Indexed on: 01 Dec '03Published on: 01 Dec '03Published in: The Australian Educational Researcher
Is the idea of the liberal university dead, has the postmodern university any chance of being emancipatory, has the theory-practice divide merely collapsed in an era of ‘new knowledge work’, or has the university just become one aspect of market states and global capitalism? Knowledge-based economies locate universities as central to the commodification and management of knowledge, while at the same time the legitimacy of the university and the academic as knowledge producers is challenged by postmodernist, feminist, post-colonial and indigenous claims within a wider trend towards the ‘democratisation of knowledge’ and a new educational instrumentalism and opportunism. What becomes of the educational researcher, and indeed their professional organisations, in this changing socio-political and economic scenario? Is our role one of policy service, policy critique, technical expert or public intellectual? In particular what place is there for feminist public intellectuals in a so-called era of postfeminism and public-private convergence? The paper draws on feminist and critical perspectives to mount a case for the importance of the public intellectual in the performative postmodern university.