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Open Access The postmodern university revisited: reframing higher education debates from the 'two cultures' to postmodernity

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Current debate on higher education in Britain is focused on its instrumental functions and largely ignores its social and cultural value. This paper considers the 'idea of the university' in an historical perspective and critically examines current policy discourse while identifying robust alternatives to the utilitarian argument. It proposes, speculatively, the notion of 'cosmopolitanism', as defined by critics of pluralism and postmodernism, as a more meaningful starting point for philosophical and policy discussions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2006

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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