In the Service of Technocratic Managerialism? History in UK Universities

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  • Source:
    Educational Philosophy and Theory, v49 n6 p643-655 2017. 13 pp.
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    Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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    • Abstract:
      This article discusses the conceptualisation, organisation and philosophical orientation of academic history culture in UK higher education. It problematises the extent to which a dominant history culture in UK universities implies and uncritically reproduces normative understandings about the subject; about its epistemological standing, sociopolitical 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 sociopolitical and ethical concern. We ask in this article, is this what we want an academic history culture to do?
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      Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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