Disciplines and Policy
By Jenny Lewis
Routledge – 2014 – 192 pages
Academia is an important site for producing knowledge, which is crucial in driving economies and societies around the globe at the beginning of the 21st century. Yet surprisingly little is known about how contemporary universities are shaped by the formal and multiple demands they face from national policy requirements, particularly performance measurement. What effects do these policies have on individual universities and the academics who work within them? While policy surely has impacts on institutions and academics, there are also numerous other things that shape academic life. This book’s starting point is that there are three main shaping forces that govern academia – intellectual curiosity, disciplinary traditions and research policy. Bringing these three levels together into a framework, this book examines how academia is governed, both formally and informally, bridging the different aspects of governing knowledge networks through a large multi-country study.
Author Jenny Lewis uses a large empirical study of academics in three countries (Australia, Britain and New Zealand) and in the broad disciplinary areas of the humanities, social sciences and sciences, to demonstrate the analytical framework’s application. The book also offers some needed directions on what policy should and can do, providing a snapshot of contemporary academic life in different disciplines and in different countries, from the perspective of academics on the frontline.
"When looking at changes in knowledge production, so many researchers focus only on one main driver – the personal motivations of individual academics; the practices and traditions of different disciplines; or, government policies. All three forces shape the decisions of academics, and Jenny Lewis is to be applauded for undertaking a major study that seeks to understand the interplay between them. It is important to understand, and demonstrate, that different systems applied in different countries can have exactly the same effect on researchers. Understanding why this occurs – by looking at all important shaping forces and their interactions – is essential." – Linda Butler, Australian National University
1. Governing Academia 2. Research policy 3. Disciplinary cultures 4. Individual inclinations 5. Examining academic governance 6. Academic collaboration 7. Discussion networks 8. Research assessment systems 9. From academic work to research outputs 10. Academic governance
Professor Jenny M Lewis is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has published extensively in governance and policy journals, and her previous books include: Health policy and politics: Networks, ideas and power (2005), and Connecting and cooperating: Social capital and public policy (2010). She is the recipient of the 2012 Kooiman prize for best article in Public Management Review, with her colleague, Mark Considine.