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Reconsidering the economic and social purposes of higher education

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Higher Education Research and Development
Issue number6
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)737-749
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this article I seek to reconsider the social and economic purposes of higher education. It begins with the premise that there appears to be a general trend towards governments positioning higher education primarily in terms of the economic role that it can fulfil. Such a trend, however, has attracted considerable criticism. In this article I argue that the problem for higher education is not it having an economic role, but the narrowness of the way in which that role is often conceptualised. Drawing on critical theory I explore the interrelation of economic and social factors within higher education and the wider society in which it is situated. This article argues for a redefinition of the purposes of higher education to ensure that both universities and workplaces are sites of human creativity and that the profound and exciting work within institutions of higher education benefits all members of society.