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Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
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Collier, Richard --- "We're All Socio-Legal Now?' Legal Education, Scholarship and the 'Global Knowledge Economy' Reflections on the UK Experience" [2004] SydLawRw 25; (2004) 26(4) Sydney Law Review 503

‘We’re All Socio-Legal Now?’ Legal Education, Scholarship and the ‘Global Knowledge Economy’ — Reflections on the UK Experience



Within scholarship in the field of higher education there appears to be a general consensus that we are, internationally, living in a ‘new era’ for universities; a time when traditional understandings of what universities are ‘for’, and of the scope of academic disciplines themselves, are each being reshaped in some far-reaching ways. There is at present a growing debate taking place within the legal academic community, across jurisdictions, as to the possible implications for legal research and teaching of a number of these developments. In the UK context it also appears that there are some very different interpretations emerging as to what these changes might mean for university law schools, legal education and, in particular, for socio-legal scholarship. This article seeks to explore the main contours of this debate; to identify the key themes and concerns which have emerged within this growing literature on the ‘restructured’ university and the knowledge economy; and, in particular, to consider the extent to which, if at all, these developments have impacted on — and are fundamentally changing — the field of legal education and scholarship in the UK. In recognising the complexity and frequently ‘double-edged’ nature of many of the recent developments in this area, and in looking to issues of recruitment, retention and research capacity within the legal academy, the article argues that there may indeed be good reasons to suggest that the development of (critical) socio-legal scholarship, at least within many UK law schools, may face a troubled and uncertain future.

1. Introduction
Somebody told you, and you hold it as an article of faith, that higher education is an unassailable good. This notion is so dear to you that when I question it you become angry. Good. Good, I say. Are those not the very things which we should question? I say college education, since the war, has become so a matter of course, such a fashionable necessity, for those either of or aspiring to the new vast middle class, that we espouse it, as a matter of right, and have ceased to ask, ‘What is it good for?’[1]

There are, at present, clear signs of a growing debate taking place within the legal academic community in the UK about the possible implications for legal research and teaching of a number of developments taking place in the field of higher education;[2] changes in what has been termed the ‘political economy’[3] in which academic research is produced. There exists, within the now considerable body of scholarship concerned with higher education, a general consensus that we are, internationally, living in a ‘new era’ for universities;[4] a time when traditional understandings of what universities are ‘for’, and the scope of academic disciplines themselves, are each being reshaped in far-reaching ways. The debate in legal studies in the UK around these issues is, perhaps, less established than in other fields of scholarship.[5] It is also arguably less developed than has been the case in some other jurisdictions.[6] It does appear, however, judging by a number of recent interventions,[7] that some very different interpretations are emerging as to what these developments might mean for university law schools, legal education and, in particular, for socio-legal scholarship.[8] This article seeks to explore the contours of this debate, to identify the key themes and concerns which have emerged within the recent literature on the ‘restructured’ university and the knowledge economy, and in particular, to consider the extent to which (if at all) these developments have impacted on — and changed — the field of legal education and scholarship in the UK.

A. A Note of Caution: The UK University Law School

The history of legal education and scholarship has been the subject of a vast body of work[9] and I do not want to repeat the arguments which have been made for ‘taking the law school seriously’.[10] A theoretically and methodologically diverse scholarship has explored many aspects of university law schools.

For example, the practices and cultures which exist within the legal academic community, pedagogical issues relating to teaching,[11] the changing experiences and aspirations of law students[12] and, more recently, aspects of what has been termed the ‘private lives’ of legal academics themselves,[13] a debate which has embraced in its reach questions of equity, discrimination and power. It is important to note at the outset, however, that to talk about the university law school is misleading. There is no ‘one’ type of university law school and it is, accordingly, difficult to generalise about the effects of a particular reform process in the field of Higher Education. Legal education and research into law and legal regulation take place in locations other than universities and their law schools.[14] UK law schools themselves vary greatly in terms of institutional contexts, academic reputations and the functions they are seen to have within distinctive legal, political, local and wider communities.[15] UK law teachers are equally diverse.[16]

Nonetheless, and notwithstanding the above, it is possible to chart a number of developments which, I wish to argue in this article, have impacted across the Higher Education sector in the UK — and the effects of which have been felt, although by no means necessarily in the same way, across all university law schools.[17] In order to do so it is necessary to consider, first, the arguments which have emerged within the recent literature concerned with the nature of what has been termed the ‘restructured’ university.

2. The Restructured University and the Knowledge Economy
British universities have seldom been more miserable. They are short of money. Government micro-management is intrusive and contradictory. And competition forces them to do things they dislike.[18]

The relationship between British universities and the wider political economy, Hillyard and Sim suggested in their 1997 account of socio-legal scholarship, had ‘... not appear[ed] to have been studied systematically’.[19] Less than a decade on there now exists a rich literature concerned with what has been termed, variously, the ‘restructured’, ‘corporatised’ or ‘entrepreneurial’ university. Commodification and privatisation, managerialism, credentialism and bureaucratisation are common themes re-appearing in this work, the ‘key words’ through reference to which a wider debate about the reform of universities in the UK has come to be understood.[20] And at the centre of this debate — one which is taking place across Anglophone countries — is one central and recurring notion: that of the global knowledge economy.[21] It is in relation to this idea that universities have been positioned as key ‘strategic sites’ in relation to which the impact of a range of processes associated with globalisation might usefully be studied.[22]

Globalisation itself is, of course, a deeply contested notion, historically and conceptually.[23] It has been generally understood within this recent work on university restructuring, however, to be a phenomenon associated centrally with the idea of a ‘borderless’ world economy;[24] with the flow and instantaneous sharing of information (whether of ideas/knowledge, capital and/or financial services) and the ‘compression of time and space’ seen to have arisen at the interface of technological advance and political, economic and cultural change. There are four key processes or interrelated themes which, taken together, have come to structure this emerging debate about the impact of globalisation on universities.[25] I will address each in turn as they relate to the changes which are presently taking place in UK universities and, in particular, their law schools.

