Henry A. Giroux: The Corporate University and the Politics of Education

Henry A. Giroux: The Corporate University and the Politics of Education

The current debate over the reform of higher education appears indifferent both to the historic function of American universities and to the broader ideological, economic, and political issues that have shaped it. Against the encroaching demands of a market driven logic, a number of progressive educators have argued forcefully that that higher education should be defended as both a public good and as an autonomous sphere for the development of a critical and productive democratic citizenry. Higher education, for many educators, represents a central site for keeping alive the tension between market values and those values representative of civil society that cannot be measured in narrow commercial terms but are crucial to a substantive democracy. Education must not be confused with training, suggesting all the more that educators resist allowing commercial values to shape the purpose and mission of higher education. Richard Hoftstadter understood the threat that corporate values posed to education and once argued that the best reason for supporting higher education "lies not in the services they perform....but in the values they represent".For Hoftstadter it was the values of justice, freedom, equality, and the rights of citizens as equal and free human beings that were at the heart of what it meant for higher education to fulfill its role in educating students for the demands of leadership, social citizenship, and democratic public life. (Sigue)

Revista Praxis N° 2, Abril de 2003 pp.22-31