Conflicting Ideas of the University. A case of Neo-liberalism and New Public Management in Northern Europe

Autore: Sørensen Asger


These years the old universities are under severe pressure from the combined forces of a global market economy and various attempts to cope strategically with the exigencies of this situation. Where British universities have had cases of closing down departments because of insufficient achievements at the market, in Denmark the cases that reach the public are much more related to ideology, power struggles, and character corruption. This I illustrate by presenting a few of the cases experienced locally the last few years, focusing especially at my own university, Aarhus University (AU). My main focus will be on the most spectacular university case ever experienced in Denmark, the Koldau-case. This I will interpret in the light of two conflicting ideas of the modern university that can be attributed to two leading enlightenment figures, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Denis Diderot. The point is that for decades, inside the university the classical Humboldt idea of the university has been confronted with another set of ideas of the university, which could be ascribed to Diderot. Those ideas all uphold ideals beyond the demands of the market economy, namely respectively scientific knowledge and social democracy, truth and justice. The problem is that they do not agree that easily. The situation in Denmark has forced this ideological conflict out in the open through the remarkable Koldau-case, but I think the basic ideological conflict can be generalized to cover the situation of universities all over the world.


145 mm x 210 mm

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