of knowledge

role as the critic and conscience of a society, because

and the dissemination of truth’ (Kennedy, 1956). In the

academic freedom can only exist within an environment

past, threats to academic freedom, and subsequently to

that encourages creativity, radical ideas and criticism of

freedom of intellectual enquiry and expression, have

the status quo (Jones, Galvin & Woodhouse, 2000). Here

originated from individuals and groups within and outside

the university ought not to focus its research directions

the university, who wield their power to prevent the

merely towards meeting industry needs; rather it should

expression of opinions contrary to their own.

look at the holistic role of the university towards the

Academic freedom is essential in higher education institutions if these organisations are to make their proper vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

entire spectrum of society (Nathan, Tan & Shawkataly (2013).

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Publishing and journal impact factors

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to consider, the age of citations, permissible articles, or the question of including self-citations; hence, there is no

According to Rowley and Slack (2000), the main reason

such thing as “the” correct journal. Ultimately researchers

academics publish is to allow more people to access their

should publish their work in relevant journals where it

work and provide a platform to share new findings or

matters by considering topic relevance and readership.

ideas. If there is no restriction on scholarly property rights

Apart from ranking, the quality of research should not

or confidentiality, and the principal agrees, the researcher

be solely dependent on impact, defined by Herther (2009)

is free to publish. Publishing as a new researcher provides

and Gumpenberger et al. (2012) to mean the number of

one with a better sense of personal achievement, improves

times a researcher’s work has been cited by others. The

one’s writing and communication skills, contributes

number of publications and citations received constitute

to a better resumé and garners recognition. During the

what is known as the impact factor. Academics are

production of a piece for publication, most scholars fall

considered influential by their quantity of publications

back on journal articles, monographs and conference

and also the fact that their work is frequently cited by

papers that have been published by others as their

others in the field. The popular notion is that if one’s

sources of reference (Turk, 2008), commonly referred

work is not cited by others, the research is not attractive

to as the literature review. The number of publications

enough or has not produced new knowledge, thus

that a researcher has accomplished also adds credence

having less impact. A piece of literature that has gained a

in terms of fulfilling the criteria for future recruitment

higher number of citations tends to have a higher impact

(Gumpenberger, Wieland & Gorraiz, 2012).

over others (Zhang, Su & Deng, 2008). From a holistic

In highlighting the importance of research publications,

perspective however, many other elements are just as

Yuyuenyongwatana and Carraher (2008) emphasised (i)

important, and they include the reputation of the journal’s

the pursuit of knowledge; (ii) the extrinsic rewards to

editors and review board, researchers’ insights, rankings,

those publishing; and (iii) the increase in the prestige

the impact factor, colleagues’ opinions, the journal’s

of the institution within which the publishing faculty

longevity, rate of acceptance, and circulation number, all

is affiliated. According to Knight and Steinbach (2008),

of which are pertinent factors which may affect number

scholars across disciplines have substantial common

of citations and impact factor (Bontis & Serenko, 2009).

interests with respect to journal publishing, thereby

In addition to meeting the requirements of quantity

strengthening the ties that unite academics seeking to

and quality, it is well-known that academics worldwide

publish, which inadvertently lead to a potentially high

face pressure to publish in prestigious English language

likelihood of future cross-disciplinary research, and a

journals, with the journal impact factor being the most

correspondingly robust environment for an intellectual

widely recognised indicator of journal prestige and

exchange of information.

influence. The impact factor was designed to assess

In academia, productivity is defined by the number of

journals indexed by the Web of Knowledge, and it

research endeavours conducted over a specific period,

measures how often an article in a journal has been

while the quality of research, which cannot be measured

cited on average per year. For journals within the same

tangibly, is dependent on peer or expert reviews.

subject category, the factor indicates the journal’s relative

Publication productivity often serves as a requirement

influence or impact. The impact factor reflects average

for consideration in the extension of tenure, promotion,

citation rates for articles; a high impact factor shows that

and academic merit pay. Gomez-Mejia and Balkin (1992)

a journal is important in its field. Based on this, many

reported the most significant determinant of differences

scholars select journals in which they hope to publish.

in academic pay levels at institutions granting both

According to Editage Insights (2013), although the

doctorate and non-doctorate degrees, was publication in

journal’s impact factor serves as a useful tool for the

top-tier journals.

evaluation of journals, it must be used wisely.

The

In terms of quality, Engemann and Wall (2009) stipulated

selection of a journal for researchers to send their

that a journal ranking should not be assumed to be a

manuscripts should not rest solely on the impact factor,

definitive indicator of the relative quality of individual

simply because some journals have a lower impact factor

papers within the journal, and that any ranking should be

due to their narrow focus area, while other journals with

handled with a great deal of care when being used for

broad focus areas tend to have a higher impact factor. As

decision making. For all journals, a rank is the outcome

such, researchers should determine the quality of a journal

of many judgment calls, be it on the actual set of journals

using other indicators like Source Normalised Impact per

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Paper (SNIP) and the Eigenfactor score (ES), to get a better

exceptional for a researcher who has been publishing

idea of the journal’s prestige and influence.

for 20 years. Higher learning institutions are using this

In light of the fact that research publications often add

among many other metrics to help them in making tenure

prestige and status to an institution (Kirkpatrick & Locke,

decisions, awarding grants and allocating research funds

1992; Manning & Barrette, 2005), reputable institutions,

(Jacso, 2008).

especially research-oriented ones, often require their

In addition to the H-index, there is an indicator known

academics to publish in top-tier journals. This notion is

as the g-index introduced by Leo Egghe (2006), which is

compounded by Fogarty and Ravencroft (1999), who, in

an enhanced version of the H-index. This was followed

their examination of a population of accounting-based

by the contemporary h-index, known as the hc-index,

scholars with PhDs between 1986 and 1996, found a

introduced by Antonis Sidiropoulos, Dimitrios Katsaros,

strong relationship between the willingness of academics

and Yannis Manolopoulos (2007), and finally the e-index

to publish and the status of an institution.

introduced by Chun-Ting Zhang in 2009, all providing

The presence of the Internet is another element that has made its mark in the evolution of research publication

different tools to measure the impact factor and citations of a researcher (Sun & Wang, 2013).

culture, where researchers now have higher accessibility

Due to the strong correlation between peer judgments

to journals via the online mode. Electronic journals, or

and citation frequencies, citations tend to be used as an

e-journals, provide a sense

indicator

of efficiency in terms of

This prompts scholars and academics to engage more aggressively in doing research for the purpose of gaining extrinsic rewards rather than for their own interest or for the sake of acquiring or disseminating new knowledge and to push the boundaries of knowledge in their field of specialisation.

mobility, ease in reading and publishing, saving time and cost, and reducing the barriers between researchers and readers (Rao, 2001). Thanks to the accessibility provided by the Internet, the traditional platform for research

publications

among

of

quality

and

other

things, for

benchmarking

universities,

scholarship and employment decisions, decisions regarding research funding, exploring research fields and identifying influential work and research trends. This prompts scholars and academics to engage

has

more aggressively in doing

made way for the presence

research for the purpose

of open access journals in a range of disciplines. Open

of gaining extrinsic rewards rather than for their own

access journals enable free access to publications via

interest or for the sake of acquiring or disseminating new

the Internet using a “funding model” through which

knowledge and to push the boundaries of knowledge in

researchers bear no costs when downloading or printing

their field of specialisation. Academics also tend to write

research materials (Rowlands & Nicholas, 2005). In

on current or hot topics in the hope of attracting other

some cases, costs are borne by the authors themselves,

editors and reviewers, and increasing their publications

usually via their employers or funding body, while in

(Stewart, 2008). However, as the H-index takes self-citation

other instances, researchers themselves operate the

into account, it may affect the quality of the measurement

open access journals funded by costs borne by their

of bibliometric indices. Hence, it has been suggested that

employers. Open access journals have certainly benefited

self-citation indicators come in as supplementary indicators

academics, evidently seen in the increasing citations and

to provide better evaluation of an author’s contribution

impact factor, by providing them with a means to publish

(Mohammad & Farzaneh, 2009).

extensively due to the convenience now available, in contrast to traditional methods.

The existence of such measurement indices, evaluation and funding cultures have indeed provided the context

Another factor that spurs academics to publish was the

for coercive citation. When academic promotions are

introduction of the H-index in 2005 by J.E. Hirsch, which

based on publications in a journal with a high impact

is a bibliometric measurement that takes into account

factor, most journal editors are motivated to get the best

the total importance of a researcher, measured by how

impact factor possible because this attracts more articles

often he or she gets cited. A scientist gets an H-index of N

from up-and-coming researchers. This has opened new

for their Nth paper when all their works are sorted from

doors and opportunities for pay-to-publish and predatory

the highest to lowest cited (Hirsch, 2005). Hirsch suggest

journals that are flourishing. Disguised as open-access

an H-Index of 20 as good, 40 as outstanding and 60 as

publishers, many for-profit predatory publishers are

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rushing in to exploit academics who are geared towards

site on the Internet without citing the source’ (Rouse &

increasing their number of publications quickly in order

Gut, 2001, p. 1).

to meet key performance indicators. Most of which are of

Plagiarism occurs when one person takes the credit

poor quality, plagiarised and poorly or not peer-reviewed.

for original ideas from someone else. In taking away that

A list of such predatory journals are listed in Bealle’s List

which belongs to others, it destroys the freedom that

of predatory journals and publishers (2018).

people should enjoy as academics. Plagiarism, therefore,

While it is necessary to ascertain the quality of academics and scholars, universities and institutions of higher

reverses the goals of academic freedom, which is the pursuit of disseminating unblemished research.

learning, it must also be understood that the ratings used

According to Schrimsher, Northrup and Alverson (2011),

in the form of rankings, impact factors, indices and so forth,

plagiarism and other incidents of academic misconduct

are not “definitive”, as postulated by Stewart and Cotton

are on the rise for a variety of reasons. Students seemingly

(2013), who highlighted the shortcomings of conventional

have the notion that Internet-based information is public

rankings and necessitated the need for multiple measures

knowledge and thus, is free from intellectual property

depending on the institute’s strategy and priorities. A

rights. As such, they do not seem to think that the

holistic view of an academic’s contribution to his field of

information taken off the Internet needs to be cited for

specialisation and to the institution is necessary.

academic purposes. Due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of citing requirements, there have been high

Academic misconduct and ethical issues

levels of unintended plagiarism, bogus referencing and collusions (Perry, 2010). To avoid plagiarism, researchers

Honesty is certainly the best policy and cannot be over-

should adhere to proper citations and referencing to give

emphasised when it comes to academic research. First,

credit to the original author and articles they cite. Text-

authors need to provide accurate and responsible reports.

matching software, such as Turnitin can be of help, up to a

Second, reviewers need to provide fair and equitable

point, in checking for potential plagiarism.

judgment on journals. Apart from this, journal editors

The following paragraphs present several cases of

should also exercise their responsibilities without fear

academic misconduct recorded in Malaysian higher

or favour and endeavour to publish research which can

education. These examples are in relation to misconduct

further enhance and disseminate knowledge that can

with regard to publication. In the frenzy of increasing

benefit others in relevant areas (Calabrese & Roberts, 2004).

their number of publications, more cases of academic

Another issue that must be taken into account is citations,

misconduct are now recorded. Names of individuals and

which refer to the basic unit measuring research output. Citations are regarded as an objective, or at least, a less

institutions have been disguised.

subjective measure to determine impact, i.e. influence and

Case 1: Lost in Translation

importance.They are used in addition to, or as a substitute

This case involves a ‘Senior Academic A’ from a publicly-

for, peer judgments. It’s important to cite sources used in

funded university in Malaysia who had published a book

research for several reasons as listed below:

in the Malay language in 1990. The book was printed and

i.

To show your reader you’ve done proper research by

distributed by the university’s publication house and

listing sources you used to get your information.

cost the university approximately RM50,000.00 (approx.

To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other

A$18,500) for printing and distribution. The book

researchers and acknowledging their ideas.

contained thirteen chapters, 11 of which were later found

ii.

iii. To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors.

to be a direct translation of materials taken from a 1960s English text book. The other two chapters were a direct

iv. To allow your reader to track down the sources you

translation from two journal articles written in English.

used by citing them accurately in your paper by way

This case was exposed by a postgraduate student who

of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list.

was doing her research and stumbled upon the original

Failure to ensure accurate citations leads to plagiarism,

English book. The university took action by withdrawing

which refers to ‘the use of someone else’s ideas or words

the book from all bookshops it had initially been

without properly acknowledging the original source,

distributed to and the ‘author’ was made to reimburse

turning in an assignment verbatim for a class that you’ve

the university. However, no stern disciplinary action was

already used for another class, borrowing ideas or work

taken, and the senior academic was permitted to continue

from others, and cutting and pasting information from a

teaching. He retired as a senior academic.

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Case 2: Research grant for a stolen proposal

publications that one has produced, rankings, impact

In this case, ‘Professor B’ plagiarised a PhD student’s

factors, or the other indices should not serve as sole

research proposal and used the student’s proposal to

indicators of an academic’s prowess, nor should it create

apply for a research grant. Professor B came in contact

boundaries which curb the pursuit of knowledge for

with the student’s proposal as he was appointed as the

the sake of knowledge itself. Academics and researchers

external examiner for the student’s research proposal

should therefore persist in pushing the boundaries

presentation. His aim was to use the student’s proposal

of knowledge by publishing where it matters, to the

to solicit research funding and to eventually publish the

communities of interest, aligned or not to the government

work. Blinded by his ambition to publish and neglecting

or funding agencies.

ethics, Professor B plagiarised the student’s research

Researchers should also be judged on the quality of

proposal and submitted it as a funding application. The

their information and their contributions to the academic

‘stolen proposal’ was awarded the research grant vied

community as well as their ability to provide insight and

for; however, the student’s name was not in the grant

advance knowledge. Not only do these factors enable

application, nor did the student know about this approved

the researchers to gain intrinsic rewards in the form of

research funding. Upon discovering this halfway through

personal satisfaction and the uplifting of the intellectual

his PhD studies, the student reported it to the university.

standards of their institutions, but they are also able to

The university gave Professor B a verbal warning.

contribute towards the betterment of society through

Professor B went on to use the grant for the research he

sustainable dissemination of their findings, knowledge

had obtained. Everyone lived happily ever after; except

and truth in their discipline.

the PhD student whose original work was stolen.

Case 3: Lend me your student’s work, I just want to learn

According to Lee (2014), instead of ‘publish or perish’, academics should persist and publish, and publish to accomplish, create knowledge, or to challenge taken-forgranted assumptions. In short, researchers should not

This is a case of a new ‘Lecturer C’ who recently joined

publish for the benefit of the university administrators, but

a university and borrowed the final year project of

for the benefit of the research and academic communities,

a student under the supervision of another lecturer

not forgetting the society at large (Nathan et al., 2013). If

(Lecturer D). Lecturer C borrowed the student’s project

‘publish or perish’ could be replaced with a more positive

under the pretext of being a new lecturer wanting to

mantra like ‘publish to accomplish’, and if publishing could

learn the format and the supervision process of a final

be rewarded for its own sake and publications evaluated

year project. However, Lecturer C went on to publish the

for their own worth, academic publishing would become

results and findings of the student’s final year project and

a much more rewarding experience.

probably thought it was ethical to include Lecturer D

In the words of Franke (2011, p. 2-3):

as the co-author of ‘his paper’, when in fact the results

Good research and creative activities need breathing space. People may be inhibited from doing their best work if they fear offending outside forces, such as politicians or donors, or inside authorities, such as trustees or senior administrators. Without academic freedom, our society would lose professors’ best inventions, scholarship, and creative products.

belonged to the final year student.The student’s name was not in the published manuscript. Lecturer D eventually reported this to the university, since Lecturer C is still under probation and on contract, the action taken was not to renew his contract. No other action was taken. The above cases are several among many examples of academic misconduct that happen in Malaysian universities.

Robert Jeyakumar Nathan is a Senior Lecturer with the Faculty

Unfortunately, not all get reported and only a handful are

of Business, Multimedia University, Malaysia. He serves as

investigated. Among the investigated cases, the institutions

the Assistant Secretary General for the Malaysian Academic

are found to have been grossly inadequate in taking serious

Movement (MOVE).

disciplinary action against the perpetrators, thereby not

Contact: robert.jeyakumar@mmu.edu.my

sending a strong signal against academic misconduct.

Looking forward Although one of the requirements placed upon academics

Omar Shawkataly is a Professor of Chemistry with the School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Penang, Malaysia. He is an .executive committee member for the Malaysian Academic Movement (MOVE).

by universities is active publication, the number of vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

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References Aby, S. H., & Kuhn (IV), J. C. (2000). (Eds.) Academic freedom: A guide to the literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers (2018). Retrieved from https:// beallslist.weebly.com/ Bontis, N., & Serenko, A. (2009). A follow-up ranking of academic journals. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13 (1), 16-26. Calabrese, R. L., & Roberts, B. (2004). Self-interest and scholarly publication: The dilemma of researchers, reviewers, and editors. The International Journal of Educational Management, 18(6), 335–341. Editage Insights (2013). The impact factor and other measures of journal prestige. Retrieved from http://www.editage.com/insights/the-impact-factor-andother-measures-of-journal-prestige

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Engemann, K. M., & Wall, H. J. (2009). A journal ranking for the ambitious economist. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, May/June.

Rao, M.K. (2001). Scholarly communication and electronic journals: Issues and prospects for academic and research libraries. Library Review, 50(4), 169-175.

Egghe, L. (2006). Theory and practise of the g-index. Scientometrics, 69(1), 131–152.

Robinson, G., & Moulton, J. (2001). Academic Freedom. In L. & C. Becker (eds). Encyclopedia of Ethics. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Garland Publishing. Retrieved from http://sophia.smith.edu/~jmoulton/Acadfree.pdf

Franke, A. (2011). Academic freedom primer. Trusteeship Magazine, 4(19). Retrieved from http://agb.org/sites/agb.org/files/u1525/Academic%20 Freedom%20Primer.pdf

Rouse, A. M., & Gut, D. M. (2001). Plagiarism: What is it and how to avoid it. Athens, OH: Ohio University.

Fogarty, T. J., & Ravencroft, S. P. (1999). The importance of being “wordy”: Willingness to write and publication productivity among accounting academics. Accounting Education, 8(3), 187-202.

Rowlands, I., & Nicholas, D. (2005). Scholarly communication in the digital environment: The 2005 survey of journal author behavior and attitudes. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 57(6), 481-497.

Gomez-Mejia, L. R., & Balkin, D. B. (1992). Determinants of faculty pay: An agency theory perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 35(5), 921-955.

Rowley, J., & Slack, F. (2000). Writing for publication: The first steps. Management Research News, 23(5/6).

Gumpenberger, C., Wieland, M., & Gorraiz, J. (2012). Bibliometric practices and activities at the University of Vienna. Library Management, 33(3), 174-183.

Schrimsher, R. H., Northrup, L. A., & Alverson, S. P. (2011). A survey of Samford University students regarding plagiarism and academic misconduct. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 7(1), 3-17.

Herther (2009). Research evaluation and citation analysis: Key issues and implications. The Electronic Library, 27 (3), 361-375. Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(46), 16569-16572. Jacso, P. (2008). The Pros and Cons of Computing H-Index using Google Scholar. Online Information Review, 32 (3), 437-452. Jones, D.G., Galvin, K. & Woodhouse, D. (2000). ‘Universities and critics and conscience of society: The role of academic freedom.’ The New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit, AAU Series on Quality No. 6. ISSN 11718826. Online Available: http://www.aqa.ac.nz/sites/all/files/ASQ6%20Critic%20and%20 Conscience.pdf Katz, E., & Coleman, M. (2001). The growing importance of research at academic colleges of education in Israel. Education & Training, 43(2), 82-93. Kennedy, J.F. (1956). Remarks of Senator John F Kennedy at Harvard University, June 14, 1956. Retrieved from http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/ Ready-Reference/JFK-Quotations/Harvard-University-Speech.aspx Kirkpatrick, S. A., & Locke, E. A. (1992). The development of measures of faculty scholarship. Group and Organization Management, 17, 5-23. Knight, L. V., & Steinbach, T. A. (2008). Selecting an appropriate publication outlet: A comprehensive model of journal selection criteria for researchers in a broad range of academic disciplines. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 3, 59-79. Lee, I. (2014). Publish or perish: The myth and reality of academic publishing. Language Teaching, 47, 250-261. Manning, L. M., & Barrette, J. (2005). Research performance management in academe. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 22(4), 273-287. Mohammad, R. D., & Farzaneh, A. (2009). Author self-citation pattern in science. Library Review, 58(4), 301-309.

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Sidiropoulos, A., Katsaros, D. & Manolopoulos, Y. (2007). Generalised Hirsch h-index for disclosing latent facts in citation networks, Scientometrics, 72 (2), 253-280. Stewart, A., & Cotton, J. (2013). Making sense of entrepreneurship journals: Journal rankings and policy choices. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research. 19(3), 303-323. Stewart, D. W. (2008). Academic publishing in marketing: Best and worst practices. European Business Review, 20(5), 421-433. Sulo, T., Kendagor, S. T., Kosgei, R. D., Tuitoek, D., & Chelangat, S. (2012). Factors affecting research productivity in public universities of Kenya: The Case of Moi University, Eldoret. Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences, 3(5), 475-484. Sun, J. & Wang, G. G. (2013). How is HRD doing in research and publications? An assessment of journals by AHRD (2005-2011). European Journal of Training and Development, 37(8), 696-712. Thomas, R., & Harris, V. (2000). Teaching quality and staff research: Are there connections? A case study of a metropolitan university department. Quality Assurance in Education, 8(3), 139-146. Turk, N. (2008). Citation impact of Open Access journals. New Library World, 109, 65-74. Wicks, D. (2004). The institution of tenure: Freedom or discipline? Management Decision, 42(5), 619-627. Yuyuenyongwatana, R. P., & Carraher, S. M. (2008). Academic journal ranking: Importance to strategic management and general management researchers. Journal of Business Strategies, 25(2), 1-8. Zhang, J., Su, X. N., & Deng, S. H. (2008). The academic impact of Chinese humanities and social science research. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 60(1), 55-74.

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OPINION

Free speech on Australian campuses: Hidden barriers Brian Martin University of Wollongong

Speech at Australian universities is restricted in various ways. A few of them, such as student protests against visiting speakers, receive lots of attention. Others seldom do, such as defamation threats and cyber harassment. Self-censorship may be more significant than overt censorship. Those who want to raise awareness of hidden limitations on speech can learn from the methods used to raise the alarm about student protests. Keywords: free speech; academic freedom; censorship; self-censorship; dissent

Introduction

Australia being infected by the same kind of intolerance as in Britain and the US (Fox, 2016; Lukianoff and Haidt,

On 11 September 2018, Bettina Arndt, a social

2018).

commentator and former sex therapist, was scheduled to

Because much of this commentary is impressionistic

give a talk at the University of Sydney. Student protesters,

and draws on anecdotes, ironically it is very far from a

opposed to Arndt’s views about rape on campus,

scholarly assessment of free speech on campus. Although

blocked access to the venue, and police were called to

there is a vast body of research on censorship (Jones,

enable the talk to proceed. Protest organisers from the

2001), scholars have not agreed on a consistent and

University’s Wom*n’s Collective were quoted as saying

comprehensive way of judging and comparing different

that “Giving Bettina Arndt a platform on this issue has

types of constraints on speech, on campus or elsewhere.

the potential to cause a great deal of harm to students

There are challenges galore. Whose speech is at risk:

and survivors of sexual assault, who are having their

students, academics, non-academic staff, visitors? To

experiences questioned by her tour” (Roberts, 2018).

whom are they trying to communicate? What are they

On the other hand, supporters of Arndt presented the

trying to say? How are they trying to say it? What media

protest as a threat to free speech on campus (Devine,

are they using? There is a huge difference between an

2018; Fernando, 2018; Sammut, 2018).

academic writing an article for a scholarly journal and a

More generally, some commentators see protests against

student making a comment on Twitter.

visiting speakers as a manifestation of toxic political

Though some scholars say only states can censor

correctness, in which demands for protection from

speech, in practice any group with a near-monopoly on

disturbing ideas are stunting the expression of diverse

power can do so, for example corporations (Jansen, 1988).

viewpoints on campuses and beyond (e.g., Kinsella, 2018;

Students lack this sort of power, but they can still act like

Lesh, 2018a; Merritt, 2018). Much of this commentary sees

censors, as in the protest against Arndt.

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In the study of censorship, there is an even greater challenge: some speech is inhibited. When people deeply

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militaries and corporations whose own research is subject to stringent controls over topics and outcomes.

absorb limits to discourse, there are things they never

A bigger issue is the effect of external sponsorship

even consider saying. Self-censorship is very hard to

on research agendas (Dickson, 1984; Krimsky, 2003;

document compared with overt censorship.

Proctor, 1995). Coming up with findings unwelcome to

Another complication is that there are several

a sponsor means further contracts are less likely, so there

legitimate and widely accepted constraints on speech.

is an incentive to please the sponsor. More generally,

Rules against serious verbal abuse, as in cases of bullying,

academic fields may become oriented to the agendas of

are an example.

external funders, so some topics become fashionable and

Given the definitional and methodological difficulties

others lower status. In this way, funding shapes research

in assessing free speech, my limited aim here is to outline

priorities through rewards for compliance rather than

some of the barriers in universities that receive relatively

through overt censorship.

little public attention. This is an exercise of highlighting what is sometimes overlooked, not to make a definitive

Suppression of dissent

assessment. I briefly discuss a variety of constraints or inhibitions, and then examine them in light of methods

Occasionally, an academic speaks out on a topic or in

of making censorship backfire.This is not to dismiss those

a way that threatens or offends some powerful group,

concerns that do receive attention – some nuanced and

leading to action against the academic. There are various

wide-ranging treatments are available (Ben-Porath, 2017,

triggers for adverse actions, including:

King, 2013, Knox, 2017, Lesh, 2018b) – but to point to

• Challenging a university administration, as in the famous

issues that usually dwell in the shadows.

case of Sydney Orr, dismissed from the University of

In an academic context, free speech is valued for

Tasmania in the 1950s (Eddy, 1961).

its contribution to the creation and dissemination of

• Questioning a senior colleague’s research, as in the case

knowledge. This includes research to promote and

of Michael Spautz, dismissed from the University of

examine knowledge claims, teaching to enable learning

Newcastle in 1980 (Martin, 1983).

of knowledge and skills, and informed contributions to

• Questioning assessment practices, as in the case of Ted

public issues. The focus here is on structural barriers that

Steele, dismissed from the University of Wollongong in

compromise these activities, in other words that hinder

2001 (Martin, 2002).

the core mission of the university.

