Challenging Knowledge: The University in the Knowledge Society

Delanty, Gerard

"For far too long, we have waited for a book that recorded the ideas of the modern university. Now, in Gerard Delanty's new book, we have it. Delanty has faithfully set out the views of the key thinkers and, in the process, has emerged with an idea of the university that is his. We are in his debt." Professor Ronald Barnett, University of London "Gerard Delanty is one of the most productive and thought-provoking social theorists currently writing in the UK. He brings to his work a sophisticated and impressively cosmopolitan vision. Here he turns his attention to higher education, bringing incisive analysis and a surprising optimism as regards the future of the university. This is a book which will stimulate all thinking people - especially those trying to come to terms with mass higher education and its tribulations." Professor Frank Webster, University of Birmingham "For too long social theory, the sociology of knowledge and studies in higher education have mutually ignored each other. Gerard Delanty, founding editor of the European Journal of Social Theory, was just the right person to bring them into dialogue. Indeed, 'dialogue' and 'communication' are his watchwords for revamping the institutional mission of the university." Professor Steve Fuller, University of Warwick Drawing from current debates in social theory about the changing nature of knowledge, this book offers the most comprehensive sociological theory of the university that has yet appeared. The famous philosophical conceptions of the university from the Enlightenment to postmodern thought are discussed along with the major writings in modern social theory on the university, such as those of Weber, Parsons, Habermas, Gadamer, Lyotard and Bourdieu. In this far reaching contribution to the sociology of knowledge, Delanty views the university as a key institution of modernity and as the site where knowledge, culture and society interconnect. He assesses the question of the crisis of the university with respect to issues such as globalization, the information age, the nation state, academic capitalism, cultural politics and changing relationships between research and teaching. Arguing against the notion of the demise of the university, his argument is that in the knowledge society of today a new identity for the university is emerging based on communication and new conceptions of citizenship. It will be essential reading for those interested in changing relationships between modernity, knowledge, higher education and the future of the university.

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