Amsler, Sarah (2017) “Insane with courage”: free university experiments and the struggle for higher education in historical and contemporary perspective. Learning and Teaching, 10 (1). pp. 5-23. ISSN 1755-2273
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How can higher education for the common good and progressive social change be organised within conditions of advanced capitalism? What forms can and should democratic higher education take in the future, and how will they emerge? These questions underpinned struggles to democratise the modern university throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and have again assumed strategic importance for reformers in the twenty-first. As Anglo-American models of the liberal and public university are unmade, state support for adult education in post-welfare-state societies diminishes and the neoliberal university attains hegemonic status around the world, space for critical, non-capitalist and democratic learning is shrinking within universities. In response, new projects to reform, reclaim, reinvent, escape and even abolish the university have emerged. In the United Kingdom and other countries where public university systems are being transformed into managed higher education markets, this response includes the emergence of ‘free universities’ that operate independently from the state, capital and dominant theories of knowledge and higher education. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, these projects have been posited as alternatives to both public and private university systems – and, in succeeding or failing as institutions, have become objects of both hope and disappointment. Yet it is not often recognised that free universities belong to a rich tradition of educational experiments in autonomy which has shaped the history of the university from below. Contextualising contemporary free university projects within both a ‘people’s history of higher education’ and contemporary global movements for autonomy can help clarify how these ‘infrastructures of resistance’ contribute to the development of democratic educational practice both within and outside the university today.
|Keywords:||autonomous education, educational experimentation, free universities, public higher education, neoliberalism|
|Subjects:||X Education > X350 Academic studies in Adult Education|
L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
L Social studies > L210 Political Theories
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
X Education > X390 Academic studies in Education not elsewhere classified
|Divisions:||College of Social Science > School of Education|
|Deposited On:||15 Feb 2017 15:46|
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