For a Radical Higher Education after Postmodernism

Synopsis

"This book is a forceful restatement of the classic 'Left' analysis of both the shortcomings, and radical potential, of higher education. In an age of soft-focus sound-bite New Labour politics such a restatement is badley needed. The authors take no prisonerrs in their critique of postmodernism as an empty and conformist discourse that inhibits radical action. Not everyone will agree with this book, but everyone should read it." Peter Scott, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University

"This is a timely and challenging work. The contemporary debate about the purposes of higher education needs to be refocused: on the transmission of values as well as the utility of skills; on its emancipatory as well as its instrumental roles in modern society. This book should be read by students and their teachers, as well as by policy-makers and their pay-masters." David Watson, Director, University of Brighton

"In the age of globalization made real by postmodernist ideology, this is a very important and timely contribution to the debate on higher education policy and purposes." Adult Education Quarterly

Higher education is being transformed, not least because of its rapid expansion. What should be the priorities, objectives and purposes of this new higher education? Much current policy development for universities and colleges is implicitly based on postmodernist ideas. For a Radical Higher Education explores these postmodernist approaches through social and political theory, philosophy, cultural studies and feminism, and proposes radical alternatives. It argues that, although postmodernism has provided useful insights and corrections to other frames of reference, it leads often to a reactionary and conformist position. Its emphases on relativism, consensus and apolitical cynicism in relation to all progressive perspectives, effectively gives support to those who see higher education increasingly incorporated into technicism and free market cultures. In contrast, this book argues for a revitalized and radical university, characterized by critical, sceptical enquiry, tolerance, and a commitment to humanistic, egalitarian politics.

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