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Mutant NeoliberalismMarket Rule and Political Rupture$
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William Callison and Zachary Manfredi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285716

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285716.001.0001

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“Innovation” Discourse and the Neoliberal University: Top Ten Reasons to Abolish Disruptive Innovation

“Innovation” Discourse and the Neoliberal University: Top Ten Reasons to Abolish Disruptive Innovation

(p.244) Nine “Innovation” Discourse and the Neoliberal University: Top Ten Reasons to Abolish Disruptive Innovation
Mutant Neoliberalism

Christopher Newfield

Fordham University Press

Innovation is a core neoliberal economic strategy, and the research university is a privileged site for its incubation and practice. Most senior university officials believe that the university’s stature, funding, and fate depend on maintaining its reputation as a primary innovation source and look to purge elements that do not appear to fit that purpose. This chapter argues that this neoliberal policy agenda is, in effect, fighting the latest and possibly the last economic war. The chapter begins with a brief intellectual history of innovation as a business concept, focusing on the development and influence of Clayton Christensen’s innovation theory. It then offers a critical analysis of the role of innovation in the contemporary global research university. In turn, it presents the argument of Giovanni Arrighi and others that the “Western development pathway” has reached a hard limit. Finally, the chapter posits that the sustainable, post-neoliberal economy-to-come will depart from the current pathway by replacing energy-intensive technology with skilled and educated labor.

Keywords:   Giovanni Arrighi, Clayton Christensen, critical university studies, higher education, innovation, governance, labor, management, neoliberalism, university

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