• Questioning orthodox views, as in the case of climate sceptic Peter Ridd, dismissed from James Cook

Research agendas

University in 2018 (Alcorn, 2018). Most such cases are highly complex, with a variety

Quite a bit of academic research is funded by outside

of views expressed about whether the actions by

bodies, primarily corporations and governments. Some

the academics and their critics were justified. Some

research funded this way is unencumbered, with no

commentators interpret the events as involving attempts

constraints or expectations on outcomes or publications.

to silence scholars.

However, quite a bit is subject to formal conditions,

Dissent can be risky, but it is not always clear what is

affecting not just what is studied but also when, how and

safe and what is not. Jacqueline Hoepner began her PhD

to whom findings are communicated.

at the Australian National University on the topic of the

Academics and research students whose work is

health effects of wind farms but could not even begin

funded by outside bodies may be subject to agreements

interviewing before attacks by non-university wind-

restricting what, when and how they can publish their

farm opponents made it impossible for her to continue.

findings (Kypri, 2015; Resnik, 1998; Ries & Kypri, 2018),

Changing her topic, she interviewed scholars in several

and otherwise be subject to efforts to suppress results

English-speaking countries who had experienced attacks

(Yazahmeidi & Holman, 2007).

as a result of their investigations. One of her conclusions

Most large universities have associated commercial

is that it is very difficult to know in advance where the

wings, and in some fields much contract research is

boundaries are between what is safe to study and what

subject to constraints. The scale of this sort of research

can lead to reprisals (Hoepner, 2017).

is unclear, as is the impact on academic freedom. In many

Though there are quite a few publicised cases of

instances, universities become outposts for governments,

suppression of academic dissent (Delborne, 2008;

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Dreger, 2015; Martin et al., 1986; Moran, 1998), these

processes are slow, bureaucratic and time-consuming,

directly affect only a tiny percentage of scholars. Because

they discourage some researchers from some projects.

information about many cases never enters the public

Although there has been some concern about the

record, for each well-known case there may be dozens

impact of research ethics processes (Haggerty, 2004;

of other instances.

Shea, 2000; Stanley & Wise, 2010), there seems to have

In some cases, scholars feel obliged to fill a gap in

been no systematic study of how research is affected. It

knowledge or public discussion, even though they

is plausible that requirements prevent some poor and

personally have little stake in the issue: they are reluctant

damaging research but also, by the expansion of coverage

dissenters. It is ironic when such scholars come under

and regulations, discourage research on certain topics,

attack for seeking to pursue the mission of the university.

for example ones where powerful subjects might object, such as the study of corruption, or where there might be

Defamation and other discouragements

adverse media coverage (e.g, Valentish, 2018).

In Australia, defamation law is an important barrier against

grants is a path to productivity and advancement. Because

free speech (Pullan, 1994; Walters, 2003). Using the law

the success rate for prestigious peer-reviewed grants is so

is expensive and drawn-out, and places the onus on

low, many academics play safe in the projects they propose,

defendants, who are assumed guilty unless they can prove

thereby self-limiting the range of topics studied. This form

otherwise.

of self-censorship is aggravated when the Minister of

For Australian academic researchers, obtaining research

More generally, there are many examples of powerful

Education vetoes grants on ideological grounds.

groups using legal actions to silence critics, for example

Copyright, patents and other forms of intellectual

in Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

property are supposed to foster creativity and innovation,

(Ogle, 2009; Pring and Canan, 1996). SLAPPs can be effective

but in practice the effect is often to stifle them (Halbert,

even when they have no chance of success in court.

1999). However, there are few studies of the impact of

Physics academic Alan Roberts wrote a book review, published in 1980, in which he said “I object to the author’s lack of moral concern.”After several court cases, the book’s author was awarded $180,000 (Bowman, 1983).

intellectual property on speech and research at Australian universities. Australian government laws concerning national security certainly affect academic work. For example,

However, relatively few defamation cases involving

research into corruption in intelligence organisations

academics receive publicity, in part because most

would face enormous obstacles, in part because

complaints are dropped or settled before entering

whistleblowers and journalists are subject to criminal

court. The impact of defamation law on academic work

sanctions. There are few studies of the impact of national

is probably less by actual suits than by discouraging

security controls on campus speech.

investigations and commentary.

Campaigns of abuse and vilification via mass and social

Journal and book editors can be extra cautious. In

media can have a devastating effect on targets. Online

one instance from my own experience, a journal editor,

harassment is a widespread and serious problem, especially

presumably to reduce the risk of a legal action, removed

for women with a public profile (Citron, 2014; Poland,

some names from an article of mine without telling me. In

2016). Emma Jane (2014, 2017) has examined the problem

another instance, lawyers took a year to approve an article,

in Australia, but there seems to be little other research on

which was published with changes and a disclaimer.

the impact of cyber harassment on speech on university

Since the 1990s, I have posted on my website documents about

corporate

healthcare

provided

by

campuses. Other restraints include campus policies that

Michael

restrict the diversity of ideas (Lesh, 2018b), fear of having

Wynne (2008). Several companies threatened to sue the

work plagiarised, hate speech laws, confidentiality rules,

University of Wollongong over some of these documents,

university codes of conduct concerning public comment

though none ever initiated legal action. Separately, Wynne

by staff, and freedom-of-information requests.There are few

(2017) has written about the risks of speaking out.

studies examining the impacts of these restraints.

Academic researchers are supposed to obtain approval from a research ethics committee before carrying out

Self-censorship

any project that can cause harm to animals or humans. This includes seemingly innocuous activities such as

In overt censorship, there is clear evidence of pressures to

interviewing members of the public. Because approval

keep quiet, to avoid certain research topics or to modify

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findings. Commercial contracts, reprisals for speaking out

publicity, hundreds of thousands of times. When online

and defamation threats are overt forms of censorship and

censorship counterproductively increases attention to the

control. More insidious is self-censorship: due to a fear of

censored object, this is now called the “Streisand effect.”

the consequences or a desire to conform in order to fit

However, censorship does not always backfire. Censors

in or obtain advancement, a person chooses not to speak

and their allies regularly use several types of methods

out, avoids sensitive topics or changes their comments.

to reduce outrage: hiding the censorship (censorship of

Witnessing reprisals against others can provide a

the censorship); devaluing the targets of the censorship;

warning to avoid doing anything that might trigger

reinterpreting actions by lying, minimising the impacts,

similar attacks. It is plausible that the biggest impacts of

blaming others, and reframing; using official channels

suppression cases are not on the targets but on those who,

to give an appearance of justice; and intimidating and

seeing what happened to a colleague, decide to play it

rewarding people involved (Jansen & Martin, 2015). For

safe.Thomas Mathiesen (2004) describes several methods

example, when McDonald’s sued two members of London

of “silent silencing” of opposition within organisations.

Greenpeace for defamation over the leaflet “What’s

One of them is “normalisation,” making quiescence seem

wrong with McDonald’s?,” it used all of these methods

normal. Self-censorship is most effective when it is just

for reducing outrage, though in this instance McDonald’s’

the way people behave, without conscious reflection.

efforts failed spectacularly (Jansen & Martin, 2003).

Self-censorship

can

discourage

scholars

from

This backfire framework for analysing struggles over

investigating topics or using perspectives seen as

censorship can be applied to various restraints on free

unorthodox, fringe or dangerous. In international relations,

speech on campus. Several of the restraints receive little

the study of pacifism is marginalised (Jackson, 2018); in

or no attention, including those due to suppression

psychology, the study of parapsychology is usually off

clauses in contract research, defamation, research ethics

the agenda (Cardeña, 2015; Hess, 1992); in physics, those

requirements, and self-censorship. In these areas, restraints

who question relativity or quantum theory are usually

and inhibition have such low visibility that there is little

dismissed out of hand (Campanario and Martin, 2004).

need for additional action to reduce public concern.

Self-censorship is related to what is called “forbidden knowledge”

(Kempner

full range of methods of outrage management more

discouragement of dissent from dominant views or the

commonly become apparent. The first is prominent

views of powerful groups – these may not be the same

dismissals of tenured academics. For example, in the

– pervades the thinking and discourse of entire groups.

dismissal of Ted Steele from the University of Wollongong,

When there is a chilly climate for dissent, fear of rocking

management used the methods of cover-up, devaluation,

the boat steers research choices, perhaps especially for

reinterpretation, official channels and rewards (Martin,

those who are untenured or seeking career advancement

2005). In both the Steele case and the Orr case, the

(Hoepner, 2017, p. 41).

dismissals generated extensive adverse publicity for the

al.,

2011),

in

In two areas involving free speech on campus, the

which

et

Although some commentators – I am one of them – say

universities. In as much as the dismissals targeted critics

self-censorship is more important than overt censorship,

of the universities, they were hugely counterproductive,

there is little evidence behind this assessment. This is

being instances of censorship backfire.

because it is exceedingly difficult to measure the extent

The second area where outrage-management techniques

of individual self-censorship or the effects of a chilly

are apparent is in student protests against visiting speakers.

climate for dissent.

Student protesters do not try to cover up their censorship efforts. On the other hand, they commonly denigrate the

Censorship backfire

targeted speakers, reinterpret their own campaigning as protecting students, and use intimidation to enforce their

Sometimes censorship is counterproductive: it leads to

views. However, these censorship efforts have often been

greater awareness of the thing being censored. In 2003,

counterproductive, giving greater attention to the views

celebrity Barbra Streisand became upset about her Malibu

of the visiting speakers than would otherwise have been

mansion appearing among a series of online photographs

the case. Supporters of the speakers, including portions of

of the California coast, and sued the photographer and

the mass media and some politicians, have stoked outrage

publisher for $50 million. Her legal action triggered outrage

by publicising the censorship, validating the speakers,

and, importantly, great interest in the photo. Prior to the

interpreting the protests as censorship, mobilising

legal action it had been downloaded only six times; after

support and resisting intimidation.

52

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Student protesters apparently do not recognise, or

Each of these restraints in turn can be connected to

perhaps do not care, that their actions give the speakers

conditions in universities, including job insecurity,

greater visibility or that there are effective alternative

commercial imperatives, disciplinary conformity, and fear

ways of responding to the expression of disliked views.

of dissenting.

A possible explanation is that activists are driven more

For those who believe that some of the less visible

by opportunities to express their feelings and mobilise

constraints deserve more attention and action, there

students than by a long-term strategy to promote their

is much to learn from the issues that have become

preferred views. Furthermore, perhaps student activists,

prominent. Student actions against visiting speakers have

on campus for only a few years, have a shorter time

become a cause for concern due to campaigning efforts of

horizon than academics and administrators who bear the

those speakers’ supporters, especially in the mass media

longer-term consequences of counterproductive actions.

and by some politicians. These efforts involve publicising

Whatever the explanation, student protests against

the protests, validating the speakers, labelling the protests

visiting speakers are one of the few facets of on-campus

as censorship, mobilising support, and continuing to

censorship that receives much attention. Meanwhile,

organise talks in the face of intimidation.

other forms of silencing remain in the shadows.

The very same techniques can be used by those who are concerned about less visible restraints on speech. It is

Conclusion

important to remember that free speech on campus does not happen automatically or by passing regulations, but is

Sociologists have long argued that social problems are not

the result of struggles in which people speak out and join

inherent in social conditions: for something to be labelled

together in support of their goals.

a social problem depends on “claims-making” by various interested groups (Spector & Kitsuse, 1977). For example,

Acknowledgements

drink driving had to be turned into a problem (Gusfield, 1981). Those who agitate to turn a social condition into

Thanks to Bettina Arndt, Don Eldridge, Jacqui Hoepner,

a social problem – that is, make the condition be seen

D’Arcy Holman, Sue Curry Jansen, Kyp Kypri, Mark

by others as a problem – are the claims-makers. They

McLelland, Matthew Lesh, Jeremy Sammut and Michael

act to raise awareness, create alarm and mobilise action.

Wynne for valuable feedback on drafts.

This sort of activity is seen in a wide range of areas, from Brian Martin is emeritus professor of social sciences at the

concerns about sexual harassment to calls for war. To say that social problems are socially constructed is not to say they are unimportant or artificial. Claims-

University of Wollongong. Contact: bmartin@uow.edu.au

makers, when they are successful, can help create a social movement (Mauss, 1975), and social movements have been responsible for many of the changes that today are seen as advances, such as abolishing slavery and emancipating women. One value in looking closely at how social problems are constructed is noticing how some things become seen as problems whereas others are not. Some of the neglected issues may be, by certain criteria, as much or more important than the ones in the limelight. On Australian campuses, speech is inhibited, constrained or suppressed in various ways. Only a few of these have been turned into social problems. Student protests against visiting speakers are seen, in some quarters, as a serious threat to free speech. Occasionally, dismissals of tenured academics become public issues. Otherwise, though, restraints on speech are mostly accepted or ignored,

References Alcorn, G. (2018). Peter Ridd’s sacking pushes the limit of academic freedom. The Guardian, 5 June. Ben-Porath, S.R. (2017). Free Speech on Campus. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Bowman, D. (1983). The story of a review and its $180,000 consequence. Australian Society, 2(6), 28–30. Campanario, J.M. & Martin, B. (2004) Challenging dominant physics paradigms. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 18(3), 421–438. Cardeña, E. (2015). The unbearable fear of psi: on scientific suppression in the 21st Century. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 29(4), 601–620. Citron, D.K. (2014). Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Delborne, J. A. (2008) Transgenes and transgressions: scientific dissent as heterogeneous practice, Social Studies of Science, 38, 509–541.

including restraints associated with commercial and

Devine, M. (2018). Bettina Arndt says protesters “slung” people against the wall during Sydney Uni protest. Daily Telegraph, 12 September.

military research, defamation concerns, research ethics

Dickson, D. (1984). The New Politics of Science. New York: Pantheon.

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Dreger, A. (2015). Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science. New York: Penguin.

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Eddy, W.H.C. (1961). Orr. Brisbane: Jacaranda.

Martin, B. (2005) Boomerangs of academic freedom. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 6(2). Retrieved from http://www.cust.educ.ubc.ca/workplace/ issue6p2/steele.html.

Fernando, G. (2018). Riot squad called to Sydney University over protests to sex therapist Bettina Arndt. News.com.au, 12 September. Fox, C. (2016). “I Find that Offensive.” London: Biteback Publishing. Gusfield, J.R. (1981). The Culture of Public Problems: Drinking-driving and the Symbolic Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Haggerty, K.D. (2004). Ethics creep: governing social science research in the name of ethics. Qualitative Sociology, 27(4), 391–414. Halbert, D. J. (1999). Intellectual Property in the Information Age: The Politics of Expanding Ownership Rights. Westport, CT: Quorum. Hess, D.J. (1992). Disciplining heterodoxy, circumventing discipline: parapsychology, anthropologically. Knowledge and Society: The Anthropology of Science and Technology, 9, 223–252. Hoepner, J.E. (2017). “You Need to Shut up”: Research Silencing and What It Reveals about Academic Freedom. PhD thesis, Australian National University. Jackson, R. (2018). Pacifism: the anatomy of a subjugated knowledge. Critical Studies on Security, 6(2), 160–175. Jane, E.A. (2014). “Your a ugly, whorish, slut”: understanding e-bile. Feminist Media Studies, 14(4), 531–546. Jane, E.A. (2017). Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History. London: Sage. Jansen, S.C. (1988). Censorship: The Knot that Binds Power and Knowledge. New York: Oxford University Press. Jansen, S.C. & Martin, B. (2003). Making censorship backfire. Counterpoise, 7(3), 5–15. Jansen, S.C. & Martin, B. (2015). The Streisand effect and censorship backfire. International Journal of Communication, 9, 656–671.

Martin, B., Baker, C. M. A., Manwell, C. & Pugh, C., eds. (1986). Intellectual Suppression: Australian Case Histories, Analysis and Responses. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Mathiesen, T. (2004). Silently Silenced: Essays on the Creation of Acquiescence in Modern Society. Winchester, UK: Waterside Press. Mauss, A.L. (1975). Social Problems as Social Movements. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott. Merritt, C. (2018). Unis urged: freedoms before feelings. The Australian, 18 September, p. 2. Moran, G. (1998). Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields: Power, Paradigm Controls, Peer Review, and Scholarly Communication. Greenwich, CT: Ablex. Ogle, G. (2009). Gagged: The Gunns 20 and Other Law Suits. Sydney: Envirobook. Poland, B. (2016). Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Press. Pring, G.W. & Canan, P. (1996). SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Proctor, R.N. (1995) Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know and Don’t Know about Cancer. New York: BasicBooks, Pullan, R. (1994). Guilty Secrets: Free Speech and Defamation in Australia. Sydney: Pascal Press. Resnik, D.B. (1998). Industry-sponsored research: secrecy versus corporate responsibility. Business and Society Review, 99, 31–34.

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Ries, N.M. & Kypri, K. (2018). Government-funded health research contracts in Australia: a critical assessment of transparency. Sydney Law Review, 40, 367–394.

Kempner, J., Merz, J.F. & Bosk, C.L. (2011). Forbidden knowledge: public controversy and the production of knowledge. Sociological Forum, 26(3), 475–500.

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King, R. (2013). On Offence: The Politics of Indignation. Melbourne: Scribe. Kinsella, L. (2018). Content warnings are simply making Millennials more scared of life. News.com.au, April 15.

Sammut, J. (2018). University Freedom Charters: How to Best Protect Free Speech on Australian Campuses. Sydney: Centre for Independent Studies, Policy Paper 10.

Knox, E.J.M., ed. (2017). Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Shea, C. (2000) Don’t talk to the humans: the crackdown on social science research. Lingua Franca, 10(6), 27–34.

Krimsky, S. (2003). Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Spector, M. & Kitsuse, J.I. (1977). Constructing Social Problems. Menlo Park, CA: Cummings.

Kypri, K. (2015). Suppression clauses in university health research: case study of an Australian government contract negotiation. Medical Journal of Australia, 203(2), 72–75.

Stanley, L. & Wise, S. (2010). The ESRC’s 2010 framework for research ethics: fit for research purpose? Sociological Research Online 15(4), 12.

Lesh, M. (2018a). We need laws to ensure sickly unis allow free speech. The Australian, 28 September, p. 16.

Valentish, J. (2018). The hidden world of underground psychedelic psychotherapy in Australia. ABC News, 30 August. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/ news/2018-08-30/underground-psychedelic-psychotherapy-mdma-lsd/10134044.

Lesh, M. (2018b). Free Speech on Campus Audit 2018. Melbourne: Institute of Public Affairs.

Walters, B. (2003). Slapping on the Writs: Defamation, Developers and Community Activism. Sydney: University of New South Wales.

Lukianoff, G. & Haidt, J. (2018). The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure. New York: Penguin.

Wynne, M. (2008). Corporate medicine web site. http://www.bmartin.cc/dissent/ documents/health/

Martin, B. (1983). Disruption and due process: the dismissal of Dr Spautz from the University of Newcastle. Vestes, 26(1), 3–9. Martin, B. (2002) Dilemmas of defending dissent: the dismissal of Ted Steele

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Wynne, M. (2017). Speak out if you dare. Inside Aged Care. Retrieved from https://www.insideagedcare.com/introduction/speak-out-if-you-dare Yazahmeidi, B. & Holman, C.D.J. (2007). A survey of suppression of public health information by Australian governments. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 31(6), 551–557.

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Whose future? Or why we need to think more expansively about the future of Australian higher education Richard Hil ‘The future depends on what we do in the present’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Around the corner

opportunities in health, welfare, teaching, ‘creative industries’, finance, marketing, IT, tourism, construction

Future gazing has become something of a hobby among

and other fields. Labour market conditions may change

higher education boffins. It’s more head-scratching

and technological developments intrude, but the role of

than staring into the tea leaves and crystal balls, but the

the university sector, or so it seems, is to do its mandated

thinking caps are definitely on – well; sort of.

duty as a feeder for the neoliberal economy.

While there’s certainly no shortage of venues to indulge

To this end, education ministers, senior university

this stuff – conferences, seminars and roundtables – most

managers, business leaders, and a bevy of highly paid

tend to dwell on dreary questions like:

consultants tirelessly devote themselves to the task of

What sorts of skills and training will graduates need for

job supply. Academics and students – and the ‘general

the jobs of the future? Are universities equipped to deliver

public’ for that matter – are rarely consulted about such

job-ready graduates? Where will the necessary funds

matters, which is all a bit strange when you think about it,

come from? What role will academics play, and what sort

given that as ‘knowledge workers’, academics would seem

of workplace conditions will they face?

rather well placed to ponder the direction of their own

Typically, such lines of inquiry concern themselves

institutions. Sadly, this silencing also extends to those who

with the trends and patterns of today, and what’s likely

hold different perceptions of the future based on their

to follow. In the more economic-centric gatherings, the

own traditions, experiences and understandings of the

future of higher education is linked to issues of economic

world.The voices of First Nations people, for example, are

growth, global competitiveness, productivity, employment

often marginalised or dismissed as narratives of the past,

opportunities, ‘skills shortages’, training needs, and so

which suggests that ideas about the future are as subject

forth. Mercifully, these dismal concerns are sometimes

to colonising practices as the past and present. Indeed, the

enlivened by bouts of reflective analysis, including

very idea of ‘the future’, devoid of the voices of dissent

how universities might respond to rapid technological

and difference, means that other narratives tend to prevail.

change, particularly the challenges presented by robotics,

And they do.

artificial intelligence and automation. Sadly, however, concerns about the desirability of cyborgs strutting the

A herd of elephants

Anthropocene tend to be subsumed by the need to secure the ‘jobs of the future’. The only thing left to figure out is

Perhaps most striking about most future gazing fora is

how universities can meet employers’ incessant demands

their capacity to ignore not one, but an entire herd of

for employable graduates, and particularly how to expand

elephants in the room. The first of these is the seemingly

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obvious question: what constitutes ‘the future’? It’s a

focussed on the economy, skills, training, pay, employment

fuzzy temporal category that receives less attention than

conditions, etc., but nonetheless, I proceeded to wade

the blueberry muffins served up at morning tea. On

into the idea of the future – something, surprisingly,

the rare occasions it is seriously considered, the world

that hadn’t been done up to that point. I suggested that

of tomorrow is immersed in the usual concerns of the

the crises and challenges we face will, as author-activist

economy and job readiness. Why so? Well, largely because

Naomi Klein (2014) puts it, change everything. What we

universities have been fully integrated into the neoliberal

know today might be irrelevant or meaningless tomorrow,

economy, so what ails the economy, ails universities, and

so why drone on about the future without facing up to

what the economy demands, the university sector usually

what is happening right now?

delivers. Not surprisingly, therefore, what passes for the

Bolstered by my usual penchant for melodrama, I

future in this scenario is – if not quite Groundhog Day –

assailed my audience with the following list of actual

then something not far removed.

and potential calamities: the climate crisis (profoundly

But are things that simple? I’m no futurist or clairvoyant

existential in nature and consequence); the economic

but I do know that tomorrow’s world is made up of what

crisis (unprecedented levels of inequality, wage stagnation,

former US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, referred

massive levels of casualisation and underemployment,

to as the “known unknowns”. Wicked problems and

and the very real prospect of another major financial

unpredictable events are all part of the mix of uncertainty

meltdown); the crisis of disconnection (epidemics of

that constitutes the future. That’s a known known, even

loneliness and anxiety and allied mental health problems);

for an old war horse like Rumsfeld.

the ‘post truth’/ ‘fake news’ epistemic crisis (designed to

What tends to be missing from many of today’s higher

befuddle us and undermine democracy); the deepening

education chat fests, however, is human agency; that is,

crisis of nationalist popularism (with its tendency toward

our capacity to think about and shape the sort of future

extreme violence and division); and the potential crisis

we want, based on the values we hold dear. This can vary

posed by artificial intelligence and robotics (the capacity

wildly of course, depending on ideological preferences

to alter the very conditions of human life). Last but not

and other considerations. But agency does at least allow

least, there is a crisis of governance in just about every

for the possibility of reimagining something different to

area of government, whereby decisions are made by ill-

what is.That, surely, is more exciting than the drudgery of

informed and self-interested elites, often without any

economic forecasting, to which most current discussions

reference to the populations they claim to be representing.

seem wedded.

Sound familiar?

Granted, it’s hard to break out of this straight jacket,

You’ve probably got your own list of problems. The

especially in the current university environment. The fact

point is: how on Earth is it possible to talk about the

is that the nature of institutional governance is such that

future if there may well not be one, at least not in the

discussions about ‘future directions’, or what the suits

form currently conceived?

like to refer to as ‘strategic planning’, are conducted in

Don’t get me wrong. I know that universities can’t

the narrowest of terms, often privileging senior managers

solve all these problems alone, but they have for many

with an eye on brand promotion, market share and

years, through their teaching, research and other

bottom lines. The gulf between senior management and

activities, assisted the process of elucidating the nature

academic staff – even when supposedly mediated by

and causes of crises. Now, however, these intellectual

university committees – means that certain voices tend to

practices are jeopardised by the constant restructuring

dominate policy discussions, and rather than questioning

of workforces and workload intensification, making it

the neoliberal orthodoxy, they continually reinforce it.

more difficult to undertake the knowledge work that we so desperately need.

