Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version

Critical Higher Education: Rethinking Higher Education as a Democratic Public Sphere

As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. As these institutions vanish – from higher education to healthcare centers – there is also a serious erosion of the discourses of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good (see, e.g., Harvey 2003, 2005; Brown 2005; Giroux 2008; Steger and Roy 2010). We increasingly live in societies based on the vocabulary of “choice” and a denial of reality – a denial of massive inequality, social disparities, the irresponsible concentration of power in relatively few hands, and a growing machinery of social death and culture of cruelty (see, for instance, on the rise of the racist punishing state, Alexander 2010; on the severe costs of massive inequality, Stiglitz 2012; on the turning of public schools into prisons, see Fuentes 2011). As power becomes global and is removed from local and nation-based p ...

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