Chapter 7: Academic freedom, institutional autonomy and democracy: the incursions of neoliberalism
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Olssen argues that the concepts of academic freedom and institutional autonomy have their significance within an earlier pre-neoliberal philosophy of liberalism, specifically within a liberal model of the role of the state, public policy and governance within western societies. Neoliberalism, he claims, contradicts this model of liberal governmentality in important senses and in doing so undermines the postulates of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, substantially transforming the meaning and way these concepts operate within universities. Neoliberal governance, he concludes, stifles dissent, erodes trust and opposes collegial participation with the effect of curtailing academic freedom and undermining the critical independence of universities from the state. As part of demonstrating this, he examines a range of evidence, including the decline of Academic Assemblies in UK universities, as well as the legislative expectation on universities in New Zealand to function as 'critic and conscience of society'.

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