Here comes trouble

Indeed, some (like me) would go as far as saying that universities are part of the problem. If we accept that

When I stood up to address the future of higher education

higher education institutions are part of the neoliberal

at a recent conference, I blurted out that “there are

matrix, which has variously contributed to many of

millions of people around the world who don’t have

the crises and challenges we now face, then surely you

a future, or not one that is survivable, and that might

might want to think outside the usual box? Some serious

include you and me”. It was perhaps an errant outburst

reimagining might be warranted. What about discussing

in the circumstances, having listened to numerous talks

the values, ethics and practices that might help create a

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different, survivable, just, peaceful and regenerative world,

uncertain, even mysterious, although it is a future that can

and the role of education in all this? It’s not a question

and will be shaped by what we think and do now.

that can be easily answered, but as knowledge workers

How does this relate to the conference I attended?

committed to understanding the world in which we live,

Well, perhaps we should start our conversations about

academics should surely be at the forefront of debates

tomorrow’s world of higher education by providing some

about the future – some are, but not too many. Arguably,

context and allowing for the possibility of reimagining a

without the constraints placed upon them by current

very different way of being.

managerialist regimes, academics would be better placed

And perhaps we should begin by peering over the

to engage the public in conversations about the sort of

neoliberal parapet to those higher educational initiatives

future they would like to see.

that are much better placed to address the problems that

All this might seem light years away from economic

now confront us. Buddhist and Indigenous universities

concerns, industrial relations and job readiness. But is

and programs (including many of the latter in our current

it? Perhaps we need to think about the sorts of jobs we

system), slow/free universities, progressive colleges

might need to create a more compassionate, connected,

in the US, Canada and many parts of the global south,

cooperative and, dare I say, kinder society? Or, what

Schumacher College in the UK, the School of Life in

about the jobs that might help us transition out of environmentally destructive and

violent

occupations

such as in the weapons and

England and Australia, and a host of informal community

... how on earth is it possible to talk about the future if there may well not be one, at least not in the form currently conceived?

education

initiatives

are

just some of the alternative approaches

that

concern

extractive industries (which

themselves

are

quality of life, well-being

so

enthusiastically

supported by universities)? Just a thought…

with

the

and regeneration rather than economic growth and productivity. They’re interested in reconnecting with the earth and

Other conversations

each other through the trilogy of head, hand and heart, as well as weaving Indigenous wisdoms through curricula,

Another elephant at the conference was the fracturing

research and community-based projects. They’re about

of neoliberalism which, according to economist Richard

decolonising curricula, unlearning modernist, materialist

Denniss (2018) at the Australia Institute, is occurring from

and environmentally destructive values and practices, and

within and without, taking us further into some dark

understanding how power works in a corporatised world.

repressive places and ensuring more of what David Harvey

They promote critical pedagogy through dialogue and

(2004) refers to as “accumulation by dispossession”.

nomadic ways of thinking that enable students to become

No-one is quite sure what will follow. And yet, in the midst

active citizens rather than neoliberal denizens. Above all,

of all this we are witnessing an amazing contestation of

they see the crucial importance of understanding our

ideas, with many now predicting a very different future

complex interconnections with the planet and the need

– dystopian and otherwise. On the left-progressive side of

for collaborative, sharing, non-hierarchal and participatory

politics, there are some fascinating debates going on. The

relations. For these institutions, a commitment to peace,

following books are testament to new and exciting ways

social justice, and human rights is the starting point of

of thinking about ‘the future’: George Monbiot’s (2017)

education, not a by-product.

Out of the Wreckage, Kate Raworth’s (2018) Doughnut

Advocates of such approaches see the purpose of

economics, Post capitalism by Paul Mason (2015), Utopia

higher education not simply as preparing students for the

for realists by Rutgers Bregman (2014), Drawdown by

jobs of the future – although, yes, we need highly educated

Paul Hawken (2018), Call of the Reed Warbler by Charles

graduates – but rather, as involving them in meaningful

Massy (2017), No is not enough by Naomi Klein (2017),

dialogues about the values, ethics, practices and relations

Climate – A new story by Charles Eisenstein (2018) – to

necessary for a better world.

name but a few. The point is that we are indeed in the

It would be silly (and insulting) to suggest that none

middle of a profound period of change, a struggle over

of the above occurs in the neoliberal university, because

ideas about what might serve us better in the future.

it does. There are brilliant, committed academics devoted

At the very least, the future is seen as unpredictable,

to critical scholarship and the rest. But in a system

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where ‘critical thinking’ itself can be commodified and

do, however, is buy into a neoliberal conception of the

blended with vocationalised ‘graduate attributes’, and

future.That’s the road to oblivion.

where academics are dragooned into supporting the corporate brand, the opportunities for reimagining are,

Richard Hil is Adjunct Professor, School of Human Services

let’s say, restricted. Indeed, as I have often said, progressive

and Social Work, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

academics pursue their work in spite of rather than

Contact: josephgora@hotmail.com

because of the neoliberal university. More’s the pity.

References Now what? The conference I attended was organised by the National

Bregman, R. (2014). Utopia for Realists: How we can build the ideal world, London: Bloomsbury.

Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). It proved to be a

Denniss, R. (2018). ‘Dead right: How neoliberalism ate itself and what comes next’, Quarterly Essay, 70, 4 June.

fascinating exchange of views and ideas, but not for

Eisenstein, C. (2018). Climate – A new story. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

the reasons I had anticipated. There’s no doubt that the

Harvey, D. (2004). The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession. Socialist Register 40, pp. 63-87.

conference participants, me included, remain extremely concerned about excessive workloads, suspect regulatory practices, reduced academic autonomy, casualisation, corporate influence, commercialisation and so forth. These are important areas of struggle in which the Union continues to play a key role. Many of these concerns, however, sit within the framework of what is commonly referred to as ‘industrial relations’. This battlefield is intimately connected to other, wider struggles that are formative for the world of tomorrow. They are struggles closely related to the crises and challenges identified earlier. The question that arises from all this is: if academics are to retain and create the intellectual spaces necessary for meaningful critical

Hawken, P. (2018). Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. London: Penguin Books. Klein, N. (2014). This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate, London: Simon. Klein, N. (2017). No Is Not Enough. Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada. Mason, P. (2015). Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, London: Allen and Lane. Massy, C. (2017). Call of the Reed Warbler: A new agriculture – A new earth, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. Monbiot, R. (2017). Out of the wreckage: A new politics for an age of crisis, London: Verso Books. Raworth, K. (2018). Doughnut economics: Seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist, London: Cornerstone.

scholarship – scholarship for a liveable future – then what sort of politics should they engage in? I don’t have the answer, but a good place to start might be to link our struggles over the governance of universities to the very reasons why these institutions exist in the first place. And even though many academics have been co-opted into the neoliberal university and given that most do not belong to the union, there is surely a case for a different sort of conversation, one that raises the prospect of an entirely different sort of higher education beyond the remit of neoliberal junk values. I would urge the NTEU to continue to link its work explicitly to those international campaigns in defence of the public university. It should also continue to promote a public conversation about the sort of society (and future) we’d like to see, and the role of universities in this regard. Unions have long been integral to those great social movements that have sought to advance democracy, social justice and human rights. They have in many instances acted as a bulwark against tyranny and social division. It’s a proud tradition that can and should be upheld, especially during these most troubling of times. What we should not

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The Kantian University Worldwide triumph and growing insecurity Simon Marginson University of Oxford

Introduction

This article discusses the University as an institution in three parts, moving from the abstract to the concrete.

How might we think about that institution called ‘the

The first and longest section begins with the University

University’, at home and across the world? Because

as a social form or type: what it is, its inner motors, what

something like the institution we know is now found

holds it together; and its outer drivers, what holds it in

in every part of the world, and there are identifiable

society. The second section remarks on tendencies in

commonalities

quiet

the university in which we now live, the contemporary

foundations of the University in Europe still relevant?

everywhere. Are

the

small

university. The third and concluding section discusses

What kind of institution has the University become?

limits and problems of the University. It is called ‘The

One historical example is that of the National University

insecurities of the University’.

of Ireland. In 1845 the Queen’s College Act established constituent colleges in Cork, Galway and Belfast. In 1851

The University as a social form

John Henry Newman was made the first rector of the Catholic University. This University was independent of

There is much written about the University as a social

the coloniser-state, and accordingly it was suborned and

form. Yet it can be argued that there are only three

marginalised. At first the Catholic University was blocked

great ‘ideas’ of the University. One is Newman’s idea.

from granting degrees. However, in 1882 it became

The second, which preceded Newman in time but

University College Dublin (UCD); and in 1908 UCD, Cork

is more modern and more important, is the German

and Galway were federated in the National University of

idea developed by Immanuel Kant and Wilhelm von

Ireland. Then those universities, like their counterparts

Humboldt.

elsewhere, began their long ascent to the peak of modern

The third is the American research university idea, which

society that they now occupy. UCD alone enrolled 33,724

was the successor to the German idea.The American idea,

students at last count. It is a global university. And yes,

carried by large-scale science based institutions of social

UCD grants degrees. In the most recent year, there were

status and power; and normalised by global connections,

8,857 awards.

globally visible exemplars and global rankings; is the

Yet in a fashion the small beleaguered founding

dominant model today.

Catholic University of Dublin still resonates. It is still with us. Its influence too is global. In 1852, J.H. Newman,

Three ideas of the University

the first rector of the University, delivered the lectures that became The idea of a University. There is no more

Newman’s idea and the American idea have each been

beautifully written book in the literature on higher

summarised in a brilliant book. The German idea must

education. It still compels us. Newman’s model of the

be gleaned from a larger body of works and practices.

worldwide institution was born in colonised Dublin.

Nevertheless, the German idea is the pivotal moment.

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John Henry Newman

horizons as it proceeds.The educability of the self-forming

Newman (1982) is obsolete. Yet Newman’s ‘idea’ is

learner is not fixed but is continually expanding (Sijander

ever-present. His invocations against vocational utility,

2012). In the optimistic modernist vision of Bildung the

and against research in the University, are no longer

intellectual creator stands on the shoulders of giants, but

persuasive. But Newman did not set himself against

by the same token, that creator stands ever-higher than

knowledge as such. Newman’s pellucid vision of teaching

any of those who came before

and learning was of personal development immersed in

Kant

published

the

epochal

essay

What

is

diverse knowledge. He told us that knowledge and truth

Enlightenment? in 1784. Kant (2009) called on the public

are not just means but ends.“A University”, says Newman,

to enlighten itself, to use critical reason to interrogate

“taken in its bare idea … has this object and this mission;

the times in which it lived. Importantly he emphasised

it contemplates neither moral impression nor mechanical

that critical reason does not emerge naturally. It must be

production; it professes to exercise the mind neither in

instilled through education (Kivela 2012).

art nor in duty; its function is intellectual culture, here it

Much was happening in 1784 when the idea at the

may leave its scholars, and it has done its work when it has

root of the modern research university was germinating.

done as much as this. it educates the intellect to reason

In Vienna, Mozart wrote his 17th piano concerto, K453

well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp

in G Major, arguably the first of his really great keyboard

it” (Newman, 1982, pp. 94-95).

concertos in that astonishing run from number 17 to

Learning is also good for students. “The knowledge

number 24 in which the mind emerges in the music with

which is thus acquired”, says Newman, “expands and

a new directness, clarity, scope and reflective depth. Like

enlarges the mind, excites its faculties, and calls those

Kant, Mozart, intensely curious about the intellectual

limbs and muscles into freer exercise” (Newman, 1982, p.

currents of his time, seems utterly contemporary with

128). This is good for everyone. “If then a practical end

us. In London, the young JMW Turner was beginning to

must be assigned to a University course, I say that it is of

reflect upon the character of light. Five years later the

training good members of society. Its art is the art of social

French revolution began, in which the public, following

life, and its end is fitness for the world” (Newman, 1982, p.

Kant’s advice, interrogated its times and found in them

134). Newman’s idea is no longer enough to comprehend

liberty, equality and solidarity. Contemporary Western

the many-sided work of the University. Yet the positive

politics was born.

vision is right in itself. Newman’s idea is still part of the University’s heart.

Immanuel Kant and Wilhelm von Humboldt

After the revolution, the European states which had been rocked to their base could never return to the old regime. Their new ambition was to be modern and stable at the same time – to find ways both to augment the newly-

Meanwhile, something similar but also different had

freed individual agency that has been fostered in the

emerged in Germany. There, student development

revolution, while at the same time controlling that agency,

through immersion in knowledge was explicitly joined

harnessing it to the state.Wilhelm von Humboldt took the

to a larger social and governmental picture. Knowledge

Kantian idea of Bildung, socially nested self-formation,

was seen not as a given doctrine but as a living and

into the blueprint for a new kind of University. This can

changing practice and its development became one of the

be called the Kantian University. It became successively

functions of the University. Further, by cultivating reason

the modern European University, the reforming American

in students, education did not just fit them for society,

University, and the world University of science and critical

it also transformed and improved society (Biesta 2002).

scholarship.

This was Kantian enlightenment, in which the education

Von Humboldt’s University of Berlin, founded in

of students in continuous self-formation, Bildung,

1809, had a formative curriculum that was both broad

became one of the drivers of modernity (Kivela, 2012).

and deep, grounded in history, classical languages and

The Bildung idea, arguably the most developed original

literature, linguistics, science and research (Kirby & van

philosophy of education in the Western tradition (even

der Wende 2016). He wanted a University that would

John Dewey’s powerful work on education is primarily an

serve the state and at the same time would do so in

expansion of its themes), still resonates. Bildung implies

the form of an autonomous institution with freedom to

an education dedicated to the unbounded evolution

learn and to teach, Lernfreheit and Lehrfreiheit. These

of individual and of collective human potential. Self-

notions, with their inner tensions, became central to the

formation through education opens new and widening

German university and the American research university

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that followed. Across the world, faculty still defend their

be its reputation, which he called its “name” (Kerr, 2001, p.

self-determination by invoking the global culture of

15), and the shared interest in itself across its diverse sub-

the Humboldtian university (Sijander & Sutenin, 2012),

communities. It was also sustained by its growing social

though this is now more focused on the freedom of the

uses, especially of its research.

academic than the freedom of the student.

Let us now fast forward to today. Can we improve on Clark Kerr’s account? What are the main components of

Clark Kerr

today’s University and how do they hang together?

The American adaptation of the German science university began with Johns Hopkins in 1876 and had

The institution today: The Inner University

spread to Harvard and the other Ivy League institutions by the early twentieth century. In another form, it radiated via

What might be a simplified description of the University

the land grant movement, with its un-Newmanlike service

today, a model of the type of 1852 Newman, 1809

to agriculture, industry and government. In retrospect,

Germany or 1963 United States? Arguably, the University

we see here the beginning of the triple helix (Etzkowitz

of today combines three distinctive and essential elements.

& Leydesdorff, 1995), the third mission and the engaged

These elements are first the corporate university, second

university. After World War II

the

and the Manhattan project,

and third the knowledge-

research flourished in the leading universities, while the United States became the first mass higher education system. Almost ninety years after Johns Hopkins, in 1963, University

of

The multiversity is multiple and diverse in missions, functions, sites, disciplines, students, inner interest groups and external stakeholders. This loosely coupled combinatory model is in fact highly functional.

California

self-forming

student,

bearing, knowledge-creating faculty. Each of these three elements

has

agency

in

itself, each develops under its own power, in fact each has tremendous momentum on a social scale. They are

President Clark Kerr gave

also enmeshed with each

three lectures at Harvard and turned them into the

other. Together they comprise what we can call the Inner

definitive account of the American research university,

University.

The Uses of the University (Kerr, 2001). This is a fine book, as realistic account of the

The corporate institution

University as has ever been written. Fifty-five years later

First, there is the branded corporate university, which is

it is still largely right. Kerr’s vision lacks the Internet and

nested at one and the same time in local communities,

globalisation but otherwise remains definitive of the

national systems and global networks (Marginson &

institution. It is more prosaic than Newman, but Kerr has

Rhoades, 2002).This is the University as an institution, one

great clarity of mind and word; and he takes in the whole

that is of distinct organisational type and has autonomous

University and polity, and part of society and economy

volition and self-reproduction.

as well. His main point was that the small elite university

The institution has the autonomy that von Humboldt

of Newman’s time had grown into the large ever-growing

was able to deploy and develop because of its particular

“multiversity”. The multiversity is multiple and diverse

legal structure. This is the outcome of a fortunate

in missions, functions, sites, disciplines, students, inner

historical accident. The foundational medieval European

interest groups and external stakeholders. This loosely

universities were incorporated institutions. Though they

coupled combinatory model is in fact highly functional.

were outgrowths of the church, for the most part they

Variable cross-subsidisation from teaching protects the

were also established under the auspices of the state as

non-economic character of research. Revenue shortfalls

semi-independent entities. Subject to the influence of

can be quarantined because of the part-decoupled

both church and state, they were wholly controlled by

character of functions. Kerr said that the multiversity

neither (or at least, not wholly controlled for most of the

had no single animating principle. He was not sure what

time), and in the small space left to them between the

held it together. He thought that it was probably not

overlays of church and state they could pursue their own

the university president, though it was apparent that

agendas. From this foundation they evolved as distinctive

the administration was everywhere becoming more

institutions with their own rituals, symbols, awards, and

important in the larger institutions. Rather, the glue might

later their own knowledge-intensive missions. The partial

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autonomy of European universities made them different

distinguishing motivation is acquisitiveness (Cunliffe

to the other pre-modern forms of higher education

2015, p. 1). Acquisitiveness is the desire for objects, and for

across the world.Their laws of motion were distinct from

social status (sometimes derived from objects, sometimes

those of the scholarly Buddhist monasteries in India, and

more abstract). Newman did not discuss this. Adam Smith

academies in Cairo and other Islamic cities, where religion

did. Adam Smith in 1776 called the desire for status and

dominated; and distinct from the academies in China, that

wealth the “the desire of bettering our condition” (Smith,

trained scholar-officials for the state. Notably, none of

1979, p. 441).The motivation of acquisitiveness feeds what

these other kinds of institution evolved into a worldwide

is probably the most universal kind of self-formation in

form with its own identity and habits.

the University. The majority of students, regardless of the

Today, at first glance, the semi-independent corporate

other kinds of self-formation in which they are engaged,

University slots into the familiar idea of the self-seeking

and whether they are enrolled in STEM, philosophy or

business firm. The University is often seen as another

business studies, want the credentials that universities

business.Yes and no.There’s more to it than that, and also

bring. They want to form themselves in terms of earning

less. The University is not primarily driven by profit or

power and/or social position. Rates of return data capture

revenues, though many universities are busily ambitious

one part of this.

for market share. Revenues are a means to the real end,

As a result, there is no end to the long growth of social

which is social prestige, social status, and an expanding

demand for the opportunities associated with higher

social role in the lives of families, communities and

education. In some national systems, like South Korea and

economies at home and abroad. Modern universities

Finland, the school leaver participation rate now exceeds

are driven to continually expand in size and function,

90 per cent (Cantwell, et al., 2018).

to aggregate people, resources and status, as Clark Kerr noted. Each extension of mission and function brings with

The knowledge-making faculty

it growth in the professional staff for whom, unlike the

The third element of the University is the knowledge-

faculty, the corporate institution looms larger than do the

making faculty, nested in local, national and global scholarly

individual disciplines located within it.

communities. Higher education is not an easy industry

The self-forming student

in which to work as an academic, especially in the early years. For much of the career the apparent lifetime rate

The second element that composes the modern University

of return on the PhD does not justify the investment, and

is the self-forming student (Marginson, 2018a), who is

few reach the top of the profession where the personal

nested in the aspirational family (Cantwell, Marginson

rewards are greatest. Many doctoral graduates simply

& Smolentseva 2018, Chapter 1). If some students might

cannot get faculty jobs. Many are confined to a succession

appear reluctant to form themselves through learning, the

of hourly-paid posts. Despite this, large numbers of people

point is that all the students are there, inside the University,

want to work with codified academic knowledge, and a

and many or most of them (depending on country and

high proportion want to create part of that knowledge.

type of university) will graduate.

The agency of faculty cannot be primarily grounded in

Why are the students there? For the purposes of self-

the employment relation, because bright people can earn

formation, yes, and there are many different modes of self-

better money with more security elsewhere. They want

formation. There is also a leading mode. Some students

to be faculty because this is a way of life they respect and

want to acquire cultural capital, and some want social

desire. It is a vocation.

networks. Some students want to immerse themselves in

The explosive growth in the number of published

cultural performances or student politics. Some want to

papers around the world partly reflects growing national

form a family by marrying another student. Most students

investments in science, in most countries, and the

want to form themselves in more than one way at the

growing role of advanced knowledge in industry and

same time. Many students want to immerse themselves

government. Both points were made by Kerr (2001). It

in knowledge because for them knowledge is fulfilling in

also reflects the inducements implanted by university

itself, as Newman said. In a sweeping study of ten thousand

performance cultures. But these explanations alone are

years of Eurasian history, the archaeologist Barry Cunliffe

not sufficient. Studies of scientific networks indicate that

concluded that one of the two motives that distinguishes

science is more cooperative than competitive; and grows

the human species is curiosity, the desire for information,

primarily through bottom up and horizontal disciplinary

and understanding, the desire to know. Cunliffe’s other

cultures (for example see the study of national and global

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science networks by Wagner, Park and Leydesdorff, 2015).

how the world works. Less a norm like Newman and von

The collective faculty make knowledge because persons

Humboldt and more a description like Kerr. Newman

with power and money want them to do so. The faculty

and von Humboldt did not need to see the University

also make knowledge because it is their nature to do so,

explicitly in terms of status. They took it for granted that

as a silkworm makes silk, as Marx said (Marx, 1979, p.

in the small socially elite institution of the nineteenth

1044). Knowledge makes the faculty and the faculty make

century the social elite already had status. There was no

knowledge.

mass pool of social rewards to differentiate and allocate across the population as there is now. Kerr sensed that

The University as a status economy

massification had changed things, but the full implications were not clear to him. He did grasp that the University’s

In the University these three distinct kinds of agency,

reputation, its name, was helping to unify it.

the institution, the students and the faculty, have evolved together. They are mutually supporting. This is especially

Universal growth

apparent in the research-intensive university, where all three kinds of agency and their interdependencies have

There are two more points to be emphasised about the

become highly developed. Operating together, the three

three kinds of agency which together constitute today’s

kinds of agency constitute a status producing economy.

University. First, there is the point that each form of

This function also peaks in the research-intensive

agency – institution, students and faculty – is self-driven

university, which is almost always a socially elite status-

and self-developing. Each grows of its own volition. One is

sensitive institution.

reminded of the worldview of the American pragmatists,

Because student formation occurs through the

Dewey and C.P. Mead, with their distinctive take on

immersion in knowledge, through the teaching-research

Kantian Bildung, which highlights the ubiquity of growth

nexus, faculty contribute both student formation and

in and through education (Kivela, Sijander & Sutinen, 2012,

knowledge making, at the same time. Each of the students

p. 307). At the same time, the growth of each – institution,

and the faculty then feed into the status of the corporate

student and faculty – provides favourable conditions for

institution. First, there is mutual status building between

the growth of the others.This suggests that solely in terms

elite self-forming students and the institution. By attracting

of its inner workings, the University must expand its role

high scoring students, universities enhance their own

and influence and resource usage over time.This includes

prestige. At the same time, elite universities confer prestige

its role as a status economy and the volume of social

on graduates. There is an exchange of status between

status that it manages.

university and student. Second, knowledge making faculty

The other point is that these three forms of agency

build research university status; while at the same time

have proven to be universalisable – or nearly so – on the

elite research universities harbour top researchers, and

world scale. The extent of similarity between universities,

provide them also with prestige. Again, we see that

everywhere, though from differing national and cultural

faculty and institution are engaged in an exchange of

contexts, is often remarkable. This is why global rankings,

status.There is a double exchange of status.The two status

despite their biases, omissions and inequalities, are

exchanges are interactive, because knowledge building

superficially plausible. The corporate institution, led by

by faculty, while it enhances the status of the institution,

a semi-autonomous strategic executive, is a form that is

also enhances the attractiveness of the institution to elite

now widely distributed; though the executive has varying

students. In the interdependency between the three

steering power; and government has a varying role,

elements that comprise the Inner University, social status

country by country, in directly regulating the University.

in different forms is both the currency and outcome of

On the faculty side, training regimes and career structures

exchange.

again vary markedly between countries, but the actual

The modern research University is a giant engine for

work of faculty in teaching, scholarship and research

producing and reproducing status. And to answer Clark

seems to have converged. On the student side, the modes

Kerr’s question, it is primarily this that holds it together.

of self-formation seem much the same everywhere,

The University as status-bearing and status-creating

though the balances between self-investment in position

organisation is another idea of a University, though it

and in knowledge can differ.

is not pretty. It is less about the curvature of aesthetics

A proof of the portability of the European/American

like Newman and more about the trajectory of lives and

university form is its ready adoption in East Asia, where

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civilization is deeply rooted and is different to the West

nation-state. Certainly, the University is conditioned by

in important respects. China, Singapore and South Korea

government, especially through funding and regulation.

have corporate university presidents, fecund researchers

It is by no means wholly determined by government or

and self-investing students. Each element is somewhat

even politics.

modified when compared to the originating American

Global research universities are partly disembedded

university form. In China and Singapore, the universities

from nation-states, operating with a high level of

are more closely embedded in the State than is the case

freedom outside the border, in their research and alliance

in the Atlantic countries. The faculty have a stronger

making (Beerkens, 2004). Universities and faculty, not

sense of responsibility to both their students and the

government regulation, shape the bulk of research

state. Students are more diligent in fashioning themselves

activity. Governments fund, and interfere, but they are

through education (Marginson 2016, Part II; Marginson

not the motive force. In their network analysis of science

2018a).

Caroline Wagner and colleagues concluded that “the growth of international collaboration” is “decoupling from

The Outer University: social roles

the goals of national science policy” (Wagner, et al., 2015, p. 3). Though governments think they fund research to

So far, this article has discussed the Inner University. It has

advance national policy goals, the quantitative network

stopped short of nesting the University in social purposes

analysis by Wagner and colleagues finds that in two

and roles, aside from making the point that it produces

thirds of nations, the pattern of national science activity

status, which is grounded in social relations. But when we

is now driven primarily by global networks, rather than

model the University today, the Outer University, nested in

the global patterns being driven by national research

society, is equally important to consider.

system activity (p. 9). This again emphasises the bottom

Newman and Kant imagined the university/society relationship as entirely university driven.

