Authors: David John Frank and John W. Meyer
Critics: Anna Kosmützky and Georg Krücken
Moderation: Julian Hamann
The University and the Global Knowledge Society
David John Frank and John Meyer describe how, as the university expanded, student and faculty bodies became larger, more diverse, and more empowered to turn knowledge into action. Their contributions to society underscored the public importance of scholarship, and as the cultural authority of universities grew they increased the scope of their research and teaching interests. As a result, the university has become the bedrock of today’s information-based society, an institution that is now implicated in the solution to every conceivable problem. But, as Frank and Meyer also show, the conditions that helped spur the university’s recent ascendance are not immutable: eruptions of nationalism, authoritarianism, and illiberalism undercut the university’s universalistic and rationalistic premises, and may threaten the centrality of the university itself.
David John Frank is professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and the coauthor of Reconstructing the University. John W. Meyer is professor emeritus of sociology at Stanford University and the coauthor of Hyper-Organization and Science in the Modern World Polity.
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