University academics at a crossroads? continuity and transformation in Danish university reform

John B. Krejsler, Stephen Carney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Within an overall policy script aimed at creating fewer "world-class" institutions, Danish universities are currently being remade to better serve the world of work and employment, the demands of high-technology industry, and the needs of society, which are increasingly described and defined in terms of appeals to "relevance to the economy/working life," "value" and "efficiency." This partially replaces what is identified as a "democracy" discourse appealing to notions of "participation," "relevance for the people/"society" and so forth. Drawing on Foucauldian discourse analysis, the article explores the implications of these policy shifts in terms of the ways that academic workers negotiate competing discourses about the "university." Here, a number of "closures" are identified that suggest limits to how actors can think and operate within the new policy environment as it is being embedded within various gradually changing university contexts. However, the complexity of the reform creates a range of new "openings" in which alternative, often contradictory, identities are being legitimated. The complex interplay of openings and closures suggests that we resist simplistic understandings of contemporary universities as the victims of imposed policy violence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-92
    Number of pages17
    JournalEuropean education: issues and studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Pedagogy (50301)
    • Social Sciences (5)


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