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Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy: Action Research in Higher Education

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Volume 2

Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies

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Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy

Action Research in Higher Education

Morten Levin and Davydd J. Greenwood

230 pages, 2 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-321-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (November 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-839-7 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (April 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-322-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy is a welcome addition to the anthropology of higher education, an area that has received scant attention from the discipline. It is noteworthy, though, that the Society for Applied Anthropology has a relatively new Anthropology of Higher Education Thematic Interest Group. In four short years, it has become the largest TIG in the association. There is clearly scholarly interest in higher education policy and analysis and anthropologists have significant contributions to make. This book is an important addition for anyone with interests in this area.” • JRAI (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

“In Creating a New Public University and Reviving Democracy, Morten Levin and Davydd Greenwood add their voices to the burgeoning catalogue of critiques of the impact of neoliberal policies on the quality of higher education in Europe and the US. But unlike many such contributions, this work draws heavily on the change management literature and offers a cornucopia of compelling and well-grounded ideas for reform of the academy.” • Times Higher Education

“This is a fascinating take on public higher education policy that will likely intrigue readers with varied backgrounds and opinions about the interaction of public education, economics and socio-political ideas.” • Comparative Education Review

“This is an important book with value for policy and practice in public higher education and, more generally, for rethinking the relation between democracy, participation and education in contemporary societies… The book is not just a space for criticism of the current system, but it seeks to provide a path forward, making change happen by using action research.” • Michela Franceschelli, University College London


Public universities are in crisis, waning in their role as central institutions within democratic societies. Denunciations are abundant, but analyses of the causes and proposals to re-create public universities are not. Based on extensive experience with Action Research-based organizational change in universities and private sector organizations, Levin and Greenwood analyze the wreckage created by neoliberal academic administrators and policymakers. The authors argue that public universities must be democratically organized to perform their educational and societal functions. The book closes by laying out Action Research processes that can transform public universities back into institutions that promote academic freedom, integrity, and democracy.

Morten Levin is Professor Emeritus of Industrial Economics and Technology Management at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. With degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Operations Research, Sociology, he has worked as an action researcher on processes and structures of social change.

Davydd J. Greenwood is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Cornell University. A Corresponding Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences since 1996, he served as the John S. Knight Professor and Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and as Director of the Institute for European Studies at Cornell.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Educational StudiesSociology


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