A. Privatisation: The Rise of the Corporatised University
Can a university be run more like a business? You bet it can  .... Most universities can do a significant job of cutting costs through the same reengineering of processes and work that have characterized the best for-profit corporations.[26]

The consequences for universities of a range of political imperatives aimed at shifting public policy away from (ill-defined, contested) ideas of ‘social good’ towards the reduction of public expenditure have been well-documented within the literature on Higher Education over the past two decades. The issues addressed within the more recent work on the privatising of universities cannot be confined, however, to the question of core sector funding, however important this has been in structuring the increasingly high-profile debate about university reform in the UK. This literature has embraced diverse issues about the kinds of activities in which universities can, and should, engage. What marks the entrepreneurial university, it has been argued, is an explicit redirection, experienced at all levels of the institution, towards an ‘intensified emphasis’ on the capitalisation and exploitation of learning and ‘knowledge practices’. Slaughter and Leslie[27] neatly summarise this theme in their account of the ‘far-reaching implications’ of the corporatisation of universities for the ‘academic capitalists’[28] who, they suggest, now increasingly work in them. In addition to the ‘constricting of moneys available for discretionary activities such as post-secondary education’[29] (as above), they identify across the sector the ‘growing centrality of technoscience and fields closely involved with markets, particularly international markets’;[30] a ‘tightening relationship’ between ‘multinational corporations and state agencies concerned with product development and innovation’,[31] and the ‘increased focus of multinationals and established industrial countries on global intellectual property strategies’.[32]

The term corporatisation has been used in this literature to capture the central idea that what has occurred has been a heightened interconnection between the objectives, goals and practices of the business and academic worlds. This is particularly clear in the apparent consensus which now exists amongst politicians, policy-makers and senior university managers in the UK that the economic, political and social transformation of the ‘knowledge base’ of society is an increasingly important source of value within advanced capitalist economies. Developing an understanding of the dynamics of corporatisation on universities cannot, however, Polster suggests, be seen simply in terms of an ‘add-on’ to the university, ‘such that after their establishment one has the old university plus these links’. Corporate links are, rather, more accurately understood as an add-into the university, producing qualitative and far-reaching changes in the institution and the practices of academics themselves. In turn, these changes then pervade many aspects of the university, not least in terms of its overarching culture, operating practices, funding systems and reward structures.[33]

In the UK the processes of privatisation, as above, have been evident not simply in the growing move towards a ‘user-pays’ system of Higher Education. They have also informed the way in which faculties, schools and individual academics have each been increasingly charged with redirecting their energies towards the capitalisation and exploitation of learning and readjusting the focus of their endeavours by engaging, for example, in such practices as the creation of ‘spin-off companies’, patents and innovation development, partnering with industries and applying their ‘knowledge products’ to the needs of the business community. In the case of law schools, securing further income streams, whether from Continuing Professional Development or ‘third-strand’ ‘outreach’ income-generating activity,[34] is no longer considered marginal to what many university legal academics ‘do’. It is, rather, a central part of the work of public universities,[35] a core academic activity with promotion and appointment criteria adjusted accordingly so as to reflect the institutional importance of income generation and ‘business development’.

At this institutional level the ‘new reality’ facing UK law schools is particularly clear in the way in which, as Thornton observes, ‘ managers have accepted that they must enter the market’,[36] ‘...must have a product packaged under a brand name that is going to be attractive to consumers’.[37] Performance-driven tables, (seemingly always contested) hierarchies and rankings of achievement, marketing awards and corporate ‘branding’ abound as UK universities — and their law schools — compete for new resources and income streams. For some, however, one consequence of this ‘privatisation thrust’ and the associated drive to commercially sponsored research has been an undermining of what had once appeared to be well-established intellectual traditions and practices, not least in the way in which each have been seen as putting at risk both ‘disinterested inquiry’[38] and academic standards.[39] At the same time, and bound up with these processes, what is seen to have resulted is, more generally, a reduction in the public and critical role of universities and scholars — a further erosion of the status of academics in the UK as ‘public intellectuals’.

B. The (Legal) Academic as Knowledge Worker: What Are Universities For?
Perpetuating the life of scholarship for its own sake is no longer an acceptable mission statement, nor is the delivery of inaccessible knowledge from the secret garden of academic seclusion to a grateful public.

In repositioning academics as individuals for whom knowledge is no longer primarily valuable ‘in and of itself’ — it is, rather, a commodity, a resource to help create wealth and competitive advantage — the idea of useful knowledge has moved centre stage within the debate about university reform and restructuring in the UK.[41] In May 2003 the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, declared his wish to ‘...initiate a fundamental debate about the purpose of universities’ in his remarks[42] that certain subjects being taught in UK universities lacked ‘use value’ because they did not bring with them clear economic gain (and thus could not be justified in terms of state funding). These subjects did not, he suggested, map to the government’s agenda of promoting employability within the competitive global knowledge economy.[43] They failed, that is, to meet the criteria of ‘value for money’ in the cost-effective delivery of education and research. On closer inspection, far from simply ‘prompting’ a debate[44] (a rather disingenuous observation at the time) these comments simply drew on, and contributed to, the now well-established debate within the social sciences and humanities around the impact of corporatisation on the very idea of the ‘university’. Via the citation of Newman, Halsey, Readings and others,[45] this is a debate which has focused on the question of whether operating universities like businesses does involve a change in the epistemological foundations of what has been traditionally understood as the westernised, humanistic university ideal.[46]

If the processes of privatisation and the idea of the new ‘knowledge worker’ appear symbiotically linked, however, this still leaves open the question of how, at an organisational level, such changes have been instituted within specific institutional contexts. It is in this context that the idea of ‘new managerialism’ has itself attracted a growing degree of attention within the literature on university restructuring.

