The University of Wolverhampton

Royal Institute of Philosophy public lecture:

'The Politics of the University' - Prof. Andrew Vincent

Part of the annual Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture series.

Speaker's Biography:

Professor Andrew Vincent is Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University (Professorial Fellow Collingwood and British Idealism Centre) and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was formerly Professor and Director of School of European Studies (Cardiff University); Senior Research Fellow on several occasions in Australian National University; visiting Professor at Chinese University Hong Kong; co-Director of the Political Studies Association British Idealism Specialist Group. He is also the former Director of the Political Theory and Ideologies research centre at Sheffield University.

He is the author and co-author of nine books and three edited collections and over seventy articles, including Modern Political Ideologies (1993, 3rd edition, 2010), British Idealism: A Guide to the Perplexed (with David Boucher, 2011), The Nature of Political Theory (winner of the Political Studies Association UK Mackenzie Book prize for best book, 2004) and Nationalism and Particularity (2002), Philosophy, Politics and Citizenship (1984), Theories of the State (1987). He has recently published an article in Political Quarterly entitled: “Ideology and the University” (2011) in reaction to the government’s latest reforms to the Higher Education system.

Lecture Abstract:

For those who have lived through the last few decades in British education, particularly higher education, the changes have been both extensive and profound. In fact for some of those who have taught in universities in Britain between the 1960s and 1990s, the present system in 2011 is barely recognisable in many of its practices. What is not often thought about amidst the cacophony of policies and reforms is why they are happening. Further, we have not really thought critically enough about what has been really driving these changes, to the present day, in the basic everyday structures of university life. The crucial problem is that ideas will often submerge below the surface of actions, policies and events and become an underlying vernacular which is frequently taken for granted. The embryonic ideas can then become difficult to tease out.

The present lecture is an attempt to address some these issues and the underlying ideas in a brief and comprehensible format. Andrew Vincent's primary argument is that it is the subtle movements of certain quite specific political ideas which are at the centre of these social transformations in education. It is, though, a body of ideas which often permeates our ordinary consciousness and is not always clearly or critically articulated. It rather forms an unquestioned backdrop of university activity. A new university system, consciously or not, is being fairly rapidly initiated which will inevitably change the character of what we mean by higher education.

For further details, please contact Dr. Cecile Hatier: c.hatier@wlv.ac.uk