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Unbundling and Reassembling Knowledge Production

Political Economy
Higher Education
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Janja Komljenovic
University of Lancaster
Panel Discussant
Mitchell Young
Charles University

08/09/2017 17:40 - 19:20
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Floor: 2 Room: GM 206
Whereas once public and private universities used to be the key or ‘only’ social institution engaged in advanced, credentialed knowledge production and dissemination in the higher education sector, there are now a multitude of actors who have entered into the sector, challenging the monopoly status of traditional providers. There presence and activities have contributed to the process promoted through the World Trade Organisation and its General Agreement on Trade in Services to unbundle the traditional university/sector and reassemble it in such a way as to transform the sector. These actors specialise in different aspects of knowledge brokerage – from production to circulation, consumption and valuation. These actors range from multilateral actors, such as the WTO, OECD and the World Bank; think tanks; I/NGOs, private companies; multinational corporations; and specialist education firms. Such developments have, in turn, given rise to new struggles over knowledge practices, expertise and authority.

There are a number of initiatives related to unbundling and reassembling the university as a knowledge creator/disseminator which can be pointed to. The first is the rise of private companies who have moved into the provision of credentialed knowledge. The second is the growing numbers and types of partnerships between private companies and public education institutions offering degrees and other knowledge products. The third includes instances where some of the big employers have already decided to change their recruitment requirements, either placing less emphasis on academic qualifications, or in some cases removing the graduate requirement altogether, instead focusing on skills. Finally, the overall number of private companies and other private actors in the higher education sector has expanded over the past decade, aided by changes in the regulatory environment aimed at creating a higher education market.

This Panel aims to consider what this unbundling and reassembling of advanced knowledge creation, circulation, and use for its overall public good and society value.

This Panel is particularly interested in papers, which present empirical findings, or which are advancing new theoretical or methodological approaches as to how to study questions of knowledge/power inherent in these processes.

The themes that these Panels are interested in are (the list is not exhaustive):
- Who are the actors that are involved in the knowledge brokering, production, circulation, consumption and valuation at the level of Europe and/or globally?
- What kinds of governance arrangements are deployed to unbundle and re-assemble knowledge production?
- What are the consequences of these processes for how we understand the role and purposes of the university?
- What theories and methodologies might be used to analyse these processes?

Paper List

Title Details
Cooperation by Coercion: Institutionalizing the 'Third Mission' of Universities in the South Korean Higher Education System View Paper Details
Unbundling and Reassembling Knowledge Production – the Role of Social Media Platforms View Paper Details
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