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Reviewed by:
  • The University in a Corporate Culture
  • Tim Merrill
The University in a Corporate Culture by Gould, Eric. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. 261 pages. Clothe $35.00. ISBN 0-300-08706-3.

In The University in a Corporate Culture (2003), Eric Gould provides a detailed account of capitalistic market effects on higher education culture and the resulting impact on knowledge creation and liberal education persistence. Grounding his work in the "realpolitik" of higher education, Gould examines both the economic and political consequences of how market forces have shaped democratic educational ideals and the development of knowledge. He argues ultimately in favor of a democratic education that contributes to the greater good of a just society as it recognizes the rights of others while encouraging argument and cultural critique. The organization of Gould's case for democratic education is structured into the seven chapters of his book which lead the reader from an analysis of university mission through an investigation of current cultural factors to an historical review of educational development, concluding with an examination of the relationship between knowledge and power.

The complexity of modern university missions is analyzed in Gould's first chapter. Market pressure for professional graduates who posses usable knowledge is corrupting liberal learning on university campuses, according to Gould. Forcing higher education to specialize, center on disciplines, and argue about the true meaning of the term 'liberal' have caused significant problems in modern universities. Contributing to these concerns is a central theme of this book, [End Page 707] the issue of exchange value versus symbolic value of knowledge. In the modern market culture knowledge equals power, yet a fundamental purpose of higher education should be the development of knowledge for social service.

An examination of the consumerist university culture is the subject of the second chapter. Gould summarizes three main situations evident in contemporary higher education: entrepreneurism, student demographical diversity, and curricular change as related to the value of the credential. As students become more cost opportunistic, non-traditional in expectations, and impatient to receive graduate credentials, universities confront contradictory pricing strategies. It is no secret that tuition costs are skyrocketing, and the resulting financial aid bidding wars are indicative of outdated corporate planning by higher education institutions.

Gould's third chapter analyzes the growing corporate ethos and process of corporatization apparent on modern university campuses. Focusing on several management styles and controls, Gould lists the causes of increased business practices on university campuses. From budget controls and marketing strategies to industrial partnerships and a customer service orientation, business management styles are invading higher education. Excellence is another borrowed term from the business world. Although difficult to define and challenging for the broad mission of universities to attain, excellence is an appeal to public demands for measurement and comparison. Gould again raises the question, which is of more worth, "commodity knowledge" or "symbolic knowledge." Tensions within higher education result from conflicting market demands and complex social missions.

The fourth chapter deals with the threat to academic freedom and the drastic division of labor resulting from the expanding corporate culture in higher education. Gould calls academic freedom "the last line of defense against the complete corporatization of the university" (p. 133). The division between the administration and faculty is not necessarily a bad thing according to Gould. The split is a result of the historical division among the numerous aspects of a university's mission, including research, teaching, and service to society.

Gould shifts into an historical analysis of liberal learning in his fifth chapter. Building from the ancient Greek academies, the author examines past theories of learning to find a proper fit for modern corporate-influenced universities. The dichotomy between symbolic and exchange values of knowledge is prevalent in Gould's review of educational development. Describing American liberal education, he presents an historical summary of factors that influenced the current state of higher education. Concluding the chapter is the contention that knowledge for social power has evolved from early Roman models of education and that the increasing corporatization of the American university supports the continued professionalization of learning.

The emphases of the sixth chapter is the modernization of knowledge, Dewey's pragmatic humanism...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4640
Print ISSN
0022-1546
Pages
pp. 707-709
Launched on MUSE
2004-12-06
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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