As noted,

up, agential character of faculty research. Nor do governments ultimately create, limit or

Newman believed that students immersed in knowledge

otherwise control student self-formation.

were thereby made fit for society. Kant believed that

the standard policy narrative, which is embedded in

persons immersed in learned knowledge would, working

everyone’s thinking, is that governments expand places in

together, both expand the space for public rationality and

higher education so as to provide opportunity and meet

generate the continuous improvement of society. There

the needs of the economy. Yet participation in higher

is something important in this supply-side vision. For

education is growing rapidly across the world in all

example, the greater is the number of students immersed

kinds of economies: manufacturing economies, services

in science, the more scope there is for science in public

economies, commodity economies, all but primarily

conversation and policy. Yet neither the Newman idea nor

agricultural economies in fact. Higher education is growing

the Kant idea capture what is socially distinctive about the

in economies with high growth rates and economies with

University or explain why society continues to sustain it.

low growth rates. In the longer run, family and student

The official narrative

As noted,

demand spills out from under all government efforts to limit the number of places. As participation expands

There is another narrative about the social role, that is

to include the whole middle class and moves further

sustained by national governments. In this discourse

down the family income scale, it becomes more difficult

government define the outcomes that universities should

for young people to stay outside higher education. The

serve. Government funds and regulates universities in

penalties of not having higher education are more severe,

order to secure social and individual benefits, which

in terms of both work and social standing. This, more

are primarily in the form of individual opportunity and

so than rates of return, drives the growth of demand

collective economic prosperity.This is a more prosaic, less

(Cantwell, et al. 2018;Trow 1973).

universal and more nation-bound version of the Kantian

Government gives ground, successively, to each

narrative. But this governmental narrative is not very

increase in the popular demand for opportunity. Its lack

convincing. The agency of each of the three forces that

of control over student self-formation is shown by the fact

have been described – the University as an institution,

that the participation rate does not fall, or if so it is a brief

the self-forming student, the knowledge making faculty

event and the enrolment trajectory goes back to growth

– is simply too strong and too autonomous to be

in students as a share of the age cohort. Participation rises

driven, defined, limited or contained by either nation or

inexorably over time. Government finds itself opening up

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Two unique social roles

though when it can it often shifts more of the cost onto families and students. Student self-formation in the

Arguably, the university has two primary external

University is socially driven, not policy driven.

functions, or sets of functions, and its growth and survival rest on these functions. In both of these fields of activity,

The New Everything?

social organisations other than the university also play a

If the official narrative is misleading, what is the unique

role, but the university has a special role – it is hegemonic

social role of the University? What does the University do,

within the total field of activity and shapes it elsewhere.

that no other organisation does, or does as well as it? Here

These two functions are occupational credentialing, and

the waters are muddy. As Clark Kerr said, multiversities

the production of codified knowledge.

do many things. As higher education expands universities take in more of society, spreads their activity maps and

Credentialing

adopt more and more stakeholders.

Credentialing is the master system whereby the University

At present the region and city building functions of

distributes status on the social scale. It is true that

universities are increasingly prominent: Universities are

occupational credentialing is shared between educational

evolving as adjuncts to local authorities within networked

bodies, public regulators and professional bodies. In law

governance and have long been

a

primary

of local jobs.

source

Along with

hospitals they are often the largest employers in smaller cities

and

medium-sized

and medicine, professional

Is the University the New Everything? Has it become the state, and society itself? No. Though universities are increasingly socially engaged.

towns. In the UK, universities

bodies and internships can be part of the final stage. However, the overall pattern of the last half century, in an ever-growing number of occupations, has been to

regularly monitor and report

diminish on the job training

on non-EU international students, operating in this

and increase the role of university classrooms, reading

manner as adjuncts of the Home Office. In many locations,

lists, essays and degree certificates. In some occupations

university performing arts provide the main local cultural

there is continued debate, and transfers to university are

life. Universities reach downwards into schools, run

sometimes (though rarely) reversed, but the primary

hospitals and sometimes information systems for whole

movement is clear.

health sectors. The National University of Mexico, as well conducting a quarter of the nation’s research, manages

Codification of knowledge

astronomical observatories, runs research ships up and

Likewise, many

down the Atlantic and the Pacific, provides symphony

knowledge and related information in various forms,

orchestras and houses the leading national football team.

from think tanks to media to government. Many non-

Is the University the New Everything? Has it become

university organisations conduct research, including

the state, and society itself? No. Though universities are

companies and public laboratories. However, in most

increasingly socially engaged, the question is how much

countries universities lead published science, and

ultimate responsibility they bear, and in which areas?

they have a near monopoly of the doctoral training of

We should distinguish core and non-core functions.

researchers for all sectors. Patterns vary by country but

Most of the activities listed above could be carried out

overall, the role of large research universities in research

by organisations other than universities. Many do not

is growing in relative terms. For example, in China

require intensive academic knowledge. Non-university

and Russia, some formerly separated academies and

agents might be better at the arts, football, or migration

laboratories have been merged into the university sector.

policy. Some functions in health or governance are only

Overall the research outputs of public laboratories

in universities because of neoliberal devolution strategies

and institutes are growing more slowly than those of

in which governments transfer their responsibilities

universities.

to autonomous public and private bodies. This is not a

kinds

of

organisations

produce

strong basis for the social role of universities. It also fails

Exchange between the two

to explain why that social role has proven to be both

The two social roles are heterogenous but have

tenacious and universal on a large and growing scale.

become combined. The University’s hegemony in

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codified knowledge determines the distinctive form

consequences than the production of social status alone.

taken by university teaching, which is Newman and

The codification of knowledge ranks the different kinds

von Humboldt’s idea of the immersion of student self-

of knowledge according to academic take-up, university

formation in knowledge. Students, like non-students,

of origin, and discipline. Credentialing also sorts

form themselves in many different parts of life, including

graduates on the basis of university and discipline. Both

the family, work and social media. Only in universities is

functions help to order institutions and shape student

knowledge an essential element of their self-formation.

investment. Once again, we find status is like a glue that

Credentialing is prior soaked in knowledge rather than

holds the modern University together. Branding, ranking,

in workplace skills, and this, in the diverse disciplines,

now dominate the landscape. We are all aware of status,

shapes the agency that graduates bring into the

at least in its institutional form. As noted, it is not pretty.

workplace. The potency of the credentialing function

It is certainly hierarchical. Coupled with the dominance

provides a powerful protection for the knowledge-

of traditional universities, the status economy is caste-

intensive learning regime.

like, reproductive, in its sorting function.

The fact that student self-formation immediately prior

Herein lies a paradox, grounded in a tension between

to work occurs through immersion in knowledge at

cultural and social values. The same Inner/Outer caste-

one step removed from work, and not primarily through

and-status economy also reproduces the more attractive

rehearsals for occupational practice, is a perpetual source

features of the University, such as knowledge production

of controversy. This means that the claims routinely made

and student learning as self-formation. If students did not

by business and industry, that graduates are not adequately

gain this form of social value at the moment of graduation,

prepared for the workplace in general, and for specific

their drive to educate themselves would be much reduced.

workplaces, will always be part of the public debate.

This in turn would reduce the extent of other forms of self-

Under some circumstances – for example near universal

formation in higher education, including their intellectual

participation in higher education, with low discrimination

and cultural growth; and through the interdependency

between different largely generic graduates which makes

between the teaching and research functions of the

it harder for employers to select, coupled with fast

University, it would reduce codified knowledge.The status

rising graduate unemployment – this tension could spell

economy enables us to maintain the idea of Newman, and

serious trouble for the University. It has not come to that.

the idea of Kant and von Humboldt – though primarily

Until now both the credentialing regime and codified

in the research intensive sub-sector. The University is less

knowledge have proven to be sufficiently useful for both

good at spreading those ideas to all.

students and industry. Each constitutes successful selfreproducing systems.

The (contemporary) historical university

Inner/Outer status economy

So, this then is the University. A powerful combination of institutional agency, family and student agency, and

One key to these processes of self-reproduction is

faculty agency. Articulated by knowledge, as Newman and

that both the social role of the External University

von Humboldt knew; articulated by credentials, as later

in knowledge, and the social role of the External

became apparent; and ever growing in size and function,

University in credentialing, are essential to status

as Kerr was the first to really understand. And in these

exchanges in the Inner University, and vice versa. This

processes driven and combined by the production and

knits the Inner and Outer University together. This is

exchange of status, as has been argued here.

another way of saying that it knits the University into

What are the implications for the real-life universities

the society in which it is embedded. Credentialing is the

we inhabit? The University has become exceptionally

medium for the exchange of status between university

dynamic in all three domains: the growth and worldwide

and student. The research function of the University

spread of high student participation, the worldwide

feeds into the value of its credentials. Immersion in

growth and spread of research activity and outputs,

knowledge is the prior condition of credentialing.

and the worldwide spread of the large multi-function

In self-formation students make themselves into

university as the paradigmatic post-school institution.

credential-able workers. And so on.

The fact that all three agencies exhibit this exceptional

These

inter-dependencies,

within

the

Inner/

Outer status economy of the University, have more

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primarily resourced nationally, its output is more global system driven than driven by bounded national systems.

First, student-self formation, manifest in the growth of participation. From 1995 to 2015 the world Gross

Spread of the multiversity

Enrolment Ratio (GER) in tertiary education as measured by UNESCO (2018) rose from 16 to 36 per cent, with four

Third, the spread of the large multi-discipline multi-

fifths of the world’s 216 million students enrolled in full

purpose and often multi-site multiversity form of

degree programs. Of those about half can be expected to

university. In the policy literature on diversity in higher

complete their degrees.

education, it is often assumed that a major growth of

The GER increased by 20 per cent in the last 20 years.

enrolment and provision must trigger a greater variety

At that rate the GER reaches 50 per cent by 2040. In 60

of institutions by type. This has not happened. With some

national education systems, the GER already exceeds

country exceptions, diversity by institution mission

half of the school leaver age cohort. The quality of mass

or type is static or declining, except in online and for-

higher education varies greatly, but it is clear that we

profit provision, which, however, remain secondary

are experiencing an extraordinary growth of educated

in all established higher education systems. (For a

“capability”, to use Amartya Sen’s (2000) term.

comprehensive review of patterns of diversity and the rise of the multiversity form see Antonowicz, Cantwell,

Faculty agency

Froumin, Jones, Marginson and Pinheiro, 2018).

Second, faculty agency, in the form of the growth of

discipline-specialist

knowledge. To access global science, nations need their

institutions. In many countries these have been merged

own trained people, not just users but producers of

into comprehensive multi-disciplinary universities. In

research who interact with researchers abroad. All high-

some cases, such as Ireland, non-university institutions

income and most middle-income countries now want

are being upgraded and redesignated as universities. In

their own science system and they are building doctoral

many though not all countries, a growing proportion of all

education and employing researchers in unprecedented

higher education students are in designated universities.

numbers. Alongside the expansion in student enrolment

It is likely a growing proportion are located in universities

since the mid 1990s there has been equally rapid growth

with significant research. Meanwhile the average size of

in investment in R&D and in the stock of published

comprehensive multi-disciplinary universities is growing.

knowledge. Between 1990 and 2015 US research spending

In elite research universities, as in other institutions, size

tripled in real terms. China grew its total investment in

is one source of relative advantage.

Overall there has been a reduction in the role of institutions, and

binary

sector

R&D from $13 billion to $409 billion (NSB, 2018). In 2003-2016 the total world output of science

Insecurities of the University

papers, mostly by university researchers rose from 1.2 to 2.3 million, an increase of 93 per cent in only 13

So, we experience worldwide the march of the

years (NSB, 2018). The growth of science in East Asia has

multiversity to fame and fortune. This is an institutional

been especially remarkable. More than one third of all

triumph on a scale unimaginable to Newman and

scientific papers published in English now include at

Humboldt. Perhaps the extent of the global radiation of the

least one author with a Chinese name (Xie & Freeman,

University and science would have surprised Kerr, though

2018). China now leads the world in the production

he did anticipate that the research multiversity would

of high citation papers in mathematics and computing

spread more widely across the world. But the continued

(Leiden University 2018. For more discussion of these

hegemony of the University over the codification of

tendencies and their implications see Marginson, 2018b;

knowledge, and occupational credentialing cannot be

Marginson, 2018c).

assumed. Indeed, the great growth of the university form,

These data have been listed in terms of nations, but

and its social functions, masks tensions and fragilities.

the growth of cross-border collaboration, as identified

These are more exposed when the context, especially

in the number of internationally co-authored papers, has

the political context, becomes significantly disturbed, as

been more rapid than the growth of scientific output

at present (for more discussion see Marginson, 2018c).

as a whole (NSB, 2018). As noted previously, science is

Then the many joins in this complex assemblage called

primarily bottom up and discipline based. Though it is

the University emerge as possible fault lines.

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Let us look – briefly, it is speculative – at the potentials

parts of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In those zones

and problems for the three kinds of agency (corporate

rampant marketisation, for example small private colleges

institution, students, faculty) and the two unique social

in India and for-profit and online delivery in Africa, is now

roles of the University, its role in relation to knowledge

blocking the evolution of high participation systems of

and its role in relation to credentialing.

higher education of adequate quality.

The institution

might pursue debundling of the multiversities as a kind

Perhaps governments under commercial pressure of crusade using anti-trust style legislation. In the EnglishThe University qua institution faces several risks. The

speaking world it would be difficult to do this across the

more the University becomes a container for the whole

federated United States or Canada, but easier to do so in

of society and is pulled this way and that between a

UK or Ireland, with their centralised polities.

huge range of roles, the greater the risk that it will lose command of its own destiny amid short-termism and multiple consumer-like stakeholder accountability.

Faculty agency

A

related problem, especially if the autonomy of the

There are two risks to faculty agency. The sharp end

University declines, is role dissonance. We see this already.

problem, in a small group of countries, is suppression.

In some institutions there is tension between on one hand

At present the countries severely at risk include Turkey,

local and national enmeshment, and on the other hand

Hungary and parts of the Middle East and Africa. Currently

global research, global mobility and the cosmopolitan

we hope the state politicisation of the University, as in

ideal. The external populist attack on science can be

the Cultural Revolution period, does not return to China.

seen off, although it is destabilising, but doubts about

We can hope that China stays off the list of countries

whether the University is locally committed are a slow

in which faculty agency is severely repressed, while

drip problem that is harder to evade.

noting that freedoms in minority zones such as Tibet

Debundling

and Xinjiang are of immediate concern. Presently most faculty in the sciences retain a broad scope to determine

More fundamentally, there are inefficiencies, diseconomies

their research, though there is government interference

of scope, in the combinatory model of the multiversity.

in research decisions (as in many countries); social

None of the functions of this conglomerate corporate

scientists, hemmed by official readings of ‘the social’,

institution are done especially well because they are part-

are more constrained than are natural scientists; and in

contaminated by other functions, and the finances of

China as elsewhere, performance management regulates

each part are never wholly separate.This leads to the core

faculty autonomy.

issue, the growing danger that confronts the University of

The larger and more universal danger for faculty

Newman, Kant and Kerr. Commercial companies want the

worldwide is a slow drip problem – the fragmentation of

University to be debundled between its teaching, research,

collective agency. Faculty agency is often exceptionally

credentialing and service functions. This would kick-start

strong in the leading universities but more imperilled

huge new opportunities in different industry sectors,

lower down. Fragmentation takes a number of forms,

while destroying the University and much of what it does.

including the relative growth of casual (hourly rate or

However, within a given national system of higher

‘part-time’) labour, erosion in the tenured posts as a

education, once the University form has been established

proportion of all posts in research intensive universities,

as hegemonic in higher education, it is hard to displace.

and the cowering of the capacity for educational and

Once established, the forces of aggregation and

research-based faculty judgments in lower tier institutions

combination seem to be stronger than the forces for

in which business norms predominate, and intellectual

debundling and the economic logic of specialisation/

curiosity is solely a means to the real ends which are

niches. The status economy that is the University secures

money and institutional marketing.

critical mass. A growing number of people invest in it. Debundling would undo the status economy, which has

Student self-formation

many beneficiaries in society. We see debundled higher education at scale only in

There are two risks to student self-formation. One is a

those zones in which the University as such has not been

problem that is eating into contemporary representative

strongly established, or remains a small elite sector, in

democracy (Runciman, 2018). The social media world

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of instant emotions, in which we connect instantly to

losers, and some would defend the University. The larger

thousands of others, is much more exciting than the

problem, which is less visible and where there is no

long hard slog of changing hegemonic opinion and

external constituency to mobilise in support, is the slow

shifting government policy. In democracy, the social

drip problem of the fragmentation of faculty agency in a

media conversation is displacing the slow discussion-

casualised academic labour market.

based process of winning support in political parties

Here universities themselves must be persuaded that

and institutions. In universities, the social media world

it is not in their interests to build institutional agency by

and the kind of agency it fosters can overshadow self-

deconstructing faculty agency. A relatively stable core

development in knowledge and labour markets with

faculty with critical mass is not a managerial weakness

their uncertain timelines and unpredictable rewards, and

but an education and research strength. Research-based

the intrinsic difficulty of the process. Relaying twitter

faculty sustain the immersion of learning in knowledge,

messages and posting photos is easy. Learning can be hard.

ensuring that the research mission is not a separate

It is impossible to see the self-forming student agency

economy decoupled from the rest, but feeds into the other

project collapsing on a large scale in East Asia but perhaps

parts of this unified status economy and the benefits that

it could happen in the United States.

it fosters, including Bildung.

The second danger that in more unequal societies, as

In this manner the contemporary University maintains

universal participation approaches, the rewards to each

unbroken the thin thread that it has inherited from

new layer of graduates will no longer sustain the economic

Newman and above all from Kant. That thread will break

drivers of self-formation, especially if the private costs of

someday. The lesson of natural and human history is that

higher education increase. The difference between being

nothing lasts for ever.We can hope that the thread will not

a graduate and being a non-graduate will shrink at the

break soon. For at this time we have nothing better with

margin to zero. In essence, this is the danger that the

which to replace it.

growth of human capability will outstrip the expansion of opportunities to use that capability (Cantwell, et al.,

Notes

2018, Chapter 16). This is not an immediate danger except perhaps in

This article was first delivered as an evening lecture to the

the United States. In the US tertiary participation is near

National University of Ireland in Dublin, on 7 November

universal but completion is weak, private costs are rising

2018. The author thanks Patricia Maguire from NUI, and

and social inequality is rampant, so that the bottom layer

thanks the participant audience for stimulating discussion.

of graduates has poor prospects. Elsewhere there is

For further supporting arguments, data and references,

further to go before the University ceases to be the hope

see the book High Participation Systems of Higher

of aspiring families.

Education (Cantwell et al., 2018).

The thin thread

Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Education and Linacre College, University of

In the last analysis the future of the University rests on the

Oxford, UK. He is also Principal Investigator at the ESRC/

continued healthy evolution of the two social connectors,

OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education, and a member of

which are knowledge and credentials.The two are related.

the AUR Editorial Board.

If credentials were separated from the learning program

Contact: simon.marginson@education.ox.ac.uk  

and became based on measured occupational skills, selfformation would no longer be immersed in knowledge. Likewise, those same credentials would no longer be underpinned by the University qua university and the bottom would be knocked out of the status economy in higher education. But the greatest danger that the cotemporary University faces is not debundling, which would only occur under certain political conditions and would be contested. Debundling would deconstruct the social value of past degrees as well as present degrees; it would create many vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

References Antonowicz, D., Cantwell, B., Froumin, I., Jones, G., Marginson, S. & Pinheiro, R. (2018). Horizontal diversity. In B. Cantwell, S. Marginson & A. Smolentseva (eds.), High Participation Systems of Higher Education (pp. 94-124). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Beerkens, H. (2004), Global Opportunities and Institutional Embeddedness: Higher education consortia in Europe and Southeast Asia, doctoral thesis, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, http://www.utwente.nl/ cheps/documenten/thesisbeerkens.pdf. Biesta, G. (2002). Bildung and modernity: The future of Bildung in a world of difference. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 21, pp. 343-352. The Kantian University Simon Marginson

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Cantwell, B., Marginson, S. & Smolentseva, A. (eds.) (2018). High Participation Systems of Higher Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cunliffe, B. (2015). By Steppe, Desert and Ocean. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Etzkowitz, H. & Leydesdorff, L. (1995). The Triple Helix – University-IndustryGovernment relations: A laboratory for knowledge based economic development. EASST Review, 14 (1), pp. 14-19. Kant, I. (2009). An answer to the question: ‘What is enlightenment?’ In I. Kant, An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’ (pp. 1-11).Trans. H. Nisbet. London: Penguin. Kerr, C. (2001). The Uses of the University. 5th Edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. First published in 1963. Kirby, W. & van der Wende, M. (2016). A global dialogue on liberal arts and sciences: Re-engagement, re-imagination and experimentation. In W. Kirby & M. van der Wende (eds.), Experiences in Liberal Arts and Sciences Education from America, Europe, and Asia: A dialogue across continents (pp. 1-16). New York: Palgrave. Kivela, A. (2012). From Immanuel Kant to Johann Gottlieb Fichte – Concept of education and German idealism. In Siljander, P., Kivela, A. & Sutinen, A. (eds.) (2012). Theories of Bildung and Growth: Connections and controversies between Continental educational thinking and American pragmatism (pp. 59-86). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Kivela, A., Siljander, P., & Sutinen, A. (2012). Between Bildung and growth: Connections and controversies. In Siljander, P., Kivela, A. & Sutinen, A. (eds.) (2012). Theories of Bildung and Growth: Connections and controversies between Continental educational thinking and American pragmatism (pp. 303-312). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Leiden University (2018). CWTS Leiden Ranking 2018. Centre for Science and Technology Studies, CWTS. www.leidenranking.com Marginson, S. & Rhoades, G. (2002). Beyond national states, markets, and systems of higher education: A glonacal agency heuristic. Higher Education, 43 (3), pp. 281-309. Marginson, S. (2016). The Dream is Over: The crisis of Clark Kerr’s California idea of higher education. Berkeley: University of California Press. Marginson, S. (2018a). Higher Education as Self-Formation. Inaugural Professorial Lecture at the UCL Institute of Education. https://www.ucl-ioe-press. com/books/higher-education-and-lifelong-learning/higher-education-as-aprocess-of-self-formation/

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Marginson, S. (2018b). The new geo-politics of higher education. CGHE Working Paper 34, April. London: ESRC/HEFCE Centre for Global Higher Education. Marginson, S. (2018c). World higher education under conditions of national/ global disequilibria. CGHE Working Paper 42, October. London: ESRC/HEFCE Centre for Global Higher Education. Marx, K. (1976). Capital, Volume 1. Harmondsworth: Penguin. National Science Board, NSB (2018). Science and Engineering Indicators 2018. https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsb20181/assets/nsb20181.pdf Newman, J. (1982). The idea of a University. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. First published in 1852 and 1858. Runciman, D. (2018). How Democracy Ends. London: Profile Books. Sen, A. (2000). Development as Freedom. New York: Basic Books. Siljander, P. (2012). Educability and Bildung in Herbart’s theory of education. In Siljander, P., Kivela, A. & Sutinen, A. (eds.) (2012). Theories of Bildung and Growth: Connections and controversies between Continental educational thinking and American pragmatism (pp. 87-106). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Sijander, P. & Sutinen, A. (2012). Introduction. In Siljander, P., Kivela, A. & Sutinen, A. (eds.) (2012). Theories of Bildung and Growth: Connections and controversies between Continental educational thinking and American pragmatism (pp. 1-18). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Smith, Adam (1979). The Wealth of Nations. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. First published 1776. Trow, M. (1973). Problems in the Transition from Elite to Mass Higher Education. Berkeley, CA: Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). (2018). UNESCO Institute for Statistics data on education. http://data.uis. unesco.org/ Wagner, C., Park H. & Leydesdorff, L. (2015). The continuing growth of global cooperation networks in research: A conundrum for national governments. PLoS ONE, 10 (7): e0131816. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131816. Xie, Q. & Freeman, R. (2018). Bigger than you thought: China’s contribution to scientific publications. NBER Working Paper No. 24829. http://www.nber.org/ papers/w24829

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Unveiling opportunities for hope Is it too much to ask for a compassionate university? Bill Boyd & Airdre Grant Southern Cross University

A few years ago, one of us responded, in this journal,

so on.As far back as 1992, the effects of such organisational

to an article by Australian academic Eva Peterson, who

sensibilities were recognised for the potentially destructive

had set out to celebrate the joy of an academic career

forces they appear to have become (Palmer, 1992). At

(Boyd & Horstmanshof, 2013). Peterson explored the

that time, Palmer noted the importance of balance and

narratives of the aspirations of research academics as they

symbiosis between, on the one hand, the conservative role

moved forward in the academy, only to find a tale of woe

of organisations and, on the other hand, the dynamic roles

(Peterson, 2011). There was, found Peterson, a malaise in

of social movements, in simultaneously maintaining status

the university. Early career scholars were making choices

quo and driving change. This balance, Palmer reminded us,

and expressing aspirations in an atmosphere of, as they

is essential to a healthy society. However, he then warned

understood and experienced it, overwork and undervalue.

us (p. 10),‘when an organisation mentality is imposed on a

Instead of exciting career path strategies, Peterson

problem that requires movement sensibilities, the result is

encountered coping strategies and exit strategies. She

often despair’. It appears we have progressed beyond this

concluded that policy makers and university managers

Palmerian moment.

would do well to listen to the stories of these academics,

This opinion piece is, for this moment, a response, a

their narratives, instead of continuing, as she claimed, to

thinking experiment about how to make a shift against

dismiss and denigrate them. A grim picture indeed: one

narratives that oppress, and how to respond positively to the

that, although the word was not used, lacked compassion.

