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Higher Education As a Public Good

Critical Perspectives on Theory, Policy and Practice


Ourania Filippakou and Gareth Williams

Higher education is likely to involve the majority of people at some time in their lives in the twenty-first century. The main drivers of expansion in the previous century were a belief that widening access promotes social equity and the advance of knowledge as the main factor underpinning economic success for individuals and societies. However, universal higher education in rapidly changing economies raises many questions that have been inadequately treated by previous authors. This volume focuses on the question of whether it is appropriate and inevitable that higher education systems are becoming so large and so diverse that the only realistic way they can be analysed is as aggregates of market-like transactions. Most of the authors are not satisfied with this conclusion, but they recognise, from several disciplinary perspectives, that it is no longer possible to take it for granted that higher education is intrinsically a public good. Are there convincing alternatives?
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataHigher education as a public good: critical perspectives on theory, policy and practice / edited by Ourania Filippakou, Gareth Williams. pages cm. — (Global studies in education; Vol. 27)Includes bibliographical references and index.1. Education, Higher—Philosophy. 2. College teaching—Philosophy.3. Common good—Philosophy. I. Filippakou, Ourania, editor of compilation.II. Williams, Gareth L., editor of compilation.LB2322.2.H51984  378.001—dc23  2014017281ISBN 978-1-4331-2166-1 (hardcover)ISBN 978-1-4331-2165-4 (paperback)ISBN 978-1-4539-1269-0 (e-book)ISSN 2153-330XBibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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