Inside the Teaching Machine: Rhetoric and the Globalization of the U.S. Public Research University

By Catherine Chaput | Go to book overview

3
The Collusion of Economic
and Cultural Systems:
Globalization and the University

Chapters 1 and 2 demonstrate that the relationship between the capitalist political economy and the U.S. public research university is both complex and historically contingent. Just as the industrial stage of capitalism created a new research model of education and developed new disciplines to foster that research, the monopoly stage of capitalism initiated new departments—area studies and workplace psychology, for example—in order to help train professionals in scientific management and develop the knowledge necessary for cold war maneuvering. Although these structural changes were never direct instantiations of a simple democratic ideal, they responded to and perpetuated various democratic values. An individualized version of democracy helped forge the university as a necessary economic component of disparate local communities during the industrial period while the nationalized democratic vision of the monopoly stage justified huge expenditures on university-based military research. Currently, I argue, a new consumerized notion of democracy—the idea that individual freedom derives from one's ability to access and purchase a variety of commodities—contributes to the increased privatization of this university system. The values and production processes of global capitalism, however, have not erased earlier ideologies and modes of production. Instead, industrial, monopoly, and global capitalist structures exist simultaneously and in cooperation, both inside and outside the U.S. public research university system.

Because these capitalist shifts imply continuities as well as discontinuities, the U.S. public research university has been able to maintain an in

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