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Pedagogical machines: ICTs and neoliberal governance of the university


Kitto, S and Higgins, V, Pedagogical machines: ICTs and neoliberal governance of the university, Nova Science Publishers, United States, pp. 162. ISBN 978-1-60692-708-3 (2009) [Authored Research Book]

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Copyright 2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

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This book investigates the effects of information communication technologies (ICTs) as techniques for neoliberal, or what we refer to as ‘advanced liberal’, governing within universities using a regional Australian university as our site of study. In contrast to the existing literature that theorises ICTs either as part of the progressive colonisation of the university by a market-based logic, or as a micro-level process that empowers students and lecturers, the book demonstrates how the adoption of ICTs reconfigures universities as sites of governing and constitutes the subjectivities of academics and on-campus students as both the vehicles and the effects of advanced liberal forms of regulation. Significantly, in focusing on these processes of configuration, it draws attention also to the localised practices that both enable ICTs to ‘work’ as techniques of advanced liberal governing, and shape rule in novel ways producing unintended effects.

In general, we explore the strategies and tactics through which ICTs are implemented, and the effects this has on the way academics and internal on-campus students are governed and govern themselves. More specifically, we analyse the way information technology is involved in the constitution and governing of the ‘freedom’ of the on-campus student and to a lesser degree that of academics. The book argues that the implementation of ICTs into universities is not an unproblematic process whereby ICTs act simply as neutral tools to improve the governing apparatus of universities. Rather, the process of the implementation and use of ICTs for the governing of higher education is a highly political, productive and ironic process that changes the very concept and practice of the university and the subjectivities of academics and students. In particular, the book draws attention to the important issue of how the educational practices of academics and students in association with ICTs can serve to both contradict, and facilitate the success of advanced liberal ways of governing universities.

Due to the fact that many of the issues raised in this book could be interpreted as possibly damaging to the institution selected as the site of study, the name of the university has been changed to Regis University (as a play on words it reflects its status as possibly as one of the ‘Queens/Kings’ of online education in regional Australia) and the names of the informants, their departments and schools to which they belonged are altered. The specific time and dates have also been altered to ensure that none of the information can be attributed back to them.

Item Details

Item Type:Authored Research Book
Keywords:neoliberalism, governance, universities
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:138137
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-04-03

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