C. Instituting Change: The New Managerialism
What makes academic life a pleasure is not just what we do, research and teaching, but the atmosphere in which we do it. What makes academic life a pleasure is the practice of collegiate governance  ... the notion that everyone in the law school is bound together in common enterprise with an equal say in its overall direction and an equal responsibility for its success or failure.[47]

The structural reform of higher education in the UK can be seen, Cuthbert[48] has suggested, as the product of ‘High’ and ‘Low’ frequency interventions each aimed at transforming the form and the content of both individual academic and management practices. As in other countries, UK tertiary education has over the past two decades experienced political interventions aimed at producing a ‘leaner’, more flexible, cost-efficient and accountable sector (as above);[49] and, at the local level, the UK has recently experienced, with an increasing frequency, an explicitly entrepreneurially-driven ‘repositioning’ — in the form of an organisational restructuring — of a number of ‘old’ civic universities. It is in the context of ‘how to’ institute organisational change that the term corporate managerialism has come to encapsulate a number of key themes associated with privatisation and the knowledge economy, denoting significant shifts in both the content, style, structure and nomenclature of management practices.[50]

UK universities have in recent years experienced, for example:

• the establishment of more ‘streamlined’ central administrations, a process which has involved a greater managerial control over spending and newly introduced ‘flexible’ staffing practices;

• the embrace of ‘downsizing’ packages, involving the voluntary and, at times, compulsory redundancies of academic and, in particular, support staff;[51]

• a move away from models of decision-making hitherto broadly perceived as collegial and towards the empowering of a senior executive management elite within the central university administration;[52]

• a managerial drive towards the standardisation of practice across teaching, assessment and research management, a process involving what Parker and Jary have referred to as aspects of the ‘McDonaldization’ of the university;[53]

• the re-evaluation of job gradings and structures; and, finally

• the widespread embrace of what Yeatman has termed the ‘new contractualism’ in universities, whereby social relationships in Higher Education generally are now understood, increasingly, to be based on the demands of the market and ‘top down’ managerial imperatives.[54]

Each of the above relate to the dynamics of instituting change at the level of the university as an organisation. It is the idea of performativity, however, that has been central to developing an understanding of the impact of these changes for the individual academic.

D. Measuring Performance: Accountability, Audit and Academic Identity

UK Universities have, over the past two decades, been subject to a diverse and extensive range of accountability and quality assurance mechanisms and assessments in relation to both teaching and research.[55] It is in this context that the idea of ‘performativity’ has come to link the processes of privatisation and the imperatives of the new knowledge economy, as detailed above, to the question of how particular changes have been instituted in the behaviour of individual academics. Drawing on Lyotard’s use of the term ‘logic of performativity’[56] this concept has been used to describe the way both individual academics and the universities in which they work have come to be judged, across a range of areas, on the basis of their performance, as measured against an input/output equation in such a way as to determine notions of efficiency and inefficiency against pre-determined criteria (for example, research income, number and quality of publications, number of research students and so forth). The appeal of performativity matrices for senior management seeking to institute change is, as Currie and Thornton have both observed, not hard to understand: as soon as performance indicators are set, and the formula is put into the computer, data can be entered from each academic/school and aggregated, with funds distributed accordingly. The system itself appears ‘objective’.[57]

The performativity of academics has come, notwithstanding any wider critique which may have emerged of this kind of model of assessment,[58] to pervade numerous aspects of university life at the beginning of the 21st century. UK universities have experienced, for example:[59]

• the introduction of compulsory written statements about work completed and future objectives;

• the introduction of ‘time management’ and ‘transparency review’ evaluations;

• the rise of the student evaluation of courses and lecture programs;[60]

• a revising of staff appraisal and staff development practices;[61]

• and, perhaps with greater impact than any other measure, the assessment of the performance of academics in terms of their research productivity in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The details of the assessment criteria which will govern the next RAE in 2008 are, at the time of writing, unclear and subject to consultation. The various RAEs which have taken place since 1986 are, however, now widely agreed to have transformed the culture of universities and to have embodied, in a particularly pure form, the spirit and ethos of individual and collective ‘performativity’.[62] It is research performance — increasingly benchmarked internationally — which has become the crucial factor in determining the status, financial health and, in some cases, the very future of the ‘unit of assessment’.[63] And bound up with the RAE, it is argued, has been a far-reaching transformation in the idea of the ‘academic self’ itself as new modes of self-management have become internalised; a process which has, in turn, had physical, emotional and intellectual consequences[64] for individuals resulting, for example, in a heightened form of individualism within universities (seen as a corollary of the breakdown of collegiality)[65] and the rise of workplace cultures marked by ‘... the relentless promotion of the self’.[66] Individual academics in the UK exist increasingly in competition — in the name of efficiency and effectiveness — not just with scholars in other Schools and Faculties, but also with colleagues in their own institutions over the securing of esteem indicators and, importantly, of the space and time in which it might be possible to produce research in the first place. At the same time, and related to the above, there has occurred a reframing of what it means to be a ‘successful’ academic, an issue which has redrawn understandings of the trajectory of the university career (traditionally, the transition from lecturer–senior lecturer/reader-professor).[67] The implications of this latter issue are, perhaps, just beginning to be thought through as a bifurcation grows between the role of the ‘jobbing’ professoriate and senior university management.[68]

3.‘We’re All Socio-Legal Now?’ Legal Research, the Liberal Law School and the Limits of the Corporatisation Thesis

A core and recurring theme within the literature outlined above has been the argument that the corporatisation of universities has brought with it a redirection of academic activities — a move away from the (traditional) pursuit of ‘disinterested knowledge’ and towards the capitalisation and exploitation of learning and ‘knowledge practices’. What resulted from this process, it has been argued, is a growing pressure on, and a marginalisation of, the space and place of those who might seek to engage in a critical social science scholarship within universities.[69] This central proposition has recently been advanced by a growing number of scholars working in the legal academy, both in the UK and internationally, who have become concerned about the potential problems facing those in university law schools engaged in ‘unprofitable  ... political ... or theoretical’ research.[70] Yet it is necessary to consider at this stage just how valid this argument actually is in the case of law teaching and legal research in the UK. Does the ‘corporatisation thesis’, as above, accurately reflect what has actually happened in university law schools over the past 20 years?

