The Knowledge Business: The Commodification of Urban and Housing Research

Allen, Chris and Imrie, Rob, eds. 2010. The Knowledge Business: The Commodification of Urban and Housing Research. Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7690-4 [Edited Book]

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Abstract or Description

The commercialization of university research and teaching has become paramount across the globe. This is occurring in a context in which governments seek to harness the skills of the academy to contribute to the enhancement of broader strategic goals relating to economic productivity, growth, and social well-being. It is no longer sufficient for universities to (re) produce knowledge as an ‘end in itself’ or as part of a process for individuals’ self betterment. Rather, knowledge is increasingly defined as the means to an end: the production of product lines that can be sold to a diverse customer base. This is indicative of the knowledge business, or the universities’ turn towards a new series of relationships with government, and private and third sector organizations. These relationships are characterized by the university sector seeking to enhance revenues through commercializing their services, and mimicking the behaviour and actions of corporate business organizations.

The book provides a critique of the knowledge business, and describes and evaluates its different manifestations in, and impacts on, the university sector. Its focus is the social sciences and, in particular, housing and urban studies. The chapters draw on a wide range of experiences, both in the UK and elsewhere, to illustrate the changing management of the academy, and the development, by university managers, of instruments or techniques of control to ensure that academics are disciplined in ways that are commensurate with achieving commercial goals. The chapters’ highlight the different ways in which the academy is being put to work for commercial gain, and they evaluate how far the public service ethos of the universities is coming apart in a context in which what is to be serviced is increasingly a private clientele defined by their ‘ability to pay’. The book draws out some of the contradictions and tensions associated with these processes, and highlights the implications for the academic labour process.

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Edited Book

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1 September 2010

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Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2014 09:25

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 09:37


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