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‘Humboldt’, Humbug! Contemporary Mobilizations of ‘Humboldt’ as a Discourse to Support the Corporatization and Marketization of Universities and Disparage Alternatives

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Chapter Summary

In the struggles over university reform in Denmark from 2003 to the present, this contest over 'Wilhelm von Humboldt' has been far from evenly matched. This chapter explores how the contest over 'Humboldt' has played out in policy texts, notably those from the OECD, on which the Danish Government has drawn heavily; in international agreements over academic freedom, to which academic activists refer; and in the polemic genre of books and newspaper articles that activists have authored in order to generate public discussion. These issues have been discussed in interviews with policy-makers and academics, which were conducted as part of a research project on the university reforms. Finally the chapter draws on participant observations at an event that acted out this contest over 'Humboldt', 'freedom', and divergent visions of the future university.

Keywords: Danish Government; Denmark; university reforms; Wilhelm von Humboldt



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