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Spaces of Life: Transgressions in Conceptualising the World Class University

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Beyond knowledge, critical thinking, new ideas, rigorous science and scholarly development, this chapter argues for the university as a space of life. Through the complexities and incommensurabilities of academic life, and drawing on Julia Kristeva’s notion of revolt, Emmanuel Levinas’ notion of Otherness, and Novalis’ concept of Romantisierung, it makes a philosophical argument for recognizing what might appear as uncomfortable transgressions of the marketable, measurable characteristics of World Class Universities. In various ways, the chapter asks where there is space, in the World Class University, for elements which may not overtly align with the neoliberal clamour for international recognition and esteem. In elevating everyday life in the university, the chapter blurs boundaries of the celebrated, strived for rankings with the spaces of life that are dark and heterotopic, messily entangled with histories, polyphonic human and more than human voice, beings and energies, within the university. Revolt provokes a re-turn to re-question the ethics and boundaries of treatments of ‘world’ and ‘class’ in conceptions of the World Class University. Here, ‘World Class University’ is not necessarily a globally streamlined and internationally bench-marked institution, flexing its socio-economic muscles in the face of the world. Instead, it is an institution that speaks for others who have been made silent and deprived of their own critical voice. It speaks for the suppressed and marginalized, and it speaks for the ones who are no longer with us, or who have not yet arrived. It speaks for the people and the times yet to come.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Class Universities : A Contested Concept
EditorsSharon Rider , Michael Peters, Mats Hyvönen, Tina Besley
Place of publicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Publication yearJan 2021
Pages251-267
Chapter15
ISBN (print)978-981-15-7597-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-7598-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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