Vergangenheit und Zukunft der Universitäten (BW)

Aus Philo Wiki
Version vom 31. Oktober 2008, 11:49 Uhr von H.A.L. (Diskussion | Beiträge) (syntax, add backlink)
(Unterschied) ← Nächstältere Version | Aktuelle Version (Unterschied) | Nächstjüngere Version → (Unterschied)
Wechseln zu:Navigation, Suche

Exzerpte aus Robin Cowan: Universities and the Knowledge Economy

Introduction

The simplest rationale for the existence of a publicly funded university is that it provides some form of public good. If all the outputs of a university were privately owned, and privately appropriable, there would be no need for public funding. Either firms would fund the research and training which could be internalized by themselves, or students could fund the teaching through higher future earnings. Consequently, one way to pose the issue of the future role of universities is to ask what public goods they can provide that cannot be provided in other ways.

There are many possible types of answers to this question, and different answers receive emphasis at different moments in history. Over most of the modern period, though, we can observe one function of the universities that has been dominant, and ongoing, lasting until some time in the twentieth century. In "The University in Ruins", Bill Readings coins the phrase "the university of culture". Readings argues that the modern university system builds directly on the writings of Humbolt and the German Idealists who were very explicit about the social role of the university. The argument is that universities are uniquely placed to provide a sense of national culture. By studying and teaching the social and cultural history of a nation, this culture is extended through time. Where this is valuable, and how we can see this as a public good, is in the way it conditions the citizens of a nation.


It is very important to notice one other thing in this respect, which is that while the state was funding the university, it was the university that was defining the nation or state, and not vice versa. The university itself studied, and thereby defined the culture that was being promulgated, but it also determined how that promulgation took place. Those funding the university had a minimal role in directing it. This independence between the funding and the details of the activities has been extremely important for the system as a whole.

Diese Vorstellung scheint mir sehr idealistisch und die Realität in keinster Weise wiederzugeben. Zumindest für die Universitäten Wien und Graz, die ich in letzter Zeit bearbeitet habe, findet sich keine Evidenz dafür. Vielmehr ist es so, dass z.B. in Wien mit Theodor Sickel erst 1854!! der erste Protestant auf einen Stuhl berufen wird. Allein dieses Beispiel wirft ein bezeichnendes Licht auf die "kulturelle Freiheit" dieser Institution.

Sieht man sich die Berufungsvorgänge im Detail an, wird klar, dass sowohl Weltanschauung, wie religiöse Konfession genau vom zuständigen Ministerium beleuchtet und notfalls ein Veto eingelegt wurde. Auch die strenge Anknüpfung der Universität an die Kirche als Relikt des Stiftungsgedankens, ist in diesem Zusammenhang relevant, wie Martin Seiler in seinem Manifest der österreichischen Philosophie ausführt: " Der kirchliche Charakter der Wiener Universität zeigte sich besonders schön an dem Kanzleramt, das traditionell der Domprobst von St. Stephan als Vertreter des Erzbischofs bekleidete (bis 1873). Zugleich verhinderte dieser Charakter einer geistlichen Korporation, daß akademische Ehrenstellen und Würden, wie das Amt des Rektors oder Dekans, und damit der Eintritt in das Universitätskonsistorium, an Nichtkatholiken gelangen konnte. Prominentes Beispiel Hermann Bonitz, dessen Wahl zum Dekan der philosophischen Fakultät im Sommer 1851 von Minister Thun aufgehoben werden mußte, da die Universität effektiv "nicht aus dem kirchlichen Verbande gelöst worden sei", wie das theologische Professorenkollegium formaljuristisch korrekt einwandte." Martin Seiler, Das "Manifest der österreichischen Philosophie". Die Materialien Kurt Blaukopfs über die Berufung Robert Zimmermanns an die Universität Wien (1860-1861), im Spiegel von Philosophiegeschichte, Universitätsreform, Berufungspolitik, staatlicher Religions- und Konfessionsgesetzgebung und Verfassungsgeschichte. Hier der ganze Text

Details zu den anderen deutschsprachigen Universitäten sind mir im Moment nicht bekannt, doch dürfte sich die Situation durch die Ähnlichkeiten in den Gründungs- und Stiftungsgedanken wohl nicht allzusehr von den Vorgängen in Wien und Graz unterscheiden.