‘compelling need for compassionate academic leadership in

We prefer, for the moment, not to revisit that tale of

our universities’ (Waddington, 2018, p.87).We unashamedly

woe. We do note, nevertheless, that such a tale reflects a

draw on writers from more demanding educational

common situation in the academy. Many academics begin

circumstances – from the socially charged environments

their career at university full of hope and ambition, to

of late twentieth century Brazil and the emergence of

do, as Anne Pirrie (2018) calls it, ‘good work well’. They

post-apartheid South Africa – to provide inspiration that

arrive with plans to inspire their students, to instil a love

demonstrates change is possible in the academy.

of learning and of their chosen discipline, only to have

How do we know that we are beyond the Palmerian

the shine on their hope tarnished by the sheer grind of

moment? The evidence is clear. It lies in the narratives

working in a higher education institution. There are many

that academics provide when asked about their daily

reasons for this – the increasing bureaucratisation of the

experience of working in the university. We appear to

university, shifting government and societal expectations,

be in a situation, rightly or wrongly, that fosters deficit

performance reporting processes, attitudes towards

narratives, narratives of coping, narratives of leaving,

university education as job training, funding pressures, and

and narratives of despair. These are easy narratives to

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perpetuate, founded on a strong sense of being uncared

often second-career academics whose professional

for, of being unappreciated, and of being put upon. Who

cultural upbringing was outside the university – whose

reading this opinion piece has not experienced the

daily reality appears to accord with the deficit narrative.

narratives of woe from disgruntled colleagues? The war

Second career academics hold up a useful mirror against

stories of excessive hours of marking? The inequities of

which to check the health of the university. Without

rules that ‘they’, some faceless others, impose upon us?

a scholarly apprenticeship – the years of PhD training

Others who get promoted but could not, it is asserted

and post-doctoral uncertainty – they are less immune to

with righteous indignation, teach their way out of a

the curiosities of academic culture. In short, they often

brown paper bag? These are powerful narratives, which,

simply don’t get it. Helping them transition into academe

importantly, largely serve to reinforce negative visions

– refocusing their narratives – is important work; no one,

of working in the university – the ‘paradigm of suffering’

generally, helped them when they were first employed. It

that Dickson & Summerville argue need to be replaced

is an opportunity to instil some good will and optimism –

by the ‘right to be well’ (2018, p. 24). In short, these are

a vote of confidence, if you like – into their working day.

narratives borne of, and potentially validating, a tangible

An academic’s good will and optimism – should it not

sense of lack of compassion in the system. Perhaps we are

be subsumed by the daily grind – is reflected in all aspects

being gentle in such an assessment; perhaps we should be

of working life. It is especially important in building

more direct.Take, for example, Freire and Faundez’s (1989,

and maintaining compassionate collegial and student

p. 42) assessment of the situation: ‘Brutalising the work

interactions. This emotional component of work echoes

force by subjecting them to routine procedures is part of

throughout the institution and throughout the student

the nature of the capitalist mode of production. And what

experience. Students – our greatest teachers, according

is taking place in the reproduction of knowledge in the

to Freire – continually remind us of this point. They can

schools is in large part a reproduction of that mechanism.’

enlighten us, if we are listening and paying attention.

Regardless of perspective, however, for those who

Students, for example, are clear about the role of empathy:

value the institution of the university, these are worrisome

empathy in workplace culture can have a huge influence

narratives. Is it possible to counter them? Paulo Freire,

in how they feel; role modelling of empathy is crucial; and,

despite the previous quote, offers a two-pronged

regardless of the positive benefits of an empathetic approach

statement of hope: an early declaration of intent – ‘In

to ones work, maintaining empathy in the contemporary

order to achieve humanisation, which presupposes the

workplace can be challenging (Hughes et al., 2018).

elimination of dehumanising oppression, it is absolutely

It is important to counter the deficit narrative with

necessary to surmount the limit-situations in which men

acknowledgement of reality. Such a declarative stance

[and women] are reduced to things’ (Freire, 1970, p. 93) –

may require dogged optimism. One way to support

followed by a later statement of practice – ‘This capacity

that optimism is to look to the educational greats, the

to always begin anew, to make, to reconstruct, and to not

distinguished voices who affirm the vitally important role

spoil, to refuse to bureaucratise the mind, to understand

and transformative responsibilities that are embedded with,

and to live as a process – live to become – is something

and in, teaching practice. One of the greatest optimists is

that always accompanied me throughout life’ (Freire,

the aforementioned Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire.

1993, p. 98). In short, yes, it is possible to counter these

We are, perhaps obviously, inspired by him, his words, his

worrisome narratives.

passion, his thoughts. We are inspired, in particular, when

It is now a matter of considering how we might replace

he talks about the task of the teacher and mentor as being

such deficit narratives. As experienced academics, we

to ‘unveil opportunities for hope, no matter what the

know that it is not enough to simply say that things are not

obstacles may be’ (Freire, 1992, p. 133; emphasis added).

as bad as you think.The strength of the deficit narrative is

Academics such as Vandeyar and Swart (2016), in their

palpable; it is, indeed, a self-reinforcing power. We suggest,

work on South African teaching practice, echo such

however, that it is possible to co-opt or appropriate the

opportunity of hope as they seek to rebuild post-apartheid

narrative as a powerful and positive mode of expression

compassion in education. We have much to learn from

in itself, to use it to counter negativity, and to instil some

such charged conditions. Vandeyar and Swart write about

sense of hope and compassion into the system. We have,

the need for a pedagogy of compassion in the creation

indeed, already done this, and it works (Boyd et al., 2012,

of a socially just and aware society. This is especially

2013). As a senior academic, one of us adopted the role

important if we accept the transformative purpose of

as a mentor to early and mid-career academics – indeed

teaching, and, therefore, acknowledge the responsibilities

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that come with a transformative role. A teacher who

important comment about the teacher and the student:

embodies compassion in their teaching practice models

they become ‘jointly responsible for a process in which all

to students a way of thinking and operating in the world

grow’ (we have added the emphasis). In acknowledging the

has long term social impact.

etymological roots of the word university – Latin,‘the whole,

Teachers not only need to be able to raise the critical consciousness of learners but they need to adopt an ‘epistemology of compassion’ in order to enable learners to become active critical citizens, imbued with a sense of common humanity and compassion. … becoming an agent of transformative change may challenge the very premise of teachers’ identities and practices, but by empowering the learner to exert influence on her world, the teacher is in turn also changed and empowered (Vandeyar & Swart, 2016, p. 141).

aggregate’ and, notably, Late Latin, ‘a number of persons

When academics are bound in a deficit narrative,

picaresque exploration of creative transformation needed

however, their commitment to, and capacity for, a

in the modern university, goes further. She helps us join the

pedagogy of compassion may be much diminished. And

dots between joint responsibility and an ethical imperative:

so we come to the next question: How do we empower

‘It is only by exercising the ethical imagination and

academics to set aside deficit narratives and take up

acknowledging the extent to which we are intertwined and

compassion? We note that narratives play a critical role

entangled in a world of things,’ she reminds us,‘that we can

in both threatening and enabling compassion in the

restore the ethical centre to the ‘hollowed’ out university’

university system. ‘Our only truth is narrative truth, the

(Pirrie, 2018, preface p. 12). In practical terms, Maginess &

stories we tell each other and ourselves – the stories we

MacKenzie (2018, p. 42) help us progress such restoration:

continually recategorise and refine,’ another Bill Boyd,

‘One way in which we might cultivate compassionate

not the same Bill Boyd co-authoring this opinion piece,

regard,’ they suggest, ‘is to use the embodied experiences

informs us (Boyd, 2018), ‘Such subjectivity is built into

and suggestive capacities of literature to [re]imagine or

the very nature of memory and follows from its basis and

[re]conceive beliefs or attitudes, to cultivate perception,

mechanisms in the brains we have. The wonder is that

discernment and responsiveness’.

associated into one body, a society, company, community, guild, corporation …’ – the notion of joint responsibility becomes a potent signifier of a compassionate relationship in the university; compassion ceases to be just as a ‘private interpersonal value, but [becomes] a broader institutional and global value’ (Maginess & MacKenzie, 2018, p. 42). Again, perhaps we are being too gentle in proposing such a suggestion. Anne Pirrie, in her 2018 self-acknowledged

aberrations of a gross sort are relatively rare and that for

Returning to Boyd’s characterisation of narratives

the most part our memories are so solid and reliable.’ In

as stories that ‘we continually recategorise and refine’,

other words, narrative is fundamental to our survival in

Freire reminds us that, ‘knowledge emerges only

the world.‘The only truth,’ Boyd continues,‘is the narrative

through invention and re-invention, through the restless,

truth. Now that is something to contemplate.’

impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings

OK, narratives are essential to survival. How, then, might

pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other’

we, in the ethos of the ancient martial arts, use the strength

(Anon, 2018a). This is the place of ‘chance encounters,

of narrative against itself? Boyd draws our attention to

missed opportunities, vague inklings, sudden rushes of

some most important truths: of the fundamental nature

excitement, trip and slips, falling down and getting up

of the narratives we build and tell and remember; of the

again that are part of ethical professional practice’ (Pirrie,

continuity of our recategorisation and refinement of

2018, preface p. 2). The problem – amongst many – with

narratives; of the essential truthfulness of narratives. It is

deficit narratives is that they refuse recategorisation and

these qualities that may perpetuate a deficit narrative or

definition. They refuse to engage the chance encounters,

may reinvigorate a compassionate narrative. It is these

missed opportunities, vague inklings and so on. And they

qualities that allow a university academic to cease being

refuse to get up after falling down. Importantly, they stifle

the reactive agent that the deficit narrative demands of

restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry. And how

him or her. It is these qualities that also allow the same

better could we describe the work and purpose of the

academic to become an active agent in a compassionate

academy than as ‘restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful

education.To allow the teaching academic to no longer be,

inquiry’? Our responsibility, therefore, has to be to

in more words from Freire, ‘merely the-one-who-teaches,

reinvigorate the opportunity for such an inquiry. One way

but one who is him/herself taught in dialogue with the

to do so is through narratives of hope.

students, who in turn while being taught also teach’ (Anon,

When the overarching narrative of a university shifts

2018a). Importantly, Freire’s observation is followed by an

toward

employability, commercial

imperatives

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industry needs – the ‘increasingly [focus] on the private,

and obligations? It is here that Paulo Freire (again!) speaks

rather than the public good’ (Maginess & MacKenzie, 2018,

clearly and directly to the art of teaching and the deep

p. 42) – and overwhelms narratives of scholarship and

emotional and spiritual commitment it entails.

graduates as citizens, of critical thinking, of intellectual rigour and of social compassion – Etzkowitz et al.’s (2000, p. 325) ‘evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm’ – this impacts on the entire agenda of work at the university and, to go to the core of the university, its intellectual foundations. And, as Pirrie reminds us, this

I understand the process of teaching as an act of love. I mean, it is not an act of love in the formal sense, and never in the bureaucratic sense. It is an act of love as an expression of good care, a need to love, first of all, what you do. Can you imagine how painful it is to do anything without passion, to do everything mechanically? (Darder, 2002, p. 92)

impact is significant. It is surely no coincidence that the distortions of the modern university have been brought about by the predominance of the business model of higher education. The result of this has been an increased emphasis on target setting, rigid systems of performance management and in the development of ever more sophisticated techniques of monitoring and surveillance. Contrary to the expectations of the architects of these widespread systemic changes, such developments have made it considerably more difficult to get on with the deceptively straightforward business of doing good work well. (Pirrie, 2018, preface pp. 1-2; emphasis added)

Another approach might be to draw established university practices to guide us towards a compassionate perspective? The well-established, and establishment, realm of human research ethics offers principles that can be extended well beyond the remits of human research (Boyd, 2014). Human research, it is widely acknowledged, is bound by principles of respect and codes of behaviour, principles and codes that could – we suggest should – be adopted in the day-to-day running of an institution such as a university.These could and would guide a new age of morally and socially responsible and respectful behaviour

And yet, the employability, commercial, industry

in the institution. Principles such as merit, integrity, justice,

and private purpose holds fast in most aspects of the

beneficence and respect (Anon, 2018b) must surely guide

modern university’s work and being. This is despite

us towards a compassionate workplace.To be meaningful,

what Waddington (2018, p. 87) reminds us about our

these well-accepted but purely abstract concepts need

universities, that they ‘still have a duty of care; a moral and

to be tangible and palpable. They need to be visible as

legal obligation to ensure that everyone associated with

practice and material in the workplace. What do they

the institution, whether this be students, employees or

look like? What do they sound like? What do they feel

the general public, are fully protected from any personal

like? The answers can be deceptively simple. They look

physical and/or emotional harm …[and that] care,kindness

like work and work processes that are fair and just, that

and compassion are not separate from being professional;

do not impose stress on people, and that are honest and

rather, they represent the fundamentals of humanity in

true to the purpose of the job. They sound like language

the workplace’. Given that, as Waddington also reminds us,

that acknowledges people’s humanity, that praises and

‘compassion is now a crucial and core concern in tertiary

acknowledges from the heart, and that respects each

education’, it has to be possible to open a door to another

employee’s individuality. They feel like joy at, and from,

future, to the university characterised by compassionate

work, not just tolerance of too few hours for too much

narratives of critical thinking, of citizenship, of shared

work.They look, sound and feel like, in the words of Paulo

responsibility of a true community. The question is now

Freire, acts of love. As he, yet again, reminded us, ‘it is

one, simply, of what such narratives can look like.

impossible to teach without the courage to love, … it is

It is complicated, but there are several possibilities, several openings of, and for, opportunities of hope.We can

impossible to teach without a forged, invented and wellthought-out capacity to love’ (Freire, 1998, p. 3).

turn to the commitment to a pedagogy of compassion.

Perhaps our universities need to consider what this looks

After all, it is possible to do so in the charged conditions

like as an institution.And in doing so, they may discover acts

of transition from apartheid to post-apartheid South

of compassion and love that can, as one of us has previously

Africa (Vandeyar, 2013; Vandeyar & Swart, 2016). How

suggested,‘realistically reflect the diverse, troublesome and

can academics maintain their commitment to a pedagogy

contingent contexts of academics’ desires to engage’ in

of compassion and to a teaching practice that speaks

their work as academics (Boyd et al., 2012, p. 13).They may

to the spirit of their students beyond, for example,

even discover a shared narrative, a collaborative moment, in

employability goals? How can academics maintain their

which compassion ensures that, as has also been previously

own spirits when surrounded by institutional constraints

demonstrated (Boyd et al., 2013, p. 37, emphasis added),

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‘the narrator’s story gets told, that it is acknowledged as

Higher Education Area, 2014(2), 1-20. www.ehea-journal.eu.

being an authentic telling of the narrator’s experience,

Boyd, B. (2018). The Literacy Advisor. Retrieved from https://literacyadvisor. wordpress.com/.

the collaborative process enhances this as a … mutual storytelling and restorying …’. In suggesting this possibility, we share Pirrie’s (2018, preface p. 12) vision of reinvigorating relationships in a way that ‘reconciles care about each other – about each and every one of us – and care about performance [read the daily activities of being an academic]’. Universities which can demonstrate their compassionate credentials will be successful universities (Waddington, 2018), although this will require ‘kindness in leadership and compassionate institutional cultures … their leaders … to embody compassion in their leadership practice … and be a shared approach’ (p. 87). Waddington has a vision of universities ‘characterised by openness, curiosity, kindness, authenticity, appreciation and above all compassion’. This ‘more socially-oriented concept of compassion’ advocated by Caddell & Wilder (2018, p. 14) shifts the emphasis from individual academics – their ‘personal resilience, ... work-life balance, and … soft-skills

Boyd, W. & Horstmanshof, L. (2013). Response to Petersen on ‘Staying or going?’ Australian early career researchers’ narratives. Australian Universities’ Review, 55(1), 74-79. Boyd, W.E., O’Reilly, M., Rendall, R., Rowe, S., Wilson, E., Dimmock, K., Boyd, W., Nuske, E., Edelheim, J., Bucher, D. & Fisher, K. (2012). “Friday is my research day”: chance, time and desire in the search for the teaching-research nexus in the life of a university teacher. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 9(2), 19pp. http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol9/iss2/2 Boyd, W.E., Parry, S., Burger, N., Kelly, J, Boyd, W. & Smith, J. (2013). Writing for ethical research: novice researchers, writing, and the experience of experiential narrative. Creative Education, 4(12A), 30-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ ce.2013.412A1005 Caddell, M. & Wilder, K. (2018). Seeking compassion in the measured university: Generosity, collegiality and competition in academic practice. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 14-23. Darder, A. (2002). Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love. Cambridge: Westview Press Dickson, L & Summerville, T. (2018). ‘The truth about stories’: Coming to compassionate pedagogy in a first-year program. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 24-29.

from which to explore the everyday interactions within

Etzkowitz, H., Webster, A., Gebhardt, C. & Terra, B.R.C. (2000). The future of the university and the university of the future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm. Research Policy, 29(2), 313-330.

the university and consider the practical and political steps

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury.

to manage everyday interactions’ – to ‘a fresh perspective

required to create supportive work environments’. It is too much to ask for a return to being ‘jointly

W

Freire, P. (1992). Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

responsible for a process in which all grow’? And is it too

Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the City. New York: Continuum

much to ask for what Trail & Cunningham (2018) simply call ‘The Compassionate University’?

Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers – Letter to Those Who Dare to Teach. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Postscript

Freire, P. & Faundez, A. (1989). Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation. New York: Continuum.

As this article was being finalised for publication, the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice published a Special Issue on Compassionate Pedagogy (2018, 6 (3)). Readers are encouraged to explore further

Hughes, K., Alexjuk, E.J., Paterson, J., Whittington, R. & Spielman, S. (2018). Beginning a conversation on teaching about empathy in practice. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(2), 99-103. Maginess, T. & MacKenzie, A. (2018). Achieving moralised compassion in higher education. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 42-48.

(https://jpaap.napier.ac.uk/index.php/JPAAP/issue/view/23).

Palmer, P.J. (1992). Divided no more: A movement approach to educational reform. Change Magazine, 24(2), 10-17.

Bill Boyd is Professor of Geography at Southern Cross

Petersen, E.B. (2011). Staying or going? Australian early career researchers’ narratives of academic work, exit options and coping strategies. Australian Universities’ Review, 53(2), 34-42.

University, Australia Airdre Grant is an academic in the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Southern Cross University, Australia Contact: william.boyd@scu.edu.au

References Anon. (2018a). Paulo Freire Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.azquotes.com/ author/5153-Paulo_Freire. Anon. (2018b). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Canberra: National Health & Medical Research Council, Australian Government. Boyd, B. (2014). Adapting research ethics principles and practices to enhance professional coursework education in universities. Journal of the European vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

Pirrie, A. (2018). Virtue and the Quiet Art of Scholarship: Reclaiming the University. London: Routledge. Trail, J. & Cunningham, T. (2018). The Compassionate University: How University of Virginia is changing the culture of compassion at a large, American public university. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 49-56. Vandeyar, S. (2013). Teaching a class act of human compassion. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(8), 57‒61. Vandeyar, S. & Swart, R. (2016). Educational change: a case for a ‘pedagogy of compassion’. Education as Change, 20(3), 141-159. Waddington, K. (2018). Developing compassionate academic leadership: The practice of kindness. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(3), 87-89. Unveiling opportunities for hope Bill Boyd & Airdre Grant

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REVIEWS

It’s time! Whitlam’s Children: Labor and the Greens in Australia by Shaun Crowe ISBN 9780522874051 (paperback), Melbourne University Publishing, 265 pages, 2018. Reviewed by Paul Rodan

The title of this book (an adapted PhD thesis) links the

sometimes be confronted with electoral results that may

emergence of the Greens with aspects of the political

necessitate some form of cooperation or arrangement

legacy of Labor hero Gough Whitlam. But, while the

with the Greens.

environment emerged as a key issue during the Whitlam

Unfortunately for the Greens, the November 2018

years, it did so without much initial encouragement from

Victorian election failed to live up to its promise to be

the great man himself, a point made clear in the memoirs

such an election. Speculation that the Labor Government

of Labor’s first minister for the environment, Moss Cass.

might fall into minority status proved unfounded with the

(Cass, Encel & O’Donnell, 2017). Moreover, Whitlam was

party easily securing re-election in its own right. Indeed,

an almost fanatical supporter of a strong two-party system,

the Greens had a problem-plagued campaign and probably

viewing it as a virtual sine qua non of parliamentary

polled below expectations. A glance at the electoral

democracy. It is unlikely that he endorsed the notion of

horizon would seem to reveal few if any prospects for

competition for the progressive vote.

power-sharing (barring a hung parliament in the 2019

The book commences with an outline of the Australian

federal election) beyond the current ACT arrangement.

political party system, from federation to 2007. In this

Crowe’s analysis is informed by interviews with an

history, the ALP’s emergence as the single parliamentary

impressive list of (over forty) Labor and Greens activists,

party of the left stands out—a contrast with the major

including present and former parliamentarians. On

conservative party which, for nearly a century has usually

Labor’s side, several members see little common ground

had to seek coalition in order to govern at the national

with the Greens and are at odds with the minor party’s

level (and in some of the states).

failure to worship at the altar of economic growth. They

Labor’s strong position reflected the reality of class-

also allege Greens indifference to the protection of

based politics up until at least the 1960s. Put simply, the

working-class jobs, in which context, ALP links with trade

ALP had a virtual monopoly on the progressive side of

unions are seen as vital. At worst, they see the Greens

politics (all three Labor splits were essentially to the

as comprising educated elites whose detachment from

right), unless one counted the Communist Party, and it

economic and social reality inures them to the struggles

was hardly any sort of rival in electoral politics.

of life outside the inner-suburbs. This is not an outlook

Crowe traces developments at the end of that period,

likely to encourage cooperation and these Labor people

locating the Australian experience in the context of the

would find parliamentary reliance on Greens support

emergence in comparable democracies of a tertiary-

hard to endure; some were scarred by the experience of

educated post-material cohort of voters, whose agenda

the Gillard Government.

would prove challenging for the long term-social

A second Labor element is less at odds ideologically

democratic parties whose territory was now threatened.

with the Greens, seeing common ground on social issues

This discussion usefully summarises the academic

and sharing reservations about neoliberal economics,

literature on the associated transition within the system

and with a strong commitment to the environment. This

from “mass party” to “catch-all party”.

sentiment has allegedly been identified in various inner-

With the two-party system in obvious decline, Crowe’s

suburban Labor branches where the Greens are seen as an

interest in the Labor-Greens relationship is of more than

organisational, not ideological foe, looking to some more

academic significance, as it is possible that the ALP will

like Labor with a conscience. I might add that this group

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is implicitly aware of the Greens’ superior appeal to the

and supply, leaving legislation to case-by-case negotiation.

idealism of youth, a field seemingly long abandoned by

This can make for a precarious parliamentary life, but one

pragmatic Labor. Two features are seen as helping keep

gets the impression that many in the ALP might see it as

such sympathisers within ALP ranks: a desire to participate

the lesser of two evils.While both sides praised the Gillard

in a party which can form government, and the enduring

Government for its negotiating acumen and legislative

value of that party’s historical trade union links. A cynic

record, they had to concede that both parties lost ground

might add that such links tend to give some of them their

in the 2013 election that saw Tony Abbott elected.

jobs. This group is more likely than the first to view longterm cooperation as possible.

The author is restrained in offering views of his own, mostly presenting and interpreting events and interview

As befits the book’s title, some older Greens players

material. An important point for this reviewer is that the

were attracted to Whitlam’s agenda, and then disillusioned

Australian two-party system is dead, mostly due to the

by Hawke and Keating. Contrary to stereotypes about

demise of the class system that underpinned it. Thus,

identity politics, most were primarily attracted to the

ALP members pining for a return of their monopoly of

Greens because of a strong commitment to environmental

the progressive vote are likely to be disappointed, even

protection. And, unlike Labor over the past few decades,

if the Greens vote may be reaching some sort of plateau.

there is not a neoliberal to be found in these Green ranks.

Whether a working or even tolerable relationship can

Opposition to unfettered free markets was a theme for

be developed with the Greens (when necessary) will

several interviewees, with the ALP criticised for its timidity

probably depend on which Labor version of their “foe”,

in failing to adequately regulate business.

as discussed above, emerges as the dominant perspective.

The theme of disillusionment with Labor is connected for some with their prior ALP membership. The

Perhaps neither view will prevail, and relations will limp along as now.

compromises required in seeking majority support and

In a stimulating foreword, academic and former WA

“appeasing voters and interest groups” are too great, Labor

premier Geoff Gallop asks (inter alia) how the Labor/

is too cautious and its “underlying materialism” (p. 81)

Greens relationship compares with that between the

blinds it to the problems facing society. Some cite negative

Liberals and Nationals, a question beyond the scope of

experiences when interacting with Labor governments,

the book, but certainly an interesting one. One wonders

and dissatisfaction over response to climate change is

whether those Labor activists most hostile to the Greens

a recurring theme. Some such as now ex-senator Lee

regard their differences with them as more fundamental

Rhiannon saw no prospect of grass roots power within

than those between the conservative coalition partners?

Labor, although her version of it within the NSW Greens

Is their current electoral contest that dissimilar to that

clearly caused some friction within that branch.

between the Liberals and Nationals, the difference being

In the second half of the book, the author uses the experience of the Gillard minority government to illuminate the relationship between Labor and the

that the conservatives have had many decades to carve out an agreement about who runs in which seats. Among

other

areas

meriting

further

research,

Greens, with a focus on the policy areas of climate

exploration of the characteristics and backgrounds

change, refugees and the mining tax. On balance, Greens

of Greens voters is one such potential topic. Without

respondents were more positive about the minority

wishing to endorse the ALP stereotype of the party, it has

government experience than were Labor people, but it is

always seemed odd to this observer that up to 20 per cent

clear that a major party and a minor party bring different

of Greens voters gave their preferences to Liberal rather

frames of reference to the relationship. A major party is in

than Labor in lower house seats. Why? Who are these

the business of maximising its vote across a wider section

people?

of the electorate. Characterised by Gillard (on the asylumseeker issue) as “a dual constituency issue” (p. 171), this

Paul Rodan is an adjunct professor with Swinburne University

problem simply doesn’t exist for a minor party that hovers

and a member of the AUR Editorial Board

at around ten per cent of the national lower house vote. With hindsight, several interviewees regarded the formality of the Labor-Greens agreement, complete with signing ceremony, as a mistake. Those Labor people

Reference Cass, M., Encel, V. & O’Donnell, A. (2017). Moss Cass and the Greening of the Australian Labor Party, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2017.

willing to contemplate a future arrangement would probably prefer a minimalist deal focusing on confidence vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

It’s time! Reviewed by Paul Rodan

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I create, therefore I am Creativity Crisis. Toward a post-constructivist educational future by Robert Nelson ISBN 9781925523270, Monash University Publishing, 264 pages, 2018. Reviewed by Andrys Onsman

I know Robert Nelson from my days at Monash University.

better according to a pre-determined marking rubric.This,

He wrote a perspicacious and complimentary review of

Nelson argues, assumes there is a set of skills, knowledge

my book on representative art and imagery as semiotics

and attitudes already in existence that the student must

and social signifiers in cultural othering. I also know him as

cognitively assimilate during (or prior to) a course of

an enthusiastic, engaging and learned teacher because my

study. As such it discourages students from discovering

job at the time was to get everyone who taught at Monash

skills, knowledge and attitudes that are not on the rubric.

on board with aligning their intended learning outcomes

There is a growing body of evidence that that approach

to their assessment tasks and letting their students know

precludes the development of artistic exploration and

exactly what was required of them. I’m not entirely sure

experimentation (why is it necessary to draw distinction

whether such prior knowledge should disqualify me

between scientific and artistic experimentation?). It is

from reviewing his new book, but I acknowledge that my

readily apparent that constructive alignment is a poor fit

response to it may be swayed towards the positive – at

in conservatoria of music and schools of art, contributing

least in the first instance. In any case, I’ve put my cards on

to learning outcomes that can be measured comparatively.

the table, so from here on in, it’s up to you.

