The autoimmunity of the modern university: How its managerialism is self-harming what it claims to protect

Henk van Houtum*, Annelies van Uden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

What we critically ascertain in this essay is how the modern university is increasingly drifting away from the key ambitions of its own mission statement, and largely by its own doing. Although the typical university in its mission statement claims to aspire outstanding quality, academic freedom, and to contribute to society, in its daily organization, the modern university has normalized and internalized a neoliberal metrical governmentality, in which quality, freedom, and societal benefit risk being exchanged for quantity, managerial control, and status benefit. In this essay, we stand up against this worrying self-harming protection strategy, what we term—following Jacques Derrida—the autoimmunity of the university. To structure our argument, we will discern the main worrying autoimmune paradoxes of this university policy in the hope to further the debate and potentially remedy the university of this self-inflicted harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
JournalOrganization
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • autoimmunity
  • managerialism
  • metrics
  • neoliberalism
  • university

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