It is possible, in marked contrast to the above, to present a rather different interpretation of what these developments may have meant for legal education and scholarship in the UK and, in particular, for socio-legal studies. There exists a central narrative — a ‘story’ — about legal education and university law schools from the 1960s to the present day which stands in marked contrast to the picture of research and teaching presented within the corporatisation thesis. A story which, far from there being any marginalisation of critical socio-legal research, suggests that what has in fact occurred over this period has been a ‘breaking out’ of the study of law from ‘... the sterile technocratic straitjacket that [had] accompanied and facilitated [the] postwar expansion of universities’.[71] In essence, it has been argued within legal studies in the UK at the present moment that the majority, if not all, university law schools can now be characterised as embracing a broadly ‘liberal’, pluralistic approach to legal education and scholarship. Or, as it has been put by Bradney, what the majority of university law students study in, and what legal scholars teach and research in, is a ‘liberal law school’[72] — an institution marked by methodological and epistemological diversity; a commitment to a distinctive academic (as opposed to vocational) stage of legal education; a less deferential relation to the legal profession and legal hierarchy than has existed in the past; and, importantly, an institutional acceptance of original, often interdisciplinary, legal research. Whilst for some it may be the case that socio-legal studies simply ‘stands alongside’[73] the ‘still dominant’ approach of black-letter law, for others, in contrast, it is socio-legal studies itself which now constitutes the dominant approach to scholarship in UK law schools.[74]

The above presents a picture of contemporary legal scholarship which appears to ill-fit many aspects of the argument made above regarding the consequences of the rise of the ‘entrepreneurial university’; and there are (at least) four arguments which can be made to support this very different interpretation of what the changes which have taken place in Higher Education may have meant for law schools, legal academics and for socio-legal studies in the UK.

A. Continuity, Equity and the Nature of Work

It is important, firstly, not to overstate the argument about ‘what has changed’ in universities. There are considerable historical continuities in seeing links between universities and commercial interests. The core university/economy nexus is itself far from new. The conflict between alternative images of universities as businesses and repositories of disinterested scholarship has a long history and was a matter of debate even at the purported high-point of social liberalism in the 1960s.[75] Yet leaving aside the pragmatic issue of what, at a managerial level, could be seen as the logic of economic necessity informing the institutional embrace of reform,[76] it is all too easy to set up a critique of change and, in so doing, look at the past through, as it were, ‘rose-coloured glasses’. Halsey and Trow’s typical ‘British Academic’[77] in 1971 was, for example, in all likelihood white, male and middle-class. The form of community in which he participated was itself marked by what Hearn has characterised as a ‘white middle-class, male collegiality’.[78] It is this ‘liberal’ autonomous regime of the old universities — of a ‘managerial control, largely by men, and largely of men’ — which has, on this view, been disrupted by the new managerial controls from government and the equity agendas with which they have been associated.[79] In short, the changes which have taken place may have actually opened out a university system hitherto based on patronage, elitism and unaccountability to what are — for all their limitations (see below) — far more egalitarian processes and cultures in relation to such areas as recruitment and promotion.[80]

At the same time privatisation measures and the associated drivers of internal and external competition have, over the past (at least) 25 years, been introduced across diverse organisational contexts. A range of institutions — to an arguably far greater degree than has been the case with British universities — have been encouraged to behave in ‘market-like’ ways.[81] Processes of downsizing, audit and concerns about deprofessionalisation are not confined to the academy and, as Beck[82] observes, within the ‘new economy’ work at all levels is characterised by a lack of conceptual clarity and inequality.[83] Many of the changes which have taken place in universities are themselves more complex, contradictory and ‘double-edged’ in their effects than might otherwise appear at first to be the case. For example, far from witnessing any undermining or negation of collegiality[84] within the academy, new technologies have also opened up a range of possibilities and opportunities for legal academics; indeed, new intellectual communities have been formed as a result of the national and global networks developed through the use of the Internet. Equally, whilst the evidence that academic life in the UK is more demanding than it has been in the past may be compelling (below), it is necessary to treat with caution any suggestion that the law school is, per se, a more oppressive and difficult environment in which to work. For both women and men, for example, Bradney argues, academia remains a field of employment unlike any other in the way in which it facilitates the potential management of the ‘inevitable dependencies’ of home and work.[85]

B. Resistance and Contestation in the Law School

Bradney has argued, in his recent book Conversations, Choices and Chance: The Liberal Law School in the Twenty-First Century,[86] that the ‘corporatising tendencies’ discussed above should not be understood as ‘achieved ends’. Rather, he suggests, there is a tendency in some of the literature on corporatisation to engage with macro-processes, and to paint in ‘broad brush strokes’, in such a way as to overplay the impact of a dominant neo-liberal ideology on specific disciplines and individual practices; and, in so doing, to underplay issues of individual and collective resistance to any such changes. Practices and cultures associated with traditional models of the university, for example, may be more structurally embedded within institutions, and more resistant to ‘top down’ reform, than advocates of the corporatisation thesis allow. Equally, as Bradney and Cownie have argued in their respective recent studies of UK law schools,[87] there can be marked differences between what politicians, policy makers and senior university management say law schools should do, and what the academics who work in them actually do.

These issues point to the importance of engaging with the complexity of dialogue, debate and struggle in this area. There is at present in the UK, for example, an ongoing contestation taking place in relation to research and teaching between diverse interests who, undoubtedly, have very different visions of what a university legal education is — and should be — for.[88] In terms of university law schools, however, there does appear to be a degree of consensus about the desirability of defending the ‘liberal’ model of education and research, as described above.[89] Although reforms to the scope and structure of legal education may be sought by elements within the legal community (not least by parts of the legal profession, notably the large commercial law firms) — changes which do map, in their intended effects, to the broad thrust of corporatisation — if anything, Bradney argues,[90] the Law Society for England and Wales and the Bar Council now make requirements of the curriculum less prescriptive than has been the case in the past. In a similar fashion, the institution of a revised regime of audit and accountability introduced in relation to teaching is of a far ‘lighter touch’ than that which had preceded it,[91] a reform precipitated, at least in part, by the hostile reaction the previous system had received from universities, including law schools. Equally, recent developments around the promotion of university links with industry paint a broadly similar picture of resistance and compromise.[92] This, in short, is not a picture of neo-liberalism being simply ‘imposed’ on otherwise passive universities and their law schools.