As Derek Bailey put it last century, in order to become an

I also acknowledge at the onset that I do not consider

artist, you start off copying the masters and then use what

reflexion to be synonymous with reflection. The latter

you’ve learnt to develop your own voice. He adds that

refers to contemplative consideration and analysis, the

the second part of that statement often gets lost. Nelson

former refers to automatic reaction. In truth, it annoys

argues that constructive alignment assures that it does.

me that the two are used interchangeably, even though

But Nelson casts his net much further than Art. In

technically it is correct to do so. And I’m not overly

short, he argues that all learning ought to be the product

enamoured with the “summary of chapters” malarkey that

of creation rather than construction. The difference

seems to have become the norm in books these days. I

hinges on whether learning is seen as epistemological or

understand their use in finding out what each chapter

ontological. Nelson’s proposition suggests that the whole

is about so you can decide whether or not to buy it but

shebang would benefit from restructuring towards the

chapters belong in books, and buying one or two of them

latter, and thereby flies in the face of popular practice

seems disrespectful. I expect the next step will be to have

and is, at first blush, unlikely to occasion any great change

summaries in tweet form: then no one will have to read

in practice. But Nelson is also a writer of prosaic fluidity,

more than 280 characters at a time. Perhaps it’s time to

artfully supported by a wide array of references and

start a ‘slow reading’ craze; where people read reflectively

precedents, and he puts his case convincingly. And even

rather than reflexively….

if you don’t necessarily agree with his thesis, you will be

In Creativity Crisis, Nelson argues fundamentally that

richly rewarded if you allow yourself to follow its narrative

the constructive alignment of learning (CAL) can have

arc.You may even find yourself questioning if constructive

a deleterious effect on imagination and on creativity,

alignment actually does warrant its sacrosanct place in

particularly the latter’s function when learning is seen as

education.

doing in order to discover stuff. Seeing that constructive

There are 14 chapters in the book.The first and second

alignment continues to be the cornerstone of curriculum

outline what is wrong with the higher education world

planning and teaching structuring in the universe of

and how CAL became manifest in the system on the back

higher education, it is nothing if not a brave call.The typical

of a dubious premise, and the last is a summary of the

university syllabus is constructed as a guide to what the

argument for an ontological approach. Chapters 3 to 13

student needs to acquire in order to score adequately or

exemplify the argument from different perspectives and

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in various contexts, but they all make the same point:

analysis is far more detailed and interesting, but the

CAL depends on what is to be learnt being extant and

substance of the chapter is that teachers should be nice,

known and articulated as intended learning outcomes at

and niceness is more robust than kindness and patience.

the expense of the unintended and serendipitous ones.

Modelling niceness, he argues, inculcates niceness in the

Structuring a curriculum in accordance with CAL allows

students and this is a good thing but it’s a balancing act:

(or depends on) assessment rubrics and starting off

you place your marker on a continuum between doormat

learning with assessment rubrics casts creative thinking

and autocrat. And sometimes, as Nick Lowe tells us, you

into a minor role. The immediate concern about that is

have to be cruel to be kind (but in the right measure).

that CAL will favour automatons. Taken to extremes, it means that CAL will deliberately produce automatons.

The next chapter – Telling – is also teaching focused (as opposed to learning focused) and includes a lovely

In line with learning centred education, there is

vignette about a student in a lecture who in contrast to

nowadays a tendency to want to measure everything the

being passive allows his/her mind to follow the tangents

student does; either to see if what we do as teachers has

the lecturer sparks, to daydream. Nelson makes the

any effect or to take credit for whatever does, regardless

point that it doesn’t always have to be about interaction.

of whether it was due to anything the teacher did. And,

Daydreaming in this context is the student independently

because we know that learning is optimised when the

fleshing out possibilities with imaginary characteristics

student is engaged with a task, engagement needs to be

and phenomena. It’s an excellent point and I’d add that

somewhere on the scoring rubric. The problem is that we

a good lecturer can capture the consciousness of an

aren’t all sure about what engagement is. While I agree

audience and shape that collective daydreaming. Watch

with that as a statement, I found Nelson’s explication of the

Billy Connelly at work over two hours or, at the less

lexical meaning of the word (and several others) somewhat

exuberant end, Malcolm Fraser. (Yes, I know! I’m talking

overwrought. Language is far from written in stone and

about after he left politics. He could move an audience

meanings fall somewhere between Humpty Dumpty and

like nobody’s business simply by standing still and

Moses, often dependent on context. Engagement as I use

talking!) A good story-teller can plant seeds in your head

it in the pedagogical context refers to engagement with a

that will germinate and grow into realisations later. We

task or phenomenon, which allows for a degree of variation

had a few of that kind of lecturer at art school when I was

in action and involvement on the part of the learner and

there, and they remain fond memories to this day. Take

teacher. I don’t see it as akin to or, according to Nelson,

that and multiply by about a million times and you have

marginally less severe than enslavement. Nonetheless,

an orally transferred culture. Much of Australian Aboriginal

I take his point that measuring engagement by way of

knowledge was taught and learned via stories, told and

observed and tallied contributions to a discourse will yield

retold over millennia. There isn’t that much CAL in the

meaningless data, regardless of how important we might

Dreaming. Or in daydreaming.

take it to be. And asking a learner to indicate whether

In the chapter on student-centredness, Nelson tries to

or not he or she is or was engaged surely disrupts that

slip a couple of furphies past us.The first is that “learning-

engagement, which means the only correct response can

centred” teaching is much the same as “learner-centred”

be “no”, which in turn, defeats the purpose of the question.

teaching. The second is that Biggs’ 3 levels of teaching

But although we may not know how to measure it, we do

focus (on the student; on the teacher; on the learning)

want our students to be engaged with the task at hand: if

with ‘blaming the student’; ‘performing rather than

not fully then at least majorly.

teaching’; and ‘keeping students busy and engaged’. It is

My concern with the relevance of etymological

an unnecessarily shallow conceptualisation and Nelson

forensics swings to orange in the chapter titled “Being

quickly moves on to his primary contention that it all

Nice”, a self-explanatory title if ever there was one. It

depends on what we mean by ‘centre’. He posits that

is quite interesting that “nice” comes from the Latin

the university itself demands to be central. Apparently,

“nescius”, which means to be ignorant. It makes sense:

in the past ‘centre’ didn’t mean the middle of something

Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes knew nothing, and he

but any point in whatever it was you were talking about,

was a “nice” German POW guard. But of course, he didn’t

something that although quite interesting, strikes me

want to know anything. In legal jargon, nescius still means

as drawing a very long and somewhat irrelevant bow

ignorant but in the sense of unaware rather than foolish.

because nowadays centre does mean the middle, and if

We tend to see ignorant as us ignoring something, but it

something is at the centre of an activity it refers to the

can also mean us being ignored by something. Nelson’s

thing that will be most affected by that activity. Hence,

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learning centred teaching is teaching that aims to

doomed to eternal self-doubt. But I don’t see how comfort

have the most impact on learning. It’s quite hard to be

is an essential aspect of creativity. Anecdotally we know

anything-centred if the centre of anything isn’t fixed. But

that creativity can thrive in the most uncomfortable

Nelson makes a much more important point when he

conditions. Shamim’s Ahmad’s rather brilliant book,

argues that the centre of anything is always relative and

Torment and Creativity: A Psychoanalytic Study of

contextual – and quite often our pre-occupation with our

Literature and Literati is a convincing argument that

own knowledge domain makes us ignore what else exists

torment is actually a necessary characteristic.

in the student’s ken. In that regard I am sympathetic to

contrary to Nelson, I’m not entirely sure that subjectivity

his aversion to learner or student-centred teaching as an

is still on the outer in all research methodologies. In

idea or ideal. It also means that teachers may not be as

music, it’s not only “not defenceless”, it is increasingly in

important to learning as we’ve been led to believe. In any

the centre (wherever that might be) of what we do.

And

case, what Nelson wants us to do is to think deeply and

Nelson is back on much firmer ground with his invitation

independently about what the concepts we are expected

to the reader to re-examine the concept of leadership.The

to adhere to as teachers really mean.

distinction between following a “beloved leader” (ignore

In the chapter on the notion of expectation Nelson

the North Korean overtones) and following your own

proposes that learning ought to allow for time to let

ideas is neatly made. I’m not convinced by his suggestion

things settle. His assertion that expectation shared a

that no scholarship leads unless it is creative, primarily

common ancestry with waiting but that nowadays there

because most scholarship in my fields is extremely

is a distinct if underappreciated difference. One waits for

creative but doesn’t necessarily lead and secondarily

something general, but one expects something particular.

because confirmatory scholarship generally consolidates

There is certainly a suggestion of greater certainty in

the vanguard which can be just as creative, but I applaud

expecting something than in waiting for something.

his suggestion that student learning ought to be allowed,

Sometimes you wait expectantly and sometimes you wait

encouraged and supported to lead, even where it might

hopefully: airports for returning family and Lotto results.

cause some frisson with the dominant paradigm and

Even if I didn’t entirely (or at all, to be honest) buy his

established knowledge compendia.

argument that (paying) attention has waiting in it, it is an

His chapter on waste is not a declaration of war but a

interesting thought. I do conceive of attention as having

suggestion that we ought to consider what we mean by

a preparedness element, and maybe this is what Nelson

the term, especially in education. The average university

is teasing out.

teacher has spent more than 20 years in the system as a

The point that resonates the most for me is that when

student and if she had a dollar for every minute wasted

expectations are removed, students have a much wider

she’d be able to retire before she started teaching. We

array of (self-generated) learning outcomes. For some

waste time on the unnecessary, the superfluous and

students, taking away explicitly-stated expectation and

the incomprehensible. But, Nelson asks, what if we

guideposts will allow them to blossom unexpectedly but

reconceptualise that which we call waste? Waste is natural:

I am concerned that for others, having marks to hit may

nature and natural selection are very wasteful systems.

be more beneficial. At least in theory, educators want all

That idea rubs up uncomfortably with the contemporary

their students to do as well as possible. On the other hand,

idea that efficiency is the key to sustainability and

as Nelson hints, expectation on the part of the student can

survival. Despite David Suzuki’s exhortations, if we were

lead to a sense of entitlement and most teachers could

to live our lives naturally, the planet would be despoiled

write a book about that particular plague. No, your fees

in a fortnight.

don’t mean you automatically pass, they mean you get

There is an element of waste being thought of

the opportunity to study. No, I don’t care how much your

as everything and anything we don’t like, and such

father has spent on you, you have to do the work, or you

affective conceptualisations are often contextualised by

will fail. Well, that’s the theory anyway…

the zeitgeist rather than by an inherent unworthiness.

The chapter on subjectivity is surprisingly brief. And I

Waste as unintended by-product may well be worthy of

don’t really understand what “We can never be creative

re-examination, especially if, as Nelson suggests, we over-

without comfort in our subjectivity” means. I accept

ride the notion that it is useless. I’m not entirely convinced

wholeheartedly that creativity assumes or demands

by all of Nelson’s conclusions – art creates waste but so

subjectivity, or at least artistry does, and that we need

does every discipline, so therefore stop picking on it – but

a degree of confidence in what we create else we’d be

there is a great deal of worth in his suggestion that instead

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of trying to prevent waste we include it as potential

a learner has invested in the learning, she will claim

source material in learning. Surely Duchamp would agree.

ownership of it. I can see how there is a proactivity about

Flux is another interesting concept in education.

owning knowledge but I’m not sure I entirely buy Nelson’s

Nelson starts by polarising learning as basic or sublime;

argument that owning knowledge in this sense equates

prosaic and exalted; abstract and concrete. He refers to the

to being responsible for it. I have a lot of knowledge in

character Biggs uses in dichotomising the good student

which I have no investment, trivial declarative knowledge

and the bad student. I’d hoped that Nelson would blow

mostly acquired incidentally, and which I am not even

that unsubstantiated artifice out of the water, but he only

sure I would realise I’ve forgotten once I have. Owning

gives it a little nudge to move it out of the way. There is a

knowledge is not the same as acquiring it or storing it.

diversity among student cohorts these days and possibly

Disowning knowledge presents problems. All of this is

it is getting wider. If we are to be learning centred, then

stimulating stuff and well worth engaging with. But I will

the range of what and how we teach will also be getting

contest his statement that universities seldom encourage

broader. Nelson’s solution is that the teacher facilitate

students to accept or claim ownership of their ideas.

learners to flux. I confess that I hadn’t heard the word

Perhaps it is because I’ve worked mostly in areas such

used as a verb before, but it seems more appropriate than

as Fine Arts, Design and Performing Arts that exactly the

to “porpoise”, an activity that seems to be roughly akin to

opposite is true in my experience. In popular music and

fluxing. It accepts that students and artists will dip in and

jazz, we not only encourage students to own their ideas,

out of the task at hand and posits that teaching ought to

we celebrate ownership as an important indicator of

allow and encourage that.

development as a musician and person.

The idea that to flux is the opposite of to flow is

Next comes the chapter on reflection, entitled

refreshingly startling in a book about creativity. A flow state

“Reflexion” and I shall take a moment to reflex on it.

according to Csikszentmihalyi, is absorption with a task

Reflectively. Despite my surly etymological preferences,

to the exclusion of all other conscious and subconscious

this is another highly stimulating chapter.We blithely bang

tasks. A state of flux is a more fragmented engagement with

on about reflection and command our students to reflect

a task. It’s an interesting conceptualisation.The suggestion

and/or be reflective but, like Nelson, I suspect we aren’t

that thinking surges in currents is fine in general but the

entirely what it is or how it works. We have a version of it

“currents flowing in water” analogy used to explain how

that we generally expect students to pick up on and, as is

flow and flux can work in mutually beneficial ways ends

the case with much learning, most often they do. But the

up somewhat overwrought. And declarative statements

“ready, steady, reflect” instruction does seem impossible

such as “Cognition is rhapsodic” made with no supporting

to obey without assuming that there is an accessible

evidence, tend to grate after a while. Nelson suggests that

framework or dot-point list of steps to follow. There is a

“this economy of rolling transfers” that allows for “richly

lovely scene in the Big Bang Theory, when Amy sits quietly

communicative and creative teaching” suffers at the hands

on the couch in Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment, with a

of constructive alignment and “the culture of compliance”

thick neuropsychology book closed on her lap.“What are

it engenders. It is an idea worth considering.

you doing?” asks Leonard, somewhat unnerved by Amy’s

Nelson’s claim that “Psychology is possibly not the

lack of movement. “I thought you were reading.” “I was

ideal discipline in which to investigate imagination” made

reading,” replies Amy. “Now I’m thinking about what I’ve

me snort coffee through my nose because everyone

read.” And the (live) audience laughs. We might ask why

knows that psychology is the only discipline in which to

because it is in fact a depiction of the stereotypical view

investigate imagination, although I will allow a couple of

of what reflection is. But, as Nelson points out, reflection

others like physiology, quantum mechanics and aesthetics

isn’t as constrained or regimented as that because

to play a supporting role. That’s what happens when

thinking isn’t as ordered as that. The irony of the BBT

you equate psychology with behaviourism. Die, John B.

scene isn’t that the audience laughs (it is pre-programmed

Watson, die!

to laugh at anything that is set up to be funny), it is in Amy

The notion of ownership in pedagogy is a broad,

having shown in past episodes that she is far from a linear

fragmented and conflicting church these days. Basically,

thinker. She is a neuropsychologist studying addiction

we nowadays accept the notion that a person owns (and

and addictive behaviour. I know she’s a character in a sit-

should acknowledge owning) knowledge. Within that,

com but they get their science right on that show. And

there is a sense of taking responsibility for that ownership

as an aside, the actress who plays the part actually is a

and what is done with it. We generally assume that when

neuropsychologist.

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of

discovery in learning is the editorial aspect of creativity:

reflection as a concept through history, arguing that how

it’s what allows leaners to bypass re-invention and to

it is understood is reflected in the words that describe it.

recognise worth in what has been created. But Nelson

Rather than suggesting exhaustive forensics, the archival

goes further, arguing that CAL can stymie creativity. I

investigation primarily outlines an argument. To reflect,

counter with the proposition that CAL has been at the

he asserts, is “to energise intuitions across complicated

heart of some of the most creative outcomes ever and

matrices of information, opinion and experience, where

his saying that “a paper on creativity is unlikely to give a

one matches the several stimuli in lively connexions” (p.

physicist an unforeseen boost in ideas” (p. 4) strikes me as

237). (I would like to see stimuli ‘connex’!) See, that’s

ill-considered, especially when you cite someone like the

what Amy was doing: energising intuitions, if by intuitions

aforementioned David Paganin, a physicist who geysers

Nelson means ideas, tentative, ossified, propositional,

with ideas after reading papers on creativity. But ours are

possible, et cetera).When we reflect on something, we see

not necessarily oppositional points of view but simply

how it fits in what else we know, think and believe. And

varying aspects of a broader discourse on what creativity

then in some way it affects our schema. It can make us

is. It’s a fecund field and a quick glance at the Oxford

change our minds or confirm what we know or believe. It

English Dictionary will outline the contested notions

is therefore, as Nelson says, an important part of learning.

buried therein and it’s good that people like Nelson push

There is a cornucopia of stimulating ideas in Creativity

that discourse a little further. Of course, the obverse of

Crisis. One of the most important is that creativity rubs

that coin is the question of whether agreement should

against the competitiveness of education legitimised by

it be achieved, would run counter to what the discourse

assessment. Nelson doesn’t hold a great deal of hope that

is about.

things will change anytime soon in that regard. The other

Even if you don’t agree that there is a creativity crisis in

is that pre-selecting what is to be learnt as objectives is

pedagogy, I think Creativity Crisis is an important book

stifling creativity. Nelson cites a paper I wrote in 2006

because it raises important questions about what pedagogy

with David Paganin (another Monash alumnus, one who

is; what it is becoming and what the consequences of that

proof-read Nelson’s manuscript) in which we state

might be. The writing is on the wall, somewhere amongst

… that an essential point of postgraduate research supervision is to enable students to be creative in their pursuit of coming to know things that are as yet not known. The supervisor’s role is not only to teach extant knowledge, skills and values but also to encourage students to discover their own.

Banksie’s art and the sea of mindless, artless and arrogant tags that serve as reminders that while everyone has a voice, not everyone has something to say. This book has a lot to say, says it well and isn’t afraid to question the dominant paradigms of education. It deserves a wide readership and I recommend it to all educators.

It is a proposition that I am more convinced is true now. So, while I may not agree that creativity is at a crisis

Andrys Onsman is a higher education consultant and adjunct

stage in our tertiary sector, I do believe that an exclusive

associate professor at the Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music

focus on cognitive recall is likely to curtail it. Coupled to

at Monash University, Australia

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Us and them Business and Society: A Critical Introduction by Kean Birch, John Justin McMurtry, Darryl Reed, Caroline Hossein, Mark Peacock, Alberto Salazar, Sonya Scott, & Richard Wellen ISBN 978-1-78360-448-7 (pbk.), London, Zed Books, ix+301 pages, 2017. Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer and Reshman Tabassum

Perhaps there has never been a better introductory

words, the more one examines the free market, the more

textbook to the subject of business than Business and

elusive it becomes.To examine all this critically, the book’s

Society by Kean Birch and his colleagues (hereafter

chapter highlight four key issues (p. 7-8):

described as ‘Birch’s’). In the 18 well-structured,

production and systems of values; politics, ethics and social values; institutions and organisation; and constitutive discourses.

comprehensive and concise chapters, Birch’s book describes the history of capitalism and how businesses, companies, and eventually corporations came into being. The book is not a “here it is, how it was” book. Rather,

At least historically, most of these political, ethical

it critically reflects on capitalism’s history. The book

and social values seem to have played little or no role,

introduces the reader to key concepts of economics

for example, in the introduction of vagrancy laws. These

and what the authors more accurately call “political

were laws directed against ‘a person without dwelling

economy”. Neither can be separated, as there has never

or job…[they were disciplined by] whipping, branding,

been an economy without politics. In turn, there has

mutilating and hanging’ (p. 16).They were persecuted and

never been politics without economics. Much of this

prosecuted for so-called ‘crimes’ that rather than being

started in the days of Plato’s “polis” around 350 BC. Politics

crimes, indicate class injustices. Escaping the brutality

can only be separated from economics in econometric

metered out by the ruling elite, workers were driven

and adjacent – often neoliberal – ideas. In any case, the

into early factories where similar punishments, such as

book begins by saying that ‘the market has become the

for being late, were administered. This was administered

de facto institution for managing our society’ (p. 2) even

through visible punishment (Foucault, 1995) and through

though the deceptive market is often governed by a

the invisible forces of capitalism. Capitalism always

handful of monopolies. While the corporate media keeps

includes so-called ‘economic necessity’ creating ‘workers’

up the romantic illusion of a feudal village market, this has

(p. 18) that are forced into employment. This remains

next to nothing in common with realities like the 21st

even more so after cuts to what was once called the

century’s software and internet market dominated by

welfare state. In the present day, shiny management and

what French social theory calls: ‘GAFMA’ (Google, Apple,

human resources textbooks, ‘capitalism’s dirty history’

Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon).

(p. 26) is eliminated just as the ‘dark Satanic mills’ (p. 26)

Still, the common hallucination of a free market lingers

have vanished into the air. They are eliminated just as

on just like the fantasy of ‘homo economicus’ (p. 3) – the

the original crimes of capitalism and the not so original

rational individual constantly calculating costs versus

crimes as last year’s Libyan slave market, through which

benefits. Furnished with these fictions, free markets have

men have been sold for $400 (CNN, 2017). Together

for long been highly concentrated.This defines commodity

with global poverty and environmental vandalism, these

markets and increasingly labour markets as well where

are the dark sides of what is sold to us as globalisation.

‘between 35 and 50 per cent of private employment in the

This is a system that once started as imperialism with the

USA, UK, and Canada is in large enterprises’ (p. 5). Unseen

‘East India Company’ (p. 29) remains as a prime example.

by many but still in existence, ‘a significant proportion

This also included a global slave trade with about ‘35,000

of economic activities takes place within business

slave voyages’ (p. 34). Australia is not even shown on his

organisations and not within the market’ (p. 6). In other

slavery map (p. 35), but Australian slave masters, through

vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

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blackbirding, forced countless people into Australian

Forum’ (p. 119). In reality, it is the congregation of the

slavery (Higginbotham, 2017). Has this been eliminated

rich and powerful of (mostly) men. The millions living a

from school history books, as part of an ideological effort

refugee camps are not even mentioned while sipping on

to sell neoliberalism and globalisation?

a glass of Dom Perignon for $250 at Davos. Rolling Stone

What also remains important for business and society

magazine calls Goldman-Sachs ‘a great vampire squid

is the historical development of corporate capitalism

wrapped around the face of humanity’ (p. 83). It may be

and the corporations that has led to the list of ‘world’s

a vampire squid, but it also wields tremendous ‘corporate

top 100 economies that consist of 31 countries and 69

power’ (p. 87) together with the global ‘monopolies and

corporations’ (http://blogs.worldbank.org). What defines

oligopolies’ (p. 89) that ‘dominate many societies’ (p. 95).

these corporations is profit and the separation between

These corporations do so rather independently of the

‘ownership and control’ (p. 46) as well as the legal fiction

‘varieties of capitalism’ (p. 101) and of the present system

that underwrites corporations. This is not just in terms of

of anti-democratic ‘global governance’ (p. 116).

‘limited liability’ (p. 49) but also in regard to their existence

Rather than democratic global governance, global

and internal governance. Many pro-business writers

capitalism and corporations have established a ‘global

employed by corporate media and in business schools have

hegemony’ (p. 125) that functions – despite Donald

justified this. For many business school professors, Upton

Trump – with ‘the USA as the global hegemon’ (p. 126).

Sinclair’s insight still applies. It is hard to understand the

This, of course, is intimately and inextricably linked to

truth about capitalism when your wage depends on not

‘global environmental change’ (p. 132) and the impending

understanding the true state of affairs in capitalism. They

‘Anthropocene’ (p. 133). The Anthropocene may be more

are employed to work long and hard to make us believe

of a ‘Capitalocene’ (Moore, 2017) as many have shown

in stakeholder theory, corporate social responsibility,

(https://exxonsecrets.org). Meanwhile, the myth of

business ethics, and corporate citizenship. Meanwhile, ‘the

markets as ‘self-correcting’ (p. 149) entities is broadcast.

shareholder primacy’ (p. 57) model dominates even though

Marx called the exposure to markets a ‘play of chance and

it is a well-known fact that it ‘facilitates opportunistic

caprice’ (p. 152). Among those broadcasting market myths

behaviour (i.e. mismanagement) by executives and

is Hayek, the Hungarian aristocrat and ardent admirer of

managers’ (p. 59) – often camouflaged by the various

Chile’s brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet. Hayek not only

ideologies of Managerialism (Klikauer, 2013).

supported Pinochet but also ‘described [himself] as the

It is not unusual for chief executive officers (CEOs)

guru of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’

to rake in big money with next to no relevance to their

(p. 156). The word “guru” is a rather truthful description

actual performance. Meanwhile, those lower down the

given to something attributed to an eminent management

corporate hierarchy are made to suffer according to

writer: ‘Drucker liked to say that people used the word

‘performance management’. This is the outcome of what

guru because the word charlatan was so hard to spell’

Fayol (1916) has called the ‘chain of command’. It hits

(The Economist, 2009).

workers rather than CEOs (Klikauer, 2017a). For example,

To the great benefit of Birch’s Business and Society,

‘Oracle’s Larry Ellion, [who] was the highest-paid CEO

the book does not deliver the typical one-sided picture

in the USA in 2012; received $96.2 million a year, a 24%

of so many other business books – usually sold as

increase, despite his company’s share price falling 23%’ (p.

