chapter  2
UNIVERSITIES AS PLACES OF LEARNING
Pages 16

Th ere is a vast literature on what are seen to be the multiple crises currently facing universities. Some of that literature locates those perceived crises within a wider context of fi scal policies (and their managerialist spin-off s) relating to the public and non-profi t-making sectors and to the deep intertwining of these policies and the ever encroaching demands of the private sector. Occasionally, such informed discussion, when for example it focuses on issues of access and participation, touches on broader questions of inclusion and equity. Rarely, however, does the literature seek to trace the perceived crises of the university back to their roots in what I take to be the real crisis facing civil society: the crisis, that is, of democracy and of how the university may or may not fi nd ways of (as Habermas, 1971, puts it) ‘asserting itself within the democratic process’. Th is chapter sets about that largely neglected but vitally important task.