C. Embracing Diversity: Legal Research and the Law Curriculum

There is, it has been argued, little evidence to support the view that the research agendas and curriculum of UK law schools have become more technocratic and corporatised — at least not in the way that some of the advocates of the restructuring thesis have suggested. Far from being directed to the technocratic needs of the legal profession, ‘research users’ or the economy more generally, for example, the content of contemporary legal research, Bradney argues, reflects a diverse set of research agendas which, ultimately, Cownie suggests, derive from the interests and personal beliefs of individual academics themselves.[93] No one, Bradney states, can ‘tell’ an academic what to do; resistance, as noted above, is always possible (perhaps, it is implied, inevitable for the ‘true’ academic).[94] ‘Servicing the economy’ is thus, on this argument, at best a marginal consideration in terms of what motivates most legal academics. In addition, and for all the continued dominance of the ‘core’ and private law subjects,[95] the contemporary law school curricula in the UK is one in which, generally, contextual, socio-legal, ‘critical’, ‘essentially academic’ subjects abound and continue to prove popular with students, notwithstanding the financial imperatives which undoubtedly inform their choice of degree subjects and future careers.[96]

It cannot be assumed, moreover, that essentially commercial/business orientated subjects are necessarily taught in a way geared to the creation of ‘new knowledge workers’. Bearing in mind the influence of the RAE in this regard — not least in undermining the academic status of the traditional, explanatory doctrinal textbook — there is no reason to presume that the teaching of, say, commercial law or company law is more doctrinal in nature in terms of delivery and assessment methods, and more resistant to theory, than other more traditionally contextual subjects. Both recent empirical work on law schools, and the stated research aims of legal academics themselves within their own published work[97] support what is, at the very least, a more complex picture in this regard; one which, Cownie suggests, indicates that many legal academics do see themselves as engaged in a broadly defined ‘socio-legal’ approach to law, even if it is the case that they are working in areas that they recognise would be seen by others as traditionally doctrinal in nature.

In sum, far from the curriculum of the legal academy being dominated by a technocratic turn, law schools in the UK continue on this view to be methodologically and epistemologically diverse; and, compared with the past, more — not less — open to a range of diverse perspectives and intellectual debates.[98]

D. ‘Getting On’: Socio-Legal Studies and the Changing Academy

Following on from this picture of research and teaching, it is revealing to consider the career trajectories of scholars who have engaged in, or who have been otherwise associated with, socio-legal approaches to law (including those who entered the legal academy during the 1960s and 1970s). As has been noted in relation to other jurisdictions and disciplines, there is a case to be made that ‘once outsiders’ can, over time, ‘become insiders’.[99] Across many UK universities individuals engaged in socio-legal research are now in senior managerial positions within their institutions; key figures, either within central university administrations (as Deans, Faculty Directors of Research, Pro-Vice Chancellors and so forth) or else Heads of law schools. As such, they are in positions to influence, at least to degrees, the future strategic direction of law, both in the university in which they work and in the field of legal education.

This argument can, however, be taken further in the UK context in the light of the development of the RAE. There is reason to believe that legal academics and university law schools have been particularly well placed to reap the benefits of many of the changes described above. Indeed, it has been suggested, the rise of the ‘performative university’ has, if anything, served to advantage the socio-legal scholar, a view certainly supported by one interpretation of the results of the 2001 RAE.[100] Thus, we have seen over the past 15 years the proliferation of new socio-legal journals,[101] the emergence of energetic professional associations and a shifting staff profile in law schools, with the result that there is a now ‘critical mass’ of socio-legal scholars in many, if not all, UK university law schools. As Thornton observes, law generally is still perceived across many universities (internally at least) as falling on the ‘applied’ side of the research equation, and empirical socio-legal studies in particular would in this regard appear to lend itself well to the demands of the new university and new economy (although see further below).[102]

Thus, in the UK, as elsewhere, many law schools have established lucrative links with the legal profession, business and industry, in the form of paid consultancies, continuing professional development courses and other post-degree vocational provision. There is considerable evidence to suggest, in addition, that the introduction of performance matrices, whereby individuals are judged on clear outcomes, as above, has itself well-served not just many socio-legal and critical legal academics, but also the field of legal studies in general. The results of the 2001 RAE indicate that 63 per cent of law units of assessment received the highest 5 or 5* rating (compared, for example, with 21 per cent in the case of Social Policy).[103] It has been estimated that 85 per cent of UK legal academics now work in such ‘top’ rated departments. The RAE results have been widely interpreted as having valued legal research on the basis of its originality and distinctive contribution to knowledge, rather than its ‘use value’. At the same time (and no doubt to the surprise of some who invested considerable energies in such activity) it appeared that external research grant income was not accorded a particularly high priority in determining the grades of individual Units of Assessment in 2001. The spread of law schools in the UK achieving the highest 5* grading in the most recent assessment suggests, moreover, that neither departmental size nor institutional predisposition to contextual, critical work precluded the award of a high rating.[104]

This is, in short, hardly a picture of a discipline under threat. The recent upgrading in the UK of the Arts and Humanities Research Board to the status of a Research Council serves to further signal a commitment to the promotion of the ‘non-applied’ social sciences in UK universities.[105] None of the above is to argue that critical socio-legal scholarship is necessarily accepted or seen as legitimate within every UK law school. It is to suggest, however, that developments have taken place which question aspects of the corporatisation thesis, as outlined in section two. Far from undermining socio-legal studies, the nature of the changing academy described above can be seen to have served to facilitate a more far-reaching and complex transformation in the form, content and scope of legal scholarship.

