Privatising the Public University
The Case of Law
Routledge – 2012 – 274 pages
Privatising the Public University: The Case of Law is the first full-length critical study examining the impact of the dramatic reforms that have swept through universities over the last two decades. Drawing on extensive research and interviews in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada, Margaret Thornton considers the impact of the market on students, academics and law schools, documenting how both the curriculum and pedagogical methods have changed. If the passing of the idea of the university is rued, concern usually focuses on the humanities and the natural sciences. In this respect, law has been regarded as privileged because of the virtually unstoppable demand for law places and the willingness of students to pay high fees. And, as this book shows, it is commercial and instrumental forms of legal training that are now favoured, whilst the humanistic, critical, theoretical and social justice aspects of legal knowledge have been corroded. Privatising the Public University will be of considerable interest to legal academics; but it will also be invaluable work for anyone interested in the future of higher education, or, more generally, in the corporatization of culture.
Ch 1: The Political Economy of Higher Education; Ch 2: The Market Comes to Law School; Ch 3: Jettisoning the Critical; Ch 4: Governance and Academic Life; Ch 5: Research in the Corporatized Academy; Ch 6: Conclusion
Margaret Thornton is Professor of Law at the Australian National University. She is a graduate of Sydney, New South Wales and Yale Universities, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law