Skip navigation

Beyond the ‘Postmodern University’

Beyond the ‘Postmodern University’

Donovan, Claire ORCID: 0000-0002-6105-7794 (2013) Beyond the ‘Postmodern University’. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 18 (1). pp. 24-41. ISSN 1084-8770 (Print), 1470-1316 (Online) (doi:

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


As an institution, the “postmodern university” is central to the canon of today's research on higher education policy. Yet in this essay I argue that the postmodern university is a fiction that frames and inhibits our thinking about the future university. To understand why the postmodern university is a fiction, I first turn to grand theory and ask whether we can make sense of the notion of “post”-postmodernity. Second, I turn to the UK higher education sector and show that the postmodern university is a chimera, a modern artefact of competing instrumentalist, gothic, and postmodernist discourses. Third, I discuss competing visions of the future university and find that the progressive (yet modernist) agendas that re-imagine the public value of knowledge production, transmission, and contestation, are those that can move us beyond the palliative and panacea of the postmodern university.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: postmodernity, modernity, university, future university, knowledge production, public value, gothic
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2020 14:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item