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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: A critical study of international higher education development: capital, capability, and a dialogical proposal for academic freedom as a responsibility
Author(s): Gibbs, Alexis P. S.
Supervisor(s): Munday, Ian
Keywords: Higher education
International development
Educational theory
Capabilities approach
Academic freedom
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis sets out to critically examine the field of higher education development, as one which is focused on socio-economic inequality and welfare, and determines educational purpose in poorer, or ‘developing’, countries accordingly. My question is whether mainstream development approaches to higher education are really contributing to the provision of more equal education services, or whether they risk reintroducing inequality by treating the priorities of poorer countries differently. To investigate whether there are educational values or purposes common to universities globally irrespective of socio-economic imperatives, I begin the study with a historiographical look at their growth in terms of both ideas of its purpose, and how purpose is realised in actuality. I then trace the emergence of the discourse of international development, and the role that higher education has come to play within it, showing how the field of international higher education development has simplified the notion of university purpose for its own devices. The thesis then looks at underlying assumptions about human nature, defined as the problem of humanism, common to both transcendent ideas of university purpose as well as the development discourse. To avoid the limitations of these assumptions, I argue that a theoretical approach is required that can engage with questions of hybridity and multiplicity in both the history and future of universities, without reducing those questions to abstract ideas. The approach I propose draws upon the dialogism of Mikhail Bakhtin, whose multi-layered understanding of language prevents any one understanding of another person, or of human nature more generally, being considered final. The educational implications for such an approach are finally explored in the concept of academic freedom, which is traditionally conceived of as a right, but is here reconceptualised also as a responsibility.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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