The Culture of the American University in the Age of Neoliberalism
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Universities in the United States and across the globe are changing. What is the nature of this change? For nearly twenty years, much of the scholarship and work by journalists on the United States has highlighted increases in conflict of interest, secrecy, proprietary research, loss of unbiased public interest analysts, and distortion of research agendas associated with university-industry research relationships. While these concerns are not entirely misplaced, I argue that the focus on what are egregious violations of academic norms—on dramatic cases—fails to capture a deeper and more difficult to police transformation of the US university. Instead, I believe a fundamental transformation of the culture of university life and academic science, especially, is underway. In this paper, I explore the claims of some of the most high profile recent work on the commercialization of the American university, and I point to a set of examples and indicators that suggest we are seeing a deep transformation of academic culture in the United States.
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