chapter  4
Axes of the Imagination
Pages 13

Introduction Our opening reflection in this inquiry was that the range of ideas through which we commonly understand the university is hopelessly impoverished. It is unduly narrow and it is largely without hope that there might be ideas of the university beyond those current in the public domain. Actually, to speak of ideas in the public domain is be overly generous, for there is merely a hazy constellation of sentiments emerging – an imaginary indeed – in which the university is coming to be associated with the economic sphere at the personal, national and global levels; and the market is present at each of these levels within these sentiments. In this marketisation, as each university is challenged to identify its own mission, the very idea of the university thins and even threatens to dissolve. Any connection between the ideas of ‘university’ and ‘universality’ is also dissolving as the university becomes excessively parochial, attending to its own impact on its region, and its engagement with the potential employers of its own graduates.