“mainstream” – but includes a fruitful discussion on

60). His income was roughly $11,000 per hour. Meanwhile,

the ‘political economy and critiques of capitalism:

the median annual US income in 2012 was $52,371. Ellion

heterodox perspectives’ (p. 179), thus virtually ending

makes this in less than five hours! With ratios like these,

the hallucination of ‘isolated individuals [trapped in]

no wonder the worker-wage to CEO payment grab has

competition’ (p. 181) as the eternal faith of humanity. One

risen to a staggering ‘1:354’ (p. 66) stage. To make it clear,

of the book’s most insightful strengths is the outlining

this means, for example, when the average American

of the alternatives to capitalism even though we have

worker buys one pizza, their CEO could buy 354 pizzas.

been made to believe that “it is easier to imagine the

This is called ‘corporate responsibility’ (p. 71). Even more

end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism”

of an hallucination is the idea that ‘Philanthrocapitalism…

(Jameson, 2003, p. 76). Four alternatives to capitalism

Can Save the World’ (p. 79). Indeed, one can see how

can be identified (p. 189):

‘Goldman-Sachs’(p.83) is wining and dining in Davos while

Social rather than private ownership;

its Philanthro-capitalism Saves the World. Their Davos

• Worker and consumer councils corporate workplace organisations;

gatherings are euphemistically labelled ‘World Economic

84

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rather

than

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• Remuneration for effort and scarifies rather than for property, power or output; • Participatory planning rather than markets or central planning; and • Participatory self-management rather than class rule.

• The eroding of capitalism through setting up alternative structures and organisations to capitalism (e.g. cooperatives). The book favours the last option when discussing, for example, the Association pour la Taxation des Transactions

Unlike these alternatives, current government focuses

financières et pour l’Action Citoyenne (Association for

on ‘business, regulation and policy’ (p. 195) where,

the Taxation of financial Transactions and Citizens’Action)

under the camouflage of deregulation, pro-business

or ‘ATTAC’ - https://www.attac.org (p. 248), ‘fair trade

re-regulation is taking place under the ideological

organisations’ (p. 250) and LETS ‘local exchange trading

guidance of neoliberalism. An almost classic example

systems’ (p. 251). Almost inevitably these alternatives to

has been ‘food labelling’ (p. 203) and the prevention of

capitalism can lead to a ‘social economy’ (p. 258) in which

what has been known as “the traffic-light system” (green

‘business practices (e.g. entrepreneurship) and business

is good to eat, yellow is okay to eat, and red: do not eat too

logic (e.g. profits) [no longer] colonise (civil) society and

often). After corporate lobbying and €1bn expenditure

government’ (p. 258). This establishes a ‘social economy

on public relations (PR), the traffic light food labelling was

– always embedded in society’ (p. 259), rather than the

banned in Europe (Phillips 2003). Corporate lobbying, the

current state of affairs where society is embedded in the

ideologies of corporate social responsibility and business

economy as supplier of labour and buyer of products, thus

ethics as well as a solid and well-financed PR campaign

featuring as an appendix to corporations. In corporate

paid off handsomely. This and many other things are

capitalism, people have two functions. Firstly, they supply

cloaked in what is euphemistically called ‘business ethics’

labour and secondly, they are customers. Capitalism needs

(p. 211). Business ethics has mutated into being more than

us to work and to buy things.These ‘things’ are often things

just a cloaking devise. It has metamorphosed into a fully

we do not really need and we buy them with money we

functional ideology (Klikauer, 2017b). Not surprisingly,

do not have to impress people we do not like. The book

the author of the chapter on business ethics reaches

ends with a conclusion called ‘rethinking ownership –

the conclusion that ‘business does not lead to significant

the market versus the commons’ (p. 274), arguing that

changes’ (p. 215) – change has never been the task of

we need to move beyond markets and property while

business ethics. The task of business ethics is PR (Stauber

avoiding “The Tragedy of the Commons” (Harding 1968).

& Rampton, 1995; MEF, 2003).

In summary, Birch’s book on business and society is

Indeed, the idea of business ethics is ‘to gain the trust of

unparalleled by any other in the field.

consumers’ (p. 218) and to get people to trust capitalism and its corporations. This occurs even though many

Thomas Klikauer is a teacher in the Sydney Graduate School

people of our globe are all but excluded, as the chapter

of Management, Western Sydney University, Australia

on ‘business and social exclusion’ (p. 225) illustrates. A

Contact: t.klikauer@westernsydney.edu.au

particularly useful idea to incorporate those excluded into capitalism came from Mohammed Yanus/ Grameen

Reshman Tabassum is a PhD student in the Department of

Bank. Rather than incorporating people into the profit-

Management, Deakin University, Australia.

generating system of capitalism and making them

Contact: rtabassum@deakin.edu.au

internalise the rules of corporate behaviour (Mander, 2001; Benson & Kirsch 2010), there is also ‘resistance and [there are also] alternatives to corporate capitalism’ (p. 241). These alternatives to capitalism take, according to Erik Olin Wright (p. 242), four forms: • The taming of capitalism, which is essentially the socialdemocratic “please be nice” solution to capitalism’s pathologies; • The smashing capitalism, i.e. the revolutionary uprising of the working class against capitalism that appears to

Benson, P. & Kirsch, S. (2010). Capitalism and the Politics of Resignation. Current Anthropology, 51(4), 459-486. CNN. (2017). Libya’s slave markets. Retrieved fromhttps://edition.cnn.com/ videos/world/2017/11/29/libya-slave-trade-cnntalk-lon-orig-mkd.cnn Fayol, H. (1916). Administration industrielle et générale (Industrial and General Management). London: Sir I. Pitman & Sons, ltd. Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books. Harding, G. (1968). The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, 162, 1243–1248.

be nowhere in sight; • The escaping from capitalism that often means joining a hippie commune as far as they still exist; and finally, vol. 61, no. 1, 2019

References

Higginbotham, W. (2017). Blackbirding: Australia’s history of luring, tricking and kidnapping Pacific Islanders. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/

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news/2017-09-17/blackbirding-australias-history-of-kidnapping-pacificislanders/8860754

Mander, J. (eds.) The Case Against the Global Economy – and for a turn towards localisation. London: Earthscan Press.

Jameson, F. (2003). Future City. New Left Review, 21(May-June), 65-79.

Moore, J. W. (2017). The Capitalocene, Part I: On the nature and origins of our ecological crisis. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 44(3), 594-630.

Klikauer, T. (2013). Managerialism – Critique of an Ideology. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Klikauer, T. (2017a). Eight fatal flaws of performance management. Management Learning, 48(4), 492-497. Klikauer, T. (2017b). Business Ethics as Ideology?. Critique, 45(1-2):81-100. MEF. (2003). Toxic Sludge is Good for you - The Public Relations Industry Unspun. 45 minutes, DVD, Northampton: Media Education Foundation. Mander, J. (2001). The Rules of Corporate Behaviour. in: Goldsmith, E. &

Phillips, L. (2003). MEPs reject ‘traffic light’ food labels after €1bn lobby effort. Retrieved from https://euobserver.com/economic/30301 Stauber, J. C. & Rampton, S. (1995). Toxic sludge is good for you: lies, damn lies, and the public relations industry. Monroe: Common Courage Press. The Economist. (2009). Remembering Drucker. Retrieved from http://www. economist.com/node/14903040 Wright, E.O. (2016). How to be an anti-capitalist for the 21st century. The Journal of Australian Political Economy, 77, 5-23.

Managing Bullshit Business Bullshit by Andre Spicer ISBN 9781138911673 (pbk.), London: Routledge, xii+200 (index), 2018. Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer & Reshman Tabassum

To a large degree, Andre Spicer’s recent book on ‘business

functioning of a business and ultimately capitalism, i.e.

bullshit’ is about ‘the meaningless language [conjured up]

the making profit. If business bullshit and the “banality of

in schools, in banks, in consultancy firms, in politics, and in

its evil language” are removed, corporations will improve

the media’ (p. xii). Spicer is correct in mentioning business,

their ‘real bottom line’ (Magretta, 2012).

but what he does not do is mention the following: it is this

For Spicer, the historical origins of business bullshit

language that drives thousands of business schools. It is

and its pathological language came with Kroning and

this language that is handed down to MBAs. It releases

AT&T’s management ‘guru’, who was hired to change

MBAs happy to spread Spicer’s managerial buzz-word

the AT&T corporation. According to Colvin’s Fortune

language of business bullshit.

Magazine obituary of Peter Drucker, Drucker once said a

The key idea of Spicer’s book is that ‘business

management guru is someone named so by people who

bullshit’ can take over organisations, crowding out their

can’t spell ‘charlatan’ (Colvin, 2005). Micklethwait and

core purpose and muddy the waters of language’ (p.

Wooldridge (1996) have entitled management gurus ‘witch

xii). In other words, when pro-business management

doctors’. In the case of AT&T’s business bullshit, it was the

academics, management writers, CEOs, and other upper-

‘Russian mystic… George Gurdjieff’ (p. 2) and his ideas

level managers invent bullshit language, they fabricate

that introduced an entire new set of bullshit language to

something that gets in the way of businesses.It is‘crowding

management.Those familiar with managerialism (Klikauer,

out their core purpose’ as Spicer wants us to imagine.

2013a; 2013b; Clegg, 2014) have long known that such

This core business remains profit making or as bullshit

language has ‘led to a lot more meetings [as] everything

talk calls it, creating shareholder value. This is the jargon

[takes] twice as long’ (p. 3). Spicer seems to have passed

of business bullshit. Andre Spicer’s book is not against

over the 25 years of writings on managerialism, an

business; rather it is the very opposite. In it, he argues

intellectual and scholarly accomplishment that began with

that removal of bullshit language can make businesses

Enteman’s seminal work Managerialism: The Emergence

return to their core purpose, namely making money

of a New Ideology (1993).

– for some a lot and for others not so much. The book

It might certainly be true that ‘Kroning may have been

supports corporations, businesses, and capitalism’s profit

killed off [while] Kronese has lived on’ (p. 4). Management

maxim (Benson & Kirsch, 2010). In great detail, the book

charlatans like Gurdjieff, even when changing just one

shows how the business of bullshit disrupts the proper

company (AT&T), may not have the global impact that is

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claimed in the book. The rather limited impact in AT&T

‘bullshit jobs’ (p. 14) is retold: ‘These are jobs in which

cannot explain the global spread of managerialism’s

people experience their work as utterly meaningless,

language or bullshit language. There are much more

contributing nothing to the world and they think should

powerful forces behind all this than Spicer leads one to

not exist’. A self-reflective or even critical thought that

believe. Often, this is not down to the use of language,

business schools’ academics might also occupy such

but to powerful ideologies. These are used to legitimise

jobs is not even discussed. Issues like these are neither

and stabilise business organisation and capitalism.

reflected upon nor is there a critique. Not just in business

Ideologies are not concerned with the truth. Instead, they

schools, but also in private industries, managerialism

are designed to eliminate contradictions and stabilise

has serious impacts, especially when deans of business

domination.

schools, and university presidents – not yet called CEOs –

Like managerialism, ‘the bullshitter has a lack of

thrive on business bullshit.

connection or concern for the truth’ (p. 6). Questions such

Spicer notes ‘all this image enhancement had one

as ‘why?’, and what has created the global phenomenon of

economic impact:the CEO’s pay went up’(p.16).For Spicer,

business bullshit?, are never asked and never discussed.

large CEO pay-outs and golden parachutes may not be

Needless to say, it is true that ‘bullshitters are not

more than just an ‘economic impact’. Even the otherwise

concerned that their grand pronouncements might be

extremely business friendly Fortune Magazine had to

illogical, unintelligible and downright baffling. All they

admit recently that the pay gap between average workers

care about is whether people will listen to them’ (p. 7).

and CEOs stands at a whopping 271 (2017). Others put

Spicer is certainly correct when noting that ‘jargon

the number even higher than that. Nonetheless, Fortune

can become a linguistic barbed wire fence, which stops

Magazine announced “Top CEOs Make More in Two Days

unfortunate amateurs from trespassing on territory

Than An Average Employee Does in One Year (Donnelly,

already claimed by experts’ (p. 11). The same applies to

2017). Spicer’s Business Bullshit carefully dodges such

the language of business bullshit. ‘That is bullshit’ indeed

comparisons – and the consequences thereof. Those on

puts up a ‘barbed wire fence’. It blocks conversations,

the receiving end of business bullshit simply vanish.

but it might also clog the thinking process. Spicer’s book

Having rather skilfully eluded a deeper analysis or

might just be a vivid example of blocked thought, and

placing his business bullshit inside a meaningful if not

perhaps even more so critical thought. The book remains

explanatory or perhaps analytical framework, Spicer

on the surface. Spicer never connects his substantial

re-tells Nokia’s ‘Hello There’ story of 2014. In his ‘No

volume of anecdotes, management tales, organisational

Logic’, we learn about ‘organisational life’ (pp. 30 & 57).

stories, business travels, and his conference attendances

‘Organisation life’ is not seen for what it is: a business

to any form of critical or analytical framework. The book

bullshit term. Instead, Spicer takes it on in the blissful

remains largely a collection of stories, travel experience

unawareness that most of human life takes place outside

and conference anecdotes. Since these make up the core

of organisations. Meanwhile, many for-profit organisations

of the book, they will be discussed below.

and workplaces are deprived of life – places of ‘The Living

Consequently, Spicer writes ‘many managerial practices

Dead’ where people have ‘Switched Off’ and ‘Zoned Out’,

are not adopted because they work, but because they

as Bolchover (2005) calls it. Ideologically, one is tempted to

are fashionable’ (p. 11). This is a great line with limited

suspect that terms such as ‘organisational life’ camouflage

analytical qualities. Meanwhile, many critical questions are

the fact there is not much life in business organisations.

never asked, and we are told that ‘the bullshit merchant

Beyond that, doesn’t ‘organisation’ sound so much

can find a lucrative trade in any large organisation’

nicer and neutral than corporation – a term carrying

(p. 13). The fact that managerialism thrives on this

connotations to capitalism’s pathological realities, for

and management consultants rake in large fees as the

example, rampant profits, the ruthless destruction of

work force is ‘downsized’ (to use another managerial

human life on earth, etc. Perhaps dilbert.com’s outright

buzzword), is never criticised. On the similar paradigm,

cynicism is the best one can hope for on Spicer’s

business schools which happen to be some of the key

‘organisational life’. However, on a more serious note,

drivers behind business bullshit, are never thoroughly

Spicer’s organisational life could boil down to what

analysed and placed in context in a book that is mainly

had been depicted in the BBC’s The Office (Gervais &

storytelling.

Merchant, 2001); The Living Dead – Switched off Zoned

Nonetheless, the book has its interesting moments, for

Out, The Shocking Truth about Office Life (Bolchover,

example, when David Graeber’s well known concept of

2005); Organisational Pathology: Life and Death of

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Organisations (Samuel 2010); Office politics (Godwin

managerialism-speak merchants’ (p. 39) are coerced into

2013); and by far the most noteworthy classical study on

what ultimately results in ‘silence is the best policy’ (p.

the Moral Mazes – The World of Corporate Managers

39). Meanwhile, workers under managerialism are forced

(Jackall 1988). None of these illustrations cross Spicer’s

to adhere to an old feudal policy (p. 39):

thoughts, as the book quickly skips from one issue to another. Having

discussed

the

theme

of

mergers

‘when the great lord passes by, the wise peasant bows deeply and farts silently.’

and

acquisitions, Spicer moves to the example of universities.

Today, it is: when the great CEO passes by, the wise

In this, discussing universities, the review follows Spicer’s

worker bows deeply and farts silently. All too often those

book. In one such example, Spicer notes that ‘in Helsinki,

at the receiving end of all this, i.e. workers are not just

the costly merger of three educational institutions (a

forgotten but deliberately eliminated from the public. In

business school, a technical school, and a design school)

many standard management (text) books used in business

was driven by the analogy of the ‘Nordic MIT’ (p. :35).

schools, in crypto-academic articles on management and

Finland’s top educational managers might have been

business, and perhaps even in books on business bullshit,

‘Victims of Groupthinking’ (Janis, 1985). They might have

workers are neglected disappear into thin air. Spicer’s

also been preys of managerialism – believing their own

Business Bullshit is no exception.

ideology. But when one deliberately cuts off any deeper

Workers are disregarded, discarded, and ideologically

analysis by simply labelling all this business bullshit, one

reframed. Just as standard management textbooks have

might also be exposed to the danger of being accused

replaced corporation with Orwellian Newspeak terms

of protecting business, corporations, management, and

like organisation, and profits (Oldspeak) have been

ultimately shielding capitalism.

replaced with shareholder value (Newspeak). Whenever

Protecting

corporations,

business

schools

and

anti-democratic

authoritarian

management

regimes

capitalism can be done by exposing a few so-called ‘bad

need to vanish into rhetoric’s thin air, managerialism’s

apples’ like Spicer’s “Helsinki” case. Such an approach

henchmen prefer the word “bureaucracy”. Exchanging

can imply, in turn, that apart from a few bad apples, the

management with bureaucracy whenever convenient

overall box of apples is good, i.e. businesses, business

might make Cicero’s disciples happy while protecting

schools and capitalism. A proper discussion would have

management, but it rarely enlightens one about the

to reach deeper. Collecting and telling funny stories and

state of affairs. Aligned to this, Spicer notes ‘despite the

anecdotes is not enough when seeking to understand the

widespread stories about the decline of bureaucracy

relationship between language and business, corporations,

sclerosis, we have actually experienced an explosion of

and capitalism (Klikauer, 2007 & 2008). For Spicer, many

bureaucracy’ (p. 47) – no! We have seen an explosion of

of his stories and anecdotes may be found in the ‘Nordic

management mutating into managerialism.

MIT’ and the similar managerial hallucinations that occur

Originating from the Frenchman Jean Claude Marie

elsewhere. They do occur because of a prevalence of

Vincent de Gournay (1712-1759), bureau or office means

marketing and PR (public relations, propaganda, and spin).

a system of government in which most of the important

These have reached deep inside research and teaching

decisions are taken by state officials, rather than by

oriented institutions that once deserved the name

elected representatives. Bureaucracy does not mean

university.

an overblown managerial apparatus, operating today’s micro-level

corporations for profit-maximisation. Rather, bureaucracy

managerialism took hold, universities became marketing/

As

refers to public administration for the public, the state,

PR institutions, creating what Cronin (2016) calls a

and society good. What bureaucracy also does not imply

‘PR university’. One might call such Nordic-MIT-like

is a self-serving management elite, narrowly focused on

hallucinations business bullshit. But this prevents us

ROI (return of investment) and the real bottom line.

from understanding mechanisms behind such managerial

Transferring bureaucracy into the world of business

absurdities. What is happening is the conversion of

and management makes the ‘C-words’ of corporations

universities based on research and teaching into PR

and companies vanish. What also disappears is the ugly

driven marketing institutions driven. The managerial PR

but also very historical truth about corporations and

university focuses on Fleck’s ‘Impact Factor Fetishism’

companies. The etymological origins of company go back

(Fleck 2013). While ‘MBAs learning and making use of

to ‘con’ and ‘pane’. These were bread- (pane) sharing

business jargon’ (p. 38), those on the receiving end of ‘the

mercenaries (con) and hired killers (Klikauer 2014, p.

88

macro-level

neoliberalism

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106). Under what Spicer calls business bullshit language of

corporate lawyers’, but thankfully neither managers nor

organisations and bureaucracy, the harshness of the profit

business school professors are mentioned. Still, some

maxim disappears. Beyond that, business organisation and

might tend to think that their jobs are indeed part of the

its ideological henchmen have heavily borrowed from

list of bullshit jobs. Perhaps American writer and Pulitzer

democratic state institutions, supported by bureaucracies.

Prize winner, Upton Sinclair (1994, p. 109), hits the nail on

Much of this is designed to create the appearance that

the head when noting

lower level administrators are the problem – not those who govern them, i.e. top management and CEOs. Very often, the opposite is the case.

‘it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!’

When seeking to stabilise managerialism, as is often

Secondly, none of these are ‘the central task of…

done by business schools, their next task is to infuse new

workers’. Creating business bullshit and its language has

MBAs with the latest managerial buzzwords and ‘weasel

never been the job of workers. It remains utterly the job

worlds’ (Watson, 2004). Set apart from corporate reality, it

of upper-level managers. Office workers are managerially

is not at all surprising to uncover that ‘many management

controlled, supervised, monitored, ‘watched’ (Barker

ideas are cooked up far away from the day-to-day realities

1993), assessed and measured by KPIs, the infamous key

of a workplace’ (p. 56). Many management ideas are not

performance indicators (Klikauer, 2017a). Behind the

designed to have much to do with ‘the day-to-day realities’

deceptive wording ‘central task of…workers’ (p.68) lurks

of management. Far from workplace reality, business

an unstated truth. It is not workers, but managers who are

bullshit buzz words have a rather different task. They are

responsible for ‘complex of rules and regulations’ (p. 68).

not invented to be reflective of management and work.

What Spicer calls ‘rules and regulations’ are invented

Instead, they are designed to support what ideology sets

and rather un-democratically made up by managers.

out to achieve, namely three things:

There is next to no input by workers when such

• To camouflage contradictions (e.g. the fact that workers

rules and regulations are created. Still, they might be

and management have different interests on wages,

formulated using Spicer language of business bullshit,

working time and general working conditions);

but they also determine the existence of what is

• To cement domination (e.g. managerial domination over workers); and finally,

euphemistically called subordinates or underlings. It is managers who create these ‘rules and regulations’. In

• To prevent emancipation (e.g. by obscuring the true

Spicer’s book, workers simply disappear. Eliminating the

affairs of work through, for example, putting up a

worker-management relationship also means that our

smokescreen called business bullshit).

attention is directed away from those who regulated the

A notable example that seeks to achieve the task set out

working lives of millions. Perhaps for ideological reasons

by ideology, is ‘bosses continue to demand loyalty from

– sustaining capitalism protecting management, etc. –

their subordinates [while] those at the top get the lion’s

managers become detached from ‘rules and regulations’.

share of rewards’ (p. 57). Like in any Mafia court case, the

Still, these govern us – those who need to work. And

most obvious, that what can no longer be denied, is freely

indeed, corporations, companies, business and even

admitted. Behind the admission, no further explanation,

business schools love deregulation as it takes the state

conceptualisation, theory or perhaps just an analysis is

out of the equation. Taking out the regulative capacity

provided. Standing alone, statements like these might lead

of the state means opening up an unregulated space.

to the inference ‘well, bosses rake it in big time, what else

This allows managers to re-regulate such spaces. As a

is new?’. It is carefully crafted passivism, determinism,

consequence, we find incidents of macho-management.

and ultimately defeatism and not much more. A similar

Just as the old saying goes: Power tends to corrupt;

smokescreen is put up with this:

absolute power corrupts absolutely. As a consequence,

‘global bureaucracy has created a huge number of bullshit jobs, such as PR agents and corporate lawyers…the central task of bullshit workers is to create a vast and apparently unbroken complex of rules and regulations, which increasingly infiltrate all of our lives’ (p. 68).

inside every corporation, business and business schools there are rafts of corporate policies, mission statements, ‘rules and regulations’. Spicer’s book still holds some truths. For example, there is the top-down engineering of corporate bullshit policies, KPIs, mission statements and so on.This has often negative

Statements like these disguise several things: firstly,

consequences for workers. More and more workers

Spicer’s list of bullshit jobs includes ‘PR agents and

‘spend…time answering emails, sitting in meetings and

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updating your LinkedIn profile [they are] also required to

However, management likes to condense workers’

spend time trying to optimise the way [workers] process

contributions and working lives to a sheet of paper called

this bullshit’ (p. 73).This acts as a double-edged sword for

‘balanced scorecard’ (Kaplan & Norton, 1996). This is

the workers in the form of bullshit time:

what Spicer would call business bullshit.

1. Wasted time satisfying the upper echelons of managerialism and 2. Real working time, e.g. doing your job.

Whether employees are denigrated to human resource assigned an individual profit indicting numbers on an (often not really) ‘balanced’ scorecard or Excel file for the purpose of performance management, they are forced

Beyond that many workers complain about the

to toe the line. This is a line invented and handed out by

stratospheric increase of sitting in often useless meetings.

upper management. More often than not, this occurs in

The sheer endless number of internet-transmitted jokes

a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. Spicer notes ‘you

about meetings tells one as much. On a more thoughtful

can be cynical about management bullshit all you want in

note, Grady’s TED-talk (2013) testifies to the widespread

private, but in public you need to pretend you are signing

frustration about management meetings. Concurrently,

up’ (p. 93). Workplaces under the rule of managerial

Managerialism’s business bullshit not only wastes an

regimes are never really the ‘public’. Fairly often, these

employee’s time siting in management meetings, but also

are

makes much of middle-management’s work artificially

reflective of mixture of George Orwell’s Animal Farm

busy through

(1945) and Nineteen Eighty-four (1948). Managerialism

‘attending meetings, reviewing other people’s work, maintaining good relationships with others through informal conversations, feed the administration machine through various form filling putting together proposals and propositions for new projects and funding’ (p. 78).

authoritarian

workplaces

without

democracy

mixes Orwellian-style ‘some animals are more equal than others’ with Big Brother style workplace surveillance (Barker, 1993). Management critiques have called the often rather scripted behaviour of workers ‘Impression Management’ (Rosenfeld et al., 1995). On a slightly more philosophical note, what this means might be reflective of

Worse, some workers are annually forced into

Baudrillard’s Simulacra (1994). Many workers no longer

applying for their own jobs. In those cases, human

really partake in management bullshit. Instead, they

resources (HR) management’s ‘internal labour’ market

merely simulate ‘signing up’ (Spicer). Working in today’s

is driven to extremes by upper-mangers. Being hooked

companies becomes mere simulation. And this remains so

on managerialism often means being hooked on the

irrespective of Working with the Corporate Psychopath

systemic and structural casualisation of the workforce

(Klikauer, 2017b) or not.

often camouflaged as being part of strategic management

Of course, it is not only ordinary office workers who

and being flexible. Beyond that, it legitimises upper

are ‘drowning in shit’ (p. 93). As Spicer returns to the

management as they organise the entire recruitment

theme of universities and business schools, managerialism

and selection process from analysing jobs, positioning

and business bullshit have also become embedded in

job descriptions and advertising the position to creating

universities and business schools. In the world of an

short-lists and holding actual job interviews.

astute critic of managerialism, Don Watson (2004, p.