Ich will hier jedoch keineswegs bestreiten, das es nicht auch eine kulturelle Beeinflussung der Öffentlichkeit durch die Universitäten gegeben hat und gibt. Dies ist jedoch aus den Attitüden (und deren Wandlungen, vgl. z.B. Franz Brentano) der Universitätsangehörigen einsichtiger erklärbar, als aus dem intentierten Charakter der Universitäten selbst. Dennoch bleibt es bis heute eine beliebte Argumentationsfigur, vor allem aus der introspektiven Sicht der Universitäten und ihren Angehörigen, von der Freiheit der Universität und ihrer Lehre zu schwärmen (man beachte die Inschrift im Aufgang des Neuen Institutsgebäudes). Doch entstammt diese Figur eher einer Feuerbach´schen Projektion, denn der Realität.--Koe 09:05, 26. Jan 2007 (CET)


This is a description of the universities until sometime in the middle of the twentieth century. But since then, the university of culture has been disintegrating. The role of the university is no longer to provide the next generation of good citizens. Part of the reason is that this role builds and is built upon, a relatively strong presence of nation-states. But as internationalization proceeds apace, the place of the nation-state recedes. We see this economically in the rise of the trans-national corporation which have become of the size of nations, and in international currency flows which are of the size of the GDP of nations. We see this socially through large international migrations. And we see this in the universities, particularly obviously in the "culture wars", in which violent arguments, particularly in the English-speaking world, erupted about the definition of the culture we are studying. Fights over tradition and canon were essentially about the definition of "the culture", and the existence of these fights indicates that the existence of a culture that defines a nation can no longer be taken for granted. The university of culture is no more.

Linear model

In the bad old days innovation was viewed as a linear process, and was described using "the linear model". The general idea was that basic R&D provides the foundational knowledge for applied R&D, which provides the foundational knowledge for innovation, which then becomes a good to be diffused to users. The process is linear, with one stage feeding the next, and it is uni-directional. On this model, the role of universities was clear. It was to do the basic R&D, thereby providing the foundational knowledge, information, data, instrumentation and so on, on which the entire rest of the innovation edifice is built. In terms of public goods, the role is also clear. Knowledge is a public good (Arrow, 1962; Nelson, 1959) and so basic R&D, being the most widely applicable of all types of knowledge, will be severely under-supplied by the market. Problems of extensibility and appropriation will deter firms from producing this type of knowledge. Given its importance to the entire system, it had better be provided publicly.

The system model of innovation, sometimes known as the National Innovation Systems model, emphasizes that there are many different types of actors or institutions which contribute information or knowledge to the innovation process, and that information flows in many directions between many different types of agents. In the this model, many agents matter, and they matter in many ways. But if we say, with just a little bit of exaggeration, that when thinking about innovation "everything matters", it is quite natural to ask, "Does anything matter more than anything else?", or "Does everything, as input, matter for everything, as output?"

Where it differs in a very important way is that in the system model the university can take in knowledge and information from many different sources. In the original linear model by contrast, it appeared as if knowledge was generated in the universities without any inputs from the outside. In this regard, the systems model was a much better representation of university research (of which more below). But pushing hard the line that universities are a source of knowledge an information for other actors, the justification of the university system becomes the applicable knowledge it feeds to innovators.

Asking this question, and asserting as part of the answer that universities have a crucial role, invites difficulties for the justification of public support for the university. The reason is that by making a claim that universities are important players in a system of innovation, we are implicitly making the claim that the university has an economic role, and thus its support can be justified by economic arguments. By emphasising that universities play this role we move away from the cultural or social justification of the university, arguing that it makes a strong contribution to wealth generation, and over time, the contribution seems to be, in the arguments at least, more and more direct. We are inviting the removal of the protection of universities from the economic sphere.

Innovation ignored

The activity I refer to is "reflection". The university is the only place in modern society in which non-teleological reflection is institutionalized. Part of the role of the university has been to provide a location in which members of the society could reflect on what the society is doing, to discuss any issue thought pressing, without reference to any outside constraints or goals. It provided a place for thought that was insulated both from the political process and from the market. It was a place in which the phrase "Let's stop and think." was a sort of a trump card. Any issue can be worthy of careful, deliberate, unrushed discussion and analysis, and the university was a place in which this activity was revered. This idea, that somewhere, someone should be able to resist any pressures to treat an issue either quickly, or with a particular frame of reference, or even with a particular outcome in mind, was considered a fundamental part of a well-functioning society, and was built into the university ethos.

What goes hand in hand with this is a concern for truth. In the university setting, in principle, the truth trumps everything. When faced with a choice between action motivated by truth, either seeking it or acting upon it, and action driven by some other motive, the former is lexicographically preferred. Obviously, people can be mistaken about the truth, believing things that are not in fact true. But within the university setting, this is not an issue. Pursuit of, and statements about beliefs of truth are meant to be the dominant currency. There is no other institution in society in which this is the case. And it seems patently obvious to me at least, that this is a valuable function.

Kontexte

Besser Wissen (Vorlesung Hrachovec, 2006/07)

Besuch bei der alten Dame

Das Demokratiedilemma (OSP) (Vorlesung Hrachovec 2008/09)