4.Clouds on the Horizon? Research Capacity, Productivity and Legal Studies: An Uncertain Future
Newman  ...would not have recognized the government’s concept of glorified further education colleges with a sideline in helping local business. There may be a managerial logic in taking this route, but such institutions will find it hard to recruit high-caliber staff or students.[106]

Bradney’s recent account of the ‘liberal law school in the twenty-first century’[107] draws on a formidable body of historical, philosophical and policy-based research. And it is in keeping with the spirit of resistance and contestation which informs his analysis of the legal academy that it is important to recognise the degree and scale of the uncertainty and disagreement which underscores many aspects of the debate now taking place in the UK about university restructuring. I have suggested above that it is certainly possible to present a different reading of what these changes may have meant for law schools and for socio-legal studies. I wish now, by way of drawing this discussion to conclusion, to make two points which do suggest that, notwithstanding the above, there may well be reason to raise concerns about the future development of anything like a distinctively critical socio-legal studies in the UK — although not, I wish to argue, for the kinds of reasons that the corporatisation thesis would, at least on the surface, seem to suggest.

A. Counter-Tendencies: Research, Vocationalism and the Legal Profession

There is evidence to suggest that the various RAEs have served (some) socio-legal scholars well. There is no guarantee, however, that the framing of assessment criteria adopted in the past will take the same form in the future. The details of the 2008 exercise in this respect are, at the time of writing, unclear.[108] It is widely agreed, however, that much will depend on what will be considered to be the appropriate performance indicators for each discipline. If it were to transpire, for example, that external grant income is a key measure of research productivity it is likely that many UK law schools (and, certainly, the smaller–medium sized institutions) would stand the risk of being seen as weak in terms of their research performance.[109] At the same time there exists, we have seen above, powerful internal organisational imperatives across many UK universities arising from senior management to engage with business and industry, maximise ‘third strand’ income and embrace applied research agendas. Meanwhile the kinds of ‘messages’ being conveyed at an institutional level within the dominant cultural economy in which universities now operate (for example, by Faculty Research Committees, by some School Research Directors) — not least regarding what is seen to constitute a ‘gold standard’ (RAE acceptable) publication outlet — further runs the danger of entrenching established hierarchies of journals, publishers and institutions in such a way as to marginalise work published in overtly critical, less established media. The parameters of ‘acceptable’ research, in short, are not fixed, and it seems beyond question that internal pressures are now being placed on many legal academics in the context of the corporatised university which militate towards the promotion of an expectation that ‘... [research] results should point to clear and direct policy implications’.[110]

In the case of law schools, and running alongside the above, it is important not to downplay the power of those constituencies who are, in a political and economic climate of apparent neo-liberal hegemony, seeking to promote and institute the broader corporatisation of the law school curricula. For all the robust defence of liberal legal education made by writers such as Bradney there is reason to believe that the influence of the legal profession on law schools — and of the large city and corporate provincial firms in particular — is considerable and may be growing.[111] And this, importantly, is not just a matter of the control and regulation of the curriculum via accreditation requirements, in relation to which the profession has recently been ‘pushing for change’.[112] Rather, it is the cultural relationship between the university law school and the legal profession which is — in the context of an increasingly privatised and marketised Higher Education sector — shifting in more subtle ways. As the twin pincers of privatisation and widening participation lead to ever higher levels of student debt, it is perhaps unsurprising that the large firms should hold a powerful appeal for many law students. The elite status of these firms has long meant they have, as Lee observes, an almost ‘...magnetic quality’ in attracting the ‘... most highly qualified candidates from the most prestigious institutions’.[113] The influence of corporate legal employment, however, and of the ethic of corporate endeavour they embody, cannot be confined to questions of student recruitment; nor to the way ‘cash-strapped’ law schools now increasingly seek the ‘grace and favour’ of firms in the form of potential alumni donations, sponsorship of academic posts, student competitions and so forth.[114]

Rather, the wider processes of corporatisation are, as Thornton puts it, themselves helping to shift ‘... the orientation and purpose of universities generally from intellectual inquiry to instrumentalism and vocationalism’.[115] There has occurred an added impetus to the drive towards a more practice-centred and market-oriented model of legal education.[116] Many UK law school cultures and practices have, of course, historically facilitated the gravitation of considerable, although by no means all, numbers of law students to commercial/business-oriented subjects as the embodiments of ‘real’ and, in career terms, ‘useful’ law. The logic of privatisation, however, along with the cutting back, in some institutions at least, of non-core ‘luxury’ courses, can be seen to facilitate a further reorientation within the law curricula towards commercial-oriented subjects and practical skills — now widely seen as the particularly ‘salable’ features of the law curricula within an international market. Law students (as fee-paying consumers or customers), their parents (increasingly)[117] and the legal profession — positioned as key legitimate ‘stakeholders’ in the contemporary law school — each appear concerned to promote a model of legal education which will produce, if not credentialised proto-lawyers, then at least individual ‘knowledge workers’ able to start earning as much as possible, just as soon as they graduate.[118]

It is in such a context that there are signs that the ‘purely academic’ is indeed being positioned as less attuned to the dominant economic, cultural and political climate and ‘...the populist message of neoliberalism ...that one should not waste time on knowledge lacking use value’.[119] Whilst it is the case that the majority of UK undergraduate university law students do not go on to practice law and ‘...are not all able to obtain positions as practicing lawyers, the institutional aspiration that they will do so remains a powerful influence on the inclusion of an increasingly marketised curriculum. [Emphasis added.][120] The perceived graduate employment needs of the profession, and the demand for market-attractive and increasingly international focused courses, itself appears to feed through to considerations of law school staffing, with all the related implications that this has for recruitment and retention strategies at the level of the institution.