More often than not, many of these activities are not

166), ‘Managerialism came to universities as the German

done to ‘feed the administration machine’ (cf. Watson,

army came to Poland’. As a consequence, academic staff

1997). It is done to feed the upper-management apparatus

experience these effects correctly described by Spicer:

legitimising its existence as many of these activities (e.g.,

‘plans for a new building for an international centre for

form filling) are not really necessary for the administration

democracy and conflict resolution being cancelled in

of a company. Instead, they are quintessential for the

favour of a new building for the business school’ (p. 94).The

acceptability of upper-management and the controlling

more we are made to believe that ‘we live in a democracy’,

rules it has established. In short, it does not ‘feed the

the more it seems it is taken away from us. Apart from

administration machine’ – it feeds managerialism. Many

this, the very same ideology conveniently obscures the

at the top of the managerial pyramid who believe in

fact that huge chunks of our lives are excluded from

management fundamentalism see those at the bottom

democracy: our educational systems, our schools, and

of Fayol’s infamous ‘chain of command’ (1916) in the

of course our workplaces. Terms resembling workplace

following way: ‘you’re just a sheet of paper’ (p. 81). This

democracy and industrial democracy have been extinct.

sheet of paper might appear to be business bullshit.

Google.Books suggests industrial democracy has become

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severely eroded since the 1970s. It has effectively been

(corporate) funding. Certainly, in the case of Alan Turing

eliminated from the public domain and even more so

they might not even help in ‘creating the right image’ (p.

from academia. Industrial democracy is no longer taught

126) of a university. Today, ‘what matters is the external

at universities.

presentation’ (p. 126).

In the ‘managerialised university’ (p. 95), teaching and

Eccentrics, Alan Turing for example, may well be ‘the

research have been substituted by the classical insignia of

people who told the truth [but in today’s university] their

managerialism (Aspromourgos, 2012). Now it is university

reputation [is] on the line’ (p. 136) and their jobs too.Today,

league tables, beauty contests, rankings and ‘impact factor

university management will ‘performance management you

fetishism’ (Fleck, 2013), measured as the crown king of

out of here’ if you do not measure up.The case of London’s

scholarly achievement. What counts in universities as in

Imperial College and ‘Stefan Grimm’ (Parr, 2014; Gove,

‘the business school itself [is] the routinely [undergone]

2015) has shown this. In other words, reality reaches well

brand-building and brand-refreshing exercises each time

beyond Spicer’s depictions. Still, Spicer notes that ‘bullshit

there [is] a change of Deans’ (p. 96) or a new cohort of

took precedent over anything vaguely resembling the truth’

management consultants being hired. This is an activity

(p. 136). Business bullshit in the form of Managerialism has

spiced up with the eternally performed treadmill of

many more serious consequences, reaching far beyond

business restructuring. In any university apparatus

mere ‘lip service’ (p. 146).

inflated by managerialism, ‘the number of administrators

Spicer is certainly on the mark when noting that

has increased rapidly [while] the number of academics

‘relying on bullshit means organisations do not get to

has stayed relatively flat’ (p. 98). When the managerialist

the root of the issue’ (p. 153). The very same can be said

university is ‘Selling Students Short’ (Hil, 2015) it does so

about books on business bullshit. They too do ‘not get to

with more managers and fewer academics. Meanwhile,

the root of the issue’. Instead of going to the root, Spicer

according to Spicer

argues that ‘bullshit is very much a mixed blessing’ (p.

‘the real work is no longer doing research and teaching and other things a university is supposed to do. Rather, the real work has become dealing with… bullshit…to make universities appear more business-like’ (p. 100).

164). Blessed is the managerial bullshitter! Blessed is the

Virtually the same happened in Britain’s National Health

somewhat of ‘a six-step-to-ecstasy’-style checklist, Spicer

Service, for example:‘there was an 87 per cent increase in

concludes with a recipe on how to make businesses more

the number of managers, whereas the number of clinical

efficient. Just follow ‘six things’ (pp. 175ff.) and business

staff rose by about a third’ (p. 99). This may be business

will thrive again. Spicer’s listings include: eliminate bullshit

bullshit, but this has something to do with neoliberalism,

jobs; cut back corporate escapism; provide employees

managerialism, capitalism, Maggie Thatcher, and Herr

with some security [note the ‘some’!]; give employees

von Hayek. Instead of linking politics to economics, to

space to ask questions; forget best practice; and finally

ideology, and to managerialism, Spicer’s book tells simple

focus on stability. But wait, there’s more! Corporations

stories. One often reads about this and that ‘best-selling

should also ‘stop rewarding bullshit’ (p. 183). This can be

book’ (pp. 125,165, etc.) as one fights the feeling that

achieved through yet another six steps: limit attention to

subconsciously the author is jealous not to have written

bullshit; don’t reward bullshit with legitimacy; provide

a best-seller. Perhaps Spicer’s subconscious jealousy of

alternative bases of self-confidence; make stupidity costly;

not having written a best-seller prevents him from asking

make mounting organisational load costly, and finally,

questions like ‘is writing a best-seller a sensible aim?’.Take

track trust.

bullshit writer! Perhaps this is a reminiscence of American philosopher John Rawls’,‘veil of ignorance’ (1972, p. 140). Spicer is oblivious to what lies behind business bullshit. In

McDonalds for example. A McDonalds hamburger is true

The book ends here with little conclusion, having one

best-seller but eating it might not be a sensible thing to

and a half pages while presenting six steps. In the end, one

do. It hardly delivers superior nutrition and an exquisite

is hard pressed to escape thinking that this book depicts

culinary experience. Meanwhile in the academic world,

plenty of trees, while never quite seeing the forest. The

neither Einstein’s theory of relativity nor Alan Turing’s

forest that surrounds us is created when management,

1936 paper ‘On Computable Numbers with an application

their agents and accomplices invent business bullshit and

to the Entscheidungsproblem’ were best-sellers. But they

the nightmarish workplaces that come with it. Much of

surely changed things. In today’s managerial universities,

this has been so exquisitely described in Schrijvers’ ‘The

people like Einstein and Turing are all but useless as

Way of the Rat’ (2004). Interestingly, business bullshit

they do not ‘publish a lot’ nor do they rake in external

terms such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and

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business ethics are just as absent from the bullshit book as power, contradictions and capitalism. Pretending that business bullshit has nothing to do with power, capitalism, Managerialism and the ideology that legitimises

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Grady, D. (2013). How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com Hil, R. (2015). Selling Students Short: Why you won’t get the university education you deserve. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

management, hardly advances our understanding of

Jackall, R. (1988). Moral Mazes – The World of Corporate Managers, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

management, modern workplaces and businesses. One is

Janis, I. L. (1985). Victims of Groupthinking. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Press.

left wondering is it all just more business bullshit? Thomas Klikauer is a teacher in the Sydney Graduate School of Management, Western Sydney University, Australia Contact: t.klikauer@westernsydney.edu.au Reshman Tabassum is a PhD student in the Department of Management, Deakin University, Australia.

References Aspromourgos, T. (2012). The Managerialist University: An Economic Interpretation. Australian Universities’ Review, 54(2), 44-49.

Kaplan, R.S. & Norton, D.P., 1996. Linking the balanced scorecard to strategy. California Management Review, 39(1), 53-79. Klikauer, T. (2007). Communication and Management at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Klikauer, T. (2008). Management and Communication – Communicative Ethics and Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Klikauer, T. (2013a). What is Managerialism? Critical Sociology, 41(7-8), 1103-1119. Klikauer, T. (2013b). Managerialism – Critique of an Ideology. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Klikauer, T. (2014). Seven Moralities of Human Resource Management. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Klikauer, T. (2017a). Eight fatal flaws of performance management: How performance management is killing performance – and what to do about it: rethink, redesign, reboot. Management Learning, 48(4), 492-497.

Barker, J. R. (1993). Tightening the Iron Cage: Concertive Control in SelfManaging Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38(3), 408-437.

Klikauer, T. (2017b). Working With the Corporate Psychopath. Retrieved from www.counterpunch.org

Benson, P. & Kirsch, S. (2010). Capitalism and the Politics of Resignation. Current Anthropology, 51(4), 459-486.

Magretta, J. (2012). What Management Is: How it works and why it’s everyone’s business. London: Profile.

Bolchover, D. (2005). The Living Dead – Switched off Zoned Out, The Shocking Truth about Office Life, Chichester: Capstone Press.

Micklethwait, J. & Wooldridge, A. (1996). The witch doctors: making sense of the management gurus. New York: Times Books.

Clegg, S. (2014). Managerialism: Born in the USA. Academy of Management Review, 39(4), 566-576.

Orwell, G. (1945). Animal Farm – a Fairy Story. London: Secker & Warburg.

Colvin, G. (2005). Peter Drucker: 1909-2005. Retrieved from http://archive. fortune.com

Parr, C. (2014). Imperial College professor Stefan Grimm ‘was given grant income target’. Retrieved from timeshighereducation.com

Cronin, A. M. (2016). Reputational capital in ‘the PR University’: public relations and market rationalities. Journal of Cultural Economy, 9(4), 396-409.

Rawls, J. (1972). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Donnelly, G. (2017). Top CEOs Make More in Two Days Than An Average Employee Does in One Year. Retrieved from http://fortune.com Enteman, W. F. (1993). Managerialism: the Emergence of a New Ideology. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Fayol, H. (1916). Managerialism Industrielle et Generale (Industrial and General Managerialism), London: Sir I. Pitman & Sons, ltd. (1930). Fleck, C. (2013). The impact factor fetishism. European Journal of Sociology, 54(2), 327-356. Gervais, R. & Merchant, S. (2001-3). The Office (BBC Sitcom-Mockumentary). London: British Broadcasting Corporation. Godwin, J. (2013). The office politics handbook: winning the game of power and politics at work. Pompton Plains: Career Press.

Orwell, G. (1948). Nineteen Eighty-four. London: Secker & Warburg.

Rosenfeld, P. Gaicalone, R. A. & Riordan, C. A. (1995). Impression Management in Organisations – Theory, Measures, Practice. London: Routledge. Samuel, Y. (2010). Organisational Pathology: Life and Death of Organisations. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Schrijvers, J. (2004). The Way of the Rat – A Survival Guide to Office Politics. London: Cyan Books. Sinclair, U. (1994). I, candidate for governor: and how I got licked. Berkeley: University of California Press. Watson, D. (1997). Against the Megamachine: Essays on Empire & Its Enemies. Brooklyn: Autonomedia. Watson, D. (2004). Watson’s dictionary of weasel words, contemporary clichés, cant & management jargon. Milsons Point: Knopf.

Gove, J. (2015). Stefan Grimm inquest: new policies may not have prevented suicide. Retrieved from timeshighereducation.com

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Accounting for the university of the future The University of the Future: Can the Universities of today lead the learning of tomorrow? by Ernst and Young EYGM Limited, 34 pages, 2018

The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly by Ian D. Gow & Stuart Kells ISBN 9781863959964, Black Inc, 272 pages, 2018 Reviewed by Tim Moore & Gordon Taylor

There is much debate nowadays about the future of higher

counterpoint to the report – whereas Ernst & Young

education. The relentless change seen over the last few

chose to deliberate on the uncertain future facing our

decades has been turbo-charged in recent times through

universities, in the Gow and Kells book, the tables are

the growing involvement of business and corporations in

turned, with the authors sounding their own prescient

the shaping of university futures – a process Marginson

warnings to the accountants.

and Considine (2000, p. 3) have referred to as ‘the

The first feature to note about the Ernst & Young

increasing interpenetration of economic capital into

document, running to 34 pages, is its graphical

university education’. One type of ‘player’ increasingly

sophistication. Much of its space – on our estimation,

seeking to assert itself in such debates is the management/

more than three quarters of the report – is given over

accounting sector, taking in firms like Ernst & Young,

to elaborate looking figures, flow charts, colourful

KPMG, McKinsey etc. A recent contribution is the Ernst

photographs, boxed-up quotes from ‘key stakeholders’,

& Young ‘research paper’ – The University of the Future

endless dot points, and a lot of white space. Gow and Kells

– recently released to much fanfare in a well-co-ordinated

(2018), note that there is something of a formula to these

media campaign of press releases, television interviews,

documents:

and broadsheet coverage. Given the growing influence of this sector on our sector, we think it worth reviewing the quality of such contributions, as well as to ponder what might be behind the growing interest such firms have in the education of our youth.

All the written outputs of the Big Four have a family resemblance that manifests in similar structures, disclaimers, graphics, typography and heft (p. 69). Regarding the last of these attributes, ‘heft’, this is known in the trade, Gow and Kells explain, as the ‘thud

In this extended review, we also make passing reference

factor’, where clients and readers are led to be impressed

to another volume published around the same time as

by the sheer bulk of a document, when the actual content

the Ernst & Young report – Gow and Kells’ book, The

may all be rather thin. It’s worth pointing out too that what

Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the

the Ernst & Young report demonstratively lacks is that

Global Accounting Monopoly. This detailed monograph,

feature that lies at the heart of all writing in the academy

an insider account of the goings on in Ernst and Young

– sustained prose, organised around a series of ordered

and the three companion firms (Deloittes, KPMG and

paragraphs that seek to provide credible evidence for any

PriceWaterhouseCooper) serves as useful context for

claims that lie within.

understanding the methods and motivations that lie

Gow and Kells note another feature of the Big Four

behind the EY report.The book also provides a tantalising

inhouse style – this is to be ever-reliant on what they call

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the ‘dumbed-down’ jargon of managerialism – ‘incentivise’,

future? The technique used, one common in the world of

‘impactful’, ‘stakeholder engagement’, ‘learnings’ (their

management, but little known and regarded in academia,

examples, p. 69). It will come as no surprise to learn that

is what’s called ‘scenario planning’. First developed as a

the Ernst & Young document is not short on in this type

zero-sum game by military strategists, the process typically

of idiom. The following are unexceptional examples (our

involves a few people ‘brainstorming’ likely futures and

emphases).

then drawing out the implications for decision-making. It

Universities will position themselves as educational wellbeing partners, delivering customised education services. (p. 10)

has no objective credibility, and none is claimed for it. But

[Universities need to] experiment with unbundling degree programs and deconstructing the value chain. (p. 30)

these intuitions can only be informed by the background

what is claimed is that the outcomes of such a process are intuitively valid. The methodological problem is that assumptions of those brainstormers, assumptions of which the participants may often be only subconsciously

In spite of these stylistic shortcomings, the Ernst &

aware. This in itself is no bad thing. But these intuitions

Young document does contain the semblance of an

or ‘conjectures’, as the epistemologist Karl Popper called

argument, which can be summarised thus:

them, have to be disciplined and tested.

i.

Universities, in the current environment, are facing a

ii.

This is where the Ernst & Young team let all pretence

period of unprecedented change;

at objectivity slip. The nature of scenario planning does

These changes are being brought about by a range of

not lend itself to Popperian refutation, but the conjectures

societal forces over which the universities have little

do demand objective critical scrutiny. Instead, EY

control – digitisation, globalisation and the like; and

immediately constructs a regime of surveys, focus groups,

iii. Out of these forces, universities will face a range

interviews and something called ‘secondary research’

of dramatic, possible futures, ones, which if

(reading?) which sets out, as they say (p. 33), to ‘confirm

not responded to strategically, will make them

the dominant external forces’ which will drive change in

increasingly irrelevant, if not obsolete, in the brave

higher education (our emphasis). In short, they will go

new world of the 21st Century economy.

looking for anything which might seem to support their

Expanding on this line of thinking, the authors sketch

assumptions and not at all to critique them.The procedure

out a range of hypothetical ‘universities of the future’, each

is a closed circle and therefore incapable of advancing

given its own special, ‘branded’ label. Four of these are

knowledge or understanding of the problem at hand.

outlined in the report. The first is the so-called ‘Champion

Indeed, it is only in the Recommendations at the very

University’, conceived by the authors as an inert, status

end of the Ernst & Young document (rather than at the

quo institution, funded by government and offering mainly

outset, where one might expect them) do we get an

traditional undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

explicit indication of the underlying assumptions that

Second is the ‘Commercial University’, which the authors

inform the Ernst & Young scenarios:

suggest would be ‘financially independent … to ease national budget pressures’, as they say – and offering programs that would be co-designed and co-delivered with industry. A third configuration is the ‘Disruptor University’, a wholly privatised operation, where learning would be

Knowledge is becoming increasingly commoditised and learning is moving online in a massive way. Economic rationalism and current trends suggest that government will be increasingly forced to pull back from current funding models. (p.30)

organised on a just-in-time basis, as a series of ‘on-demand,

The second sentence encapsulates the distortions

micro-certificates’. And finally, there is the Virtual University,

economic rationalism imposes upon more carefully thought

where it is envisaged that most of the action will happen

out conceptions of knowledge and learning, conceptions

online, ‘as humans begin to be replaced by machines’.

which have prevailed through many past vicissitudes. Had

Significantly, of these options the report sees the second

the Ernst & Young team bothered to read anything that does

and third , the ‘Commercial’ and ‘Disruptor’ visions as the

not “confirm” their prejudices they might have discovered

most likely. It is these two outcomes, the authors suggest,

the failure of very vigorous attempts by the entrepreneurs

that universities and policy makers should immediately

of classical laissez faire utilitarianism to highjack the UK’s

‘start to evolve (sic) and plan for’ (p. 30).

redbrick expansion of the university system in the late 19th

But how have such conclusions been arrived at? What

and early 20th centuries. They might also have noticed

is the Ernst & Young methodology that enables them

the recent fiasco in Australia surrounding the attempted

to have such clear and certain apprehensions of the

privatisation of TAFE. The cracks in the present rationalist

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/ neoliberal landscape are appearing faster and wider

via the media. In a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,

almost by the month. For all we can foresee at the moment,

based on an interview with one of the Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young’s ‘current trends’ might just as well turn out

report’s authors, the following appeared as both the

to morph into a very sudden Kuhnian paradigm shift – a

article’s headline and lead.

disruption indeed – away from the trajectory these authors assume. One wonders how Ernst & Young’s thinking might cope with the possible disruption of their disruption?

40 per cent of existing university degrees will soon be obsolete, global accounting firm Ernst and Young says (SMH, 1/05/2018).

A different scenario, of course, would be one that

Thus, what was initially a speculative opinion from

proposes a revitalisation of the traditional, durable

an alleged – and questionable – number of academics,

strengths of higher education to serve the wider

becomes an accepted assumption in the report, and

contemporary world as opposed to the narrow interests

then in reporting to the world, a fact – one for us all to

of business. Here there would be a reasserting of deep

contemplate with due sobriety. This is pure trickery, an

disciplinary and other understandings which alone

evidential sleight of hand that would be quickly called out

assure flexibility of thought and the capacity for sound

under the peer review processes of the academy. There

judgement. But such a scenario cannot be found in the

is not much doubt however, about the intended effect of

Ernst & Young vision for the future for the fairly obvious

such claims – which is to create a sense of uncertainty

reason that firms such as Ernst & Young would play little or

and crisis in the sector, a state of affairs that can only be

no part. A university which submits to the blandishments

successfully navigated with the assistance and strategic

to teach the transitory answers to ‘how’ questions of skill

advice of a company like Ernst & Young.

– to ‘commoditise’ knowledge – has abandoned the ‘why’,

The growing sense of depression one experiences

much less the ‘whether’, neither of which may have any

reading the Ernst & Young report (and its subsequent

obvious short-term economic reward.

publicity) leads to two basic questions: one that is

The Ernst & Young document is wholly an exercise

relatively simple to answer, and the other, quite a mystery.

in speculation, and as we suggest, speculation based

The first – the easy one – is why Ernst & Young, an

on a methodology that is dodgy at best. It is interesting

organisation fundamentally founded in the business of tax

however, to see what is made of this highly provisional

and auditing assessments of companies, would feel itself

material. From the interviews conducted for the report,

qualified to tell universities what is best for them to do as

the following finding is reported, though somewhat

educational institutions, including both what should be

tucked away amid the typography and graphics:

taught, and how? Part of the answer to this question is to be found in the

Some university leaders estimate that around 40 per cent of existing university degrees will soon be obsolete.

subtitle of Gow and Kells’ book: The Curious Past and

This is a dramatic finding – one calculated to fill the

‘perilous future’ mentioned here relates to the increased

average academic with deep dread. Closer scrutiny,

levels of risk surrounding these firms’ core business

however, leads one to be skeptical. With no attribution

activities. Thus, in the area of auditing, Ernst & Young, for

provided for the statement, we are not to know who

example, was required in 2010 to pay US$99 million as

these leaders might be, nor indeed, what types of leaders

settlement in a class action for its role in the infamous

– Vice-Chancellors? Administrators? Or even university

Lehmann Brothers collapse, one of the triggers of the

board members – many of whom it turns out nowadays

global financial crisis (GFC) (Gow & Kells, p. 124). In its

are drawn from the ranks of firms like Ernst & Young.

tax consulting, major reputational damage was done to

The quantifier ‘some’ (as in ‘some university leaders’) is

the firm through its involvement in various tax avoidance

also unimpressively vague. What number might this be?

schemes set up for a range of corporations (Koch, Disney),

Two? Three? Four? A critical mass of informants, sufficient

as revealed, for example, in the famous Luxembourg

to make the finding a valid one? And finally, one looks

Papers (LuxLeaks) in 2015 (Fitzgerald & Guevara, 2014).

Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly.The

warily upon the predicted number of soon-to-be-obsolete

Gow and Kells explain that the cumulative effect

courses. Did all the putative informants somehow arrive

of these scandals and debacles has been for the Big

independently at such an uncannily precise figure of 40

Four firms to adapt their business models increasingly

per cent?

towards ‘low-risk’ advisory services, including advice to

Dubious as this finding is, what is more significant is

our universities. But it’s not just providing advice to our

the way it was then presented subsequently to the world

institutions that appears to be of interest here; it’s also

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about getting a slice of the educational delivery action.

one-time academic colleagues, who toil in the faculties

Thus, it is no surprise to see in the Ernst & Young report

engaged in the real ‘business’ of the university – teaching

a concerted effort to denigrate traditional faculty and

and research. The recent trend for the consulting firms to

degree structures – ‘University degrees are almost obsolete

find places in their ranks for superannuated VCs is further

in some industries’, they aver. What they envisage in

evidence of a less-than-holy alliance between the parties

the place of sustained studies in identifiable knowledge

(Sydney Morning Herald, 2018; Parker/KPMG, 2018).

fields is a plethora of commercially supplied, patented (!),

All futurological musings are fraught – and as we have

virtual ‘nano-courses’, all organised around the ‘skills’ of

seen, often function more as self-interested urgings than

the moment, including, one imagines, such intellectually

any objective foretelling of the way things will actually be.

inspiring offerings as how to work in a team, or how to

In such a spirit, we offer no predictions about the future –

build your personal brand, or even how to whip up flashy

for either sector. We conclude instead with a simple hope

documents in the style of the Ernst & Young report!

– this is that the growing nexus between university and

Notwithstanding the concern increasingly expressed

corporation is a state of affairs that can be increasingly

by actual educationists about the ongoing dilution of

challenged and resisted by university communities in

deep disciplinary learning (see Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist,

times ahead – indeed the ‘future of our universities’ might

for a recent example, 2018), it is clear that proposals like

well depend on it.

this have a simple purpose – to create a privatised system on which companies like Ernst & Young might gorge.

Tim Moore is an Associate Professor in Language and Literacy

Commenting on such an agenda in relation to an earlier

at Swinburne University.

Ernst & Young higher ed report, philosopher Dirk Baltzly (2012) wrote: The point of [the 2012 report] was not to predict the future of higher education in Australia …rather it was to shape that future by dint of providing quasi-expert advice to justify greater private sector involvement. TINA (‘there is no alternative’) is a well-known ideological trope in the armoury of neoliberalism. This is meant to look a bit like research, but its function is advocacy. The appearance of the 2018 report – with the same clear TINA trajectories – suggests Ernst & Young are playing some kind of long game here. This brings us to the other question – the more difficult one – which is why the esteemed institutions that are our universities have somehow been persuaded that operations like Ernst & Young actually have credible things to say to us about how we should organise our institutions and our curricula. The evidence of university annual reports suggests that, in fact, our administrations are much seduced by these services. Among Victorian universities, for instance, an estimated $17 million was spent on outside consultancies in 2014, a figure one assumes has continued to rise since that time (Trounson, 2014). The sad conclusion to draw is that the present crop

Gordon Taylor was formerly Associate Professor and Director of the Language and Learning Unit in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, and sometime Coordinator of the Faculty’s Quality Programs.

References Baltzly, D. (2012). Comment in response to article: ‘The end of universities: Don’t count on it’, The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/ the-end-of-universities-dont-count-on-it-10350 Finkel, A. (2018). Master the foundations and rule a universe. The Australian, 18/07/2018. Fitzgerald, A. & Guevara, M. (2014). New leak reveals Luxembourg tax deals for Disney, Koch Brothers empire, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), 9/12/2014. Marginson, S. & Considine, M. (2000). The Enterprise University: Power, Governance and Reinvention in Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Parker, S. (2018). Reimagining tertiary education: From binary system to ecosystem. KPMG, Melbourne. Sydney Morning Herald (2018). ‘‘You don’t learn that at university’: 40 per cent of degrees will soon be obsolete, report finds’, 01/05/2018. Sydney Morning Herald (2018). ‘Major funding and policy changes to universities, TAFEs needed: KPMG’, 01/08/2018. Trounson, A. (2014). ‘Uni consultants make $17m killing’. The Australian, 19/04/2018.

of university administrators – with their corporate level salaries, and with their similar obsessions with the ‘strategising’ of everything – have come to have much in common with the business partners and cronies with whom they increasingly fraternise. Indeed, one hazards that they have more in common here than with their

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vol. 61, no. 1, 2019


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