How Is the University Influenced by Neoliberalism? The Composition and Practice of Accountability in Taiwan Higher Education.

Peng, Ming-Te. 2020. How Is the University Influenced by Neoliberalism? The Composition and Practice of Accountability in Taiwan Higher Education.. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This project aims to illustrate procedures by which academic reality has been established in the neoliberal era rather than treating the neoliberal movement as a black box. Taking universities in Taiwan as a case, this thesis draws on Foucauldian theories and Actor-Network theory to investigate how the neoliberal discourse has been enacted within the academy. My first empirical chapter focuses on the problematisation of academic practices. By investigating historical and political configurations where policy on academic governance and higher education had emerged, this research suggests that the sector of higher education has always been an object of government in Taiwan, but models of governing universities have changed in various periods. The switch from direct supervision to marketisation represents a transition in the exercise of power from sovereign power to governmentality. The second empirical chapter aims to elaborate various narratives towards higher education under the one dominant neoliberal discourse. Through discussions on contemporary concerns about globalising higher education, university industry collaboration and university’s social responsibility, a variety of narratives are identified, representing the existence of alternative frameworks of seeing higher education and possibility of resistance against the neoliberalising university. By contrast, the third empirical chapter emphasises how the neoliberal discourse gained authority through its circulation within academic organisations. With those institutional practices, the imaginary of the neoliberal university has been actualised by individual scholars, turning it into a reality. In sum, this research suggests that the dominant position of neoliberal discourse should not be considered the status quo but a temporary result of continuous neoliberal practices in which a range of actors take part. It is better to understand the neoliberal movement as heterogeneous attempts at change rather than a single or universal essence. This study also indicates that bibliometric measures play indispensable roles in these changes. First, bibliometrics contribute to the accumulation of subject knowledge regarding academic behaviour. Second, they provide a ground for individuals to interpret and to build the academic world.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Neoliberalism, Accountability, Foucault, Actor Network Theory, Bibliometrics, Higher Education, Evaluation

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30 November 2020

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Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2021 12:00

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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