B. Staffing the Law School: A ‘Coming Crisis’?
The declines in salary, status and autonomy of academic careers have roots and repercussions far larger than the SLSA [Socio-Legal Studies Association] or the [Nuffield] Foundation can realistically address.[121]

The above discussion of research, curriculum and the market raises concerns specific to the discipline of law in the UK. There is, however, no reason to think that law schools are, in a more general sense, ‘immune’ from a number of wider pressures impacting on the academy. One might expect the processes of privatisation to support the institutional promotion of a model of ‘funder friendly’ interdisciplinarity in law; and that, within the technocentric, ‘research user’ focused academy, empirical policy and practice-orientated socio-legal research would fare well. And yet, it appears, something else may be happening. There is said to be at present a ‘crisis in waiting’ of research capacity in the field of socio-legal studies. A major inquiry is underway at the time of writing seeking to explore this question, to identify the scale of the problem and set out possible solutions.[122] ‘Research capacity’, of course, covers a range of issues. It encompasses concerns about the level and mix of skills within the academic community, as well as the increasing pressures on many academics to find the time to undertake research in the first place. In the context of socio-legal studies, however, it has come to embrace a specific concern ‘...over the numbers of new or younger researchers [entering the academy] and what this may mean for the future’. ‘Alarm bells are ringing’,[123] it is said, in particular amongst socio-legal research funders and users, about the numbers of individuals being trained in quantitative skills and evaluation methods. There are ‘very few’ socio-legal applications to research grant schemes ‘from new or younger socio-legal researchers’. There is, at best, a patchy and minimal training program in socio-legal methods within UK law schools; and there are ‘few students wishing to undertake socio-legal research’ in applications for studentships.[124]

It is, perhaps, surprising that this should be the case, given the picture painted above by Bradney, and others, of the generally healthy state of socio-legal studies in the UK. This recent debate has been focused, primarily, on evaluative, empirical socio-legal research — the very kind of ‘useful’ research which, advocates of the corporatisation thesis would suggest, has been institutionally encouraged within the new academy.[125] It is important, however, to place these developments in the context of what is now widely seen as a more general and growing concern about recruitment and retention in UK universities. For some time now law has been one of a number of disciplines identified as experiencing particular difficulties in relation to recruitment, especially at senior levels and in relation to certain subject areas (notably, commercial and company law).[126] The ongoing Nuffield Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law[127] is focused on empirical socio-legal studies. There is reason to believe, however, that the corporatisation of universities may be having some far wider consequences in terms of broader perceptions of the legal academy as a ‘worthwhile’ career.

Across the higher education sector in the UK the declining salaries, status and autonomy of academics have, over the past two decades, been the subjects of numerous studies and research reports. And what has emerged is a picture of an academy beset by problems of low morale and long working hours;[128] pervasive work-related stress and, at times, ill-health;[129] of an embedded institutional bifurcation between research and teaching (alongside the increasing emergence of differential ‘career tracks’); and a widespread erosion of democratic control within the context of an increasingly low-trust environment resulting from the centralised and directive management practices outlined in section two.[130] It is particularly important, in considering this context, not to overplay the purported equity ‘positives’ associated with the processes of corporatisation, as discussed above. Whilst some research does point, for example, to cracks in the ‘glass ceiling’, and to a degree of gender convergence,[131] it has also been argued that what may more accurately be seen as taking place at present is a far more complex reframing of gender relations in such a way that, across universities, it continues to be (white)[132] men who remain the overwhelming beneficiaries of a university system[133] in which, increasingly, visible quantifiable achievements are seen to denote productivity.[134] For some, indeed, what has actually taken place can be more usefully described as a remasculinisation of university practices and cultures.[135] The new emotional economy fostered by the corporatised university[136] has itself been seen to promote distinctively ‘masculinist’ cultures;[137] for example, in relation to managerialism,[138] the feminising and devaluing of teaching and pastoral work,[139] in the pursuit of (relentless) publication productivity and in the positioning of the securing of the large research grant as the ‘new patriarchal heartland’ of the academy.[140] The physical and psychological dimensions of each of these processes would themselves, research suggests, appear to be playing out in some very different ways for women and men at different stages of the life course.[141]

It is not difficult, in such a context, to see connections between the present research capacity debate in law and these questions about broader perceptions of the legal academy. If the well-documented ‘proletarianisation’ of university academics is a long-standing theme in the Higher Education literature,[142] the ambiguous standing of legal academics vis a vis the status and potential financial rewards of professional practice raises a number of concerns about the human resource implications of the corporatised academy. Many of the generation of socio-legal academics who entered universities during the late 1960s and 1970s are now nearing retirement. In some cases these individuals have been presented with the attractions of early retirement packages which allow them to continue to take on teaching responsibilities and other professional commitments on an ad hoc basis.[143] At the same time, however, and for a younger generation of law students, whilst the market-led drive towards increasing international students does provide vital income streams for universities, there appears to be, across many UK institutions, increasing problems attracting home PhD students.[144] For both law students, in considering their future careers, and for some early career academics, when faced with the choice between ‘shaping up’ or ‘shipping out’ of the emotional economy of the ‘academic as new knowledge worker,’ as outlined above, there does appear reason to believe that leaving the academy — regardless of whether it is to be into the harshly competitive, but potentially financially lucrative, world of legal practice — appears, for many, an increasingly attractive option.[145] Importantly, for those who may have once in the past considered the academy the ideal place for the ‘critical thinker’, the ‘independent’ scholar, there now exist a range of new cultural industries which provide, potentially, more lucrative and possibly challenging work environments more attuned to the complex fissures which have taken place between the ‘ascetic’ (non-commercial) and ‘postmodern’ middle-class more generally.[146]

5. Concluding Remarks
Though individualistic self-interest and consumer desires are core parts of who we are and nothing to be ashamed about, they are not all of who we are .... We know that our values, capacities, aesthetics, and sense of meaning and justice are, in part, created and nurtured by communal attachments.[147]

This article has considered the impact of various dimensions of the restructuring of universities on academic institutions and identities — on an ‘ivory tower’ confronted by the new realities of a global knowledge economy manifest in the processes, described above, of corporatisation, privatisation and commodification; on the rise of a ‘metallic new entrepreneurialism’,[148] a position in which ‘...the pursuit of knowledge driven by curiosity, that is, knowledge for its own sake, is no longer regarded as valuable because it does not contribute to wealth creation’.[149] Drawing on the growing international literature concerned with the application of business practices and managerialism to the field of higher education, I have suggested that there are growing signs that university legal education and scholarship in the UK is, increasingly, being transformed into an industry preoccupied with economic rationalism, efficiency and the generation of income. The new model university is itself a quasi-capitalist, technocratic, instrumental institution increasingly concerned, primarily, with the production (the teaching, the selling) of ‘useful knowledge’.

