ZOOM WEBINAR: Unbundling, Market Making and University Futures: Audit Culture and the New Academic Capitalism

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Cris Shore, Senior Global Horizons Fellow, SCAS. Professor of Social Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Cris Shore, SCAS and University of London, gives a seminar on "Unbundling, Market Making and University Futures: Audit Culture and the New Academic Capitalism". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


In Britain and elsewhere the neoliberal assault on universities has shifted from austerity funding models and New Public Management to the special status of the public university itself. This new phase aims to complete work begun thirty years ago by more fully marketising and financialising universities, starting with ‘unbundling’ and outsourcing, and culminating in new forms of privatisation, rent extraction and re-bundling. In this seminar I will explore some of the agents behind these initiatives by analysing documents commissioned beyond government aimed at creating political momentum for this project. Michael Barber’s (2013) Avalanche is Coming and Justin Bokor’s (2012) University of the Future are among many ostensibly ‘independent’ reports that capture the spirit of these reform agendas while simultaneously creating the university futures that they portend. One curious yet unexplored aspect of this process is the extraordinarily expansion of external consultants, think tanks and international accountancy firms into the field of higher education management and governance. Drawing on ethnographic examples, I will analyse the market-making work that these consultants perform in reimagining universities ahead of policy reform and in reinventing the public university as a site for rent seeking. I ask, how are these firms embedding themselves in universities? What techniques are they using to cement their expertise, profitability and power? What university futures are these market-making activities creating? And how are academics and other university stakeholders responding to these challenges?

For more information and the webinar link, please see http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.