In the service of technocratic managerialism? History in UK universities

Donnelly, Mark and Norton, Claire (2015) In the service of technocratic managerialism? History in UK universities. Educational Philosophy and Theory. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0013-1857

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This article discusses the conceptualization, organization and philosophical orientation of academic history culture in UK higher education. It problematizes the extent to which a dominant history culture in UK universities implies and uncritically reproduces normative understandings about the subject; about its epistemological standing, socio-political functions, and the presumed cultural value of the discipline practices that students learn to perform. We suggest that current conceptions of history degree curricula are overly thin and organised around a dominant managerialist discourse of skills, personal development and learning outcomes. In a historicised world in which history-focused behaviour has a crucial, ideological, affirmatory role, and in which historical narratives have a privileged cognitive function, we argue that it is critical for university history students to be able to deconstruct the processes by which history legitimises itself, and reinforces matrices of power in our societies. The positioning of history in higher education as a form of technocratic managerialism closes down spaces in which students can explore the potential of historical practices as a means of engaging with issues of current socio-political and ethical concern. We ask in this article, is this what we want an academic history culture to do?

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: history theory, history culture, universities, managerialism, employability
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 378 Higher education
300 Social sciences > 379 Public policy issues in education
School/Department: School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Kevin Sanders
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 12:42
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2017 00:30


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