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  • Academic Capitalism in the Age of Globalization by Brendan Cantwell and Ilkka Kauppinen
  • Amy E. French, Lecturer
Brendan Cantwell and Ilkka Kauppinen. Academic Capitalism in the Age of Globalization. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. 296 pp. Paper: $34.95. ISBN 978-1-4214-1538-3.

Academic Capitalism in the Age of Globalization, edited by Brendan Cantwell and Ilkka Kauppinen, provides a framework for the way in which all aspects of today’s higher education system are affected by the political economy and the state. The underpinnings of academic capitalism, originally modeled by Slaughter and Leslie (1997) and later expanded upon by Slaughter and Rhoades (2004), are detailed in this book, and it points to the impact globalization will have on the changing marketplace. The impetus for this collection on academic capitalism stems from the editors’ desires to inform higher education professionals about how to interact with the evolving organizational nature of the enterprise. The editors collected leading research from international scholars to investigate how globalization and the knowledge economy have paired up to drastically transform higher education around the globe. The volume comprehensively but succinctly discusses the theoretical foundations of academic capitalism and examines new pragmatic acumen regarding how this process continues to develop.

Book editors Brendan Cantwell and Ilkka Kauppinen provide the introductory chapter for part one and part two of this volume in order to first define academic capitalism, and to later identify globalization’s role within academic capitalism. Brendan Cantwell, an associate professor of higher education at Michigan State University and Ilkka Kauppinen, a university lecturer in sociology in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at University of Jyvaskyla and a fellow at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, effectively assembled collaborators who skillfully address a range of topics associated with academic capitalism. Part one focuses on exploring the actors, mechanisms, fields, and networks associated with academic capitalism (Sheila Slaughter); a historical perspective (Jussi Valimaa); the time regime (Judith Walker); litigation and patents (Jacob H. Rooksby and Brian Pusser); a practical philosophy (Keijo Rasanen); and academic labor (Gary Rhoads). Part two begins with the editors discussing higher education as a globalized enterprise and how the transnationalization of this phenomenon play out through global production networks. The volume further explores academic capitalism and globalization in categories such as a mechanism-based approach (Tuukka Kaidesoja and Ilkka Kauppinen); knowledge-driven economies (Alma Maldonado-Maldonado); greater China (Hei-Hang Hayes Tang); university risk (Roger P. King); and concludes with the introduction of a conceptual model regarding international students (Ilkka Kauppinen, Charles Mathies, and Leasa Weimer).

As the chapters make clear, this collection provides a comprehensive treatment of academic capitalism and how it influences higher education in a global economy. The volume’s key strength is articulating the current reality regarding the extent to which student recruitment, classroom instruction, faculty research, organizational administration, and intellectual property control is rooted in a political economic network with connections to the market, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, and the state. This collection extends previous research on academic capitalism by broadening the scope to include the international perspective. Although the book cohesively links academic capitalism concepts to globalization in a [End Page 159] thoughtful manner, the individual chapters could function as stand-alone articles and encourage future research.

Sheila Slaughter, in her chapter “Retheorizing Academic Capitalism: Actors, Mechanisms, Fields and Networks” compares academic capitalism to contemporary theories on institutional fields and policy networks. For example, Fligstein and McAdam (2002) perceive strategic action fields as necessary in managing the economy, society, and the state to achieve stability. Ball (2012) adds that the boundaries between state and society are distorted within current policy networks. Slaughter proceeds to connect boundaries and boundary crossings through the example of trustees. Trustees are actors who possess “the motivations of those who seek to bring universities closer to the market” (p. 28) and are seen “as narrow, representing interests that are ironically not too different than rational choice theory, being either self-interests or those of economic men” (p. 28). This addition to her earlier work further indicates the complexities ascribed to academic capitalism in the present globalized economy.

Jussi Valimaa’s chapter provides a...


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