The embrace of the term ‘liberal legal education’ may continue to have a rhetorical power across many universities. It is important to remember, however, that for many legal academics in the UK the purpose of the law school has long been, and continues to be, primarily, the training of legal professionals. The idea of the liberal law school itself, as expounded by writers such as Bradney and Cownie, stands in an uneasy relation to neo-liberalism. There are, I have argued, signs that what may well be occurring in the present climate is, as Kelsey predicted, a ‘withering away’ of ‘non-market friendly’ sectors of curricula.[150] The fact that socio-legal studies has become an accepted and established feature of many (if by no means all) university law schools in the UK does not detract from the force of the pressures which are, in the context of the intellectual and emotional economy fostered by the corporatised university, serving to marginalise certain kinds of scholarship. There have been, it is important to remember, institutional (and, indeed, individual) ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of the diverse processes outlined above;[151] and it would be profoundly misleading to see particular responses to global practices as necessarily ‘forced upon’ universities. It is necessary in this regard to consider how the hierarchy of the established pre–1992 Russell Group[152] universities is being realigned as a tier of ‘research elite’ universities, and their law schools now seek to reconfigure their place and purpose in the sector in the context of a government policy of research concentration. In such a context there is growing reason to question whether those socio-legal scholars who, only so very recently, lauded the demise of doctrinalism in law schools — and the influence of the legal profession — may well themselves, perhaps, have been speaking too soon. For many scholars working outside the elite institutions organisational pressures and demands are such that ‘everyday’ academic life is, for the majority, far removed from the model of a unity of ‘vocation and avocation’ underscoring Bradney’s recent analysis of the liberal law school.

Why, ultimately, are these questions about the changing nature of (legal) academic life worth asking?[153] Identity politics are grounded in institutional location. They embrace questions not just about the work individuals do (and who they work for) but also about the facilities and material conditions which allow for particular kinds of social practices — let us say, the production of certain kinds of legitimate ‘legal’ research. Writing of recent developments in the UK Tombs and Whyte have recently ‘urge[d] colleagues [in law] to joint the debate’ about Higher Education and research capacity.[154] Whatever the differing views individuals in law schools internationally may have of the processes transforming universities — and in recognising that the local contexts in which we live mediate experience of these processes — underscoring the concerns which are increasingly being expressed about research capacity in law is a fundamental question about what is presently happening to many aspects of academic life and to academic identities — to what it means to ‘be’ a legal academic; questions which, it appears, have a resonance for many of us who work in law schools and

...who are experiencing an increasing sense of alienation in their everyday working lives from the central goals that led many of us into universities in the first place: the idea that we might be able to make some contribution, however small, to the forms of knowledge and understanding that make living on this planet a more comfortable and intelligible destiny. [Emphasis added.][155]

This article has sought to contribute to a growing international debate on this issue. There are, of course, different ways of doing things; it may be that ‘we simply lack sufficient publicly acknowledged experience and evidence of alternative visions’.[156]


* Professor of Law, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. This article is based on the plenary address delivered to the Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Brisbane, July 2003. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.

1 David Mamet, Oleanna (1993) at 33.

[2]Evident in the pages of newsletters of professional associations in the discipline of law, in the remit of an ongoing Inquiry into the question of ‘research capacity’ in law (see below), in the streams and plenary sessions of annual conferences,eg, at the 2004 and 2002 Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Annual Meetings, and as the focus of a growing number of books and journal articles within the rapidly developing subfield of legal scholarship concerned with the university law school: see further below.

[3]Paddy Hillyard & Joe Sim, ‘The Political Economy of Socio-Legal Research’ in Philip Thomas (ed), Socio-Legal Studies (1997) at 45. Note also the references to the ‘political economy’ of academic research contained in work cited below n6.

[4]This literature is voluminous. See eg Ann Brooks & Alison Mackinnon (eds), Gender and the Restructured University (2001); Burton Clark, Creating Entrepreneurial Universities: Organizational Pathways of Transformation (1998); Gareth Williams (ed), The Enterprising University: Reform, Excellence and Equity (2003); Anthony Smith & Frank Webster (eds), The Postmodern University? Contested Visions of Higher Education in Society (1998); Jan Currie & Janice Newson (eds), Universities and Globalization (1998); Simon Marginson, Markets in Education (1997); Henry Miller, Management of Change in Universities: Universities, State and Economy in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom (1995); Sheila Slaughter & Larry Leslie, Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies and the Entrepreneurial University (1997); Ann Brooks, ‘Restructuring Bodies of Knowledge’ in Ann Brooks & Alison Mackinnon (eds), ibid; Frank Coffield & Bill Williamson (eds), Repositioning Higher Education (1997); Simon Cooper, John Hinkson & Geoff Sharp (eds), Scholars and Entrepreneurs: The Universities in Crisis (2002); Jan Currie, B Thiele & Phil Harris Gendered Universities in Globalized Economies: Power, Careers and Sacrifices (2002); Simon Marginson & Mark Considine, The Enterprise University: Power, Governance and Reinvention in Australia (2000); Tom Schuller (ed), The Changing University? (1995). See also, and more generally on the nature of changes in universities internationally, Tony Becher, Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines (1989); Tony Becher & Maurice Kogan, Process and Structure in Higher Education (2nd ed, 1992); Peter Scott, The Meanings of Mass Higher Education (1995); Catherine Bargh, P Scott & D Smith Governing Universities: Changing the Culture? (1996); Martin Trow, Managerialism and the Academic Profession: Quality and Control (1994); Paul Trowler, Academics Responding to Change: New Higher Education Frameworks and Academic Cultures (1998); Tony Coady (ed), Why Universities Matter: A Conversation about Values, Means and Directions (2000); Mary Henkel, Academic Identities and Policy Change in Higher Education (2000); Maurice Kogan & Stephen Hanney, Reforming Higher Education (2000).

[5]In the UK the discipline of criminology has, eg, seen a growing literature concerned with the impacts of the commodification of knowledge and the corporatisation of universities on criminological research and teaching: Paddy Hillyard, Joe Sim, Steve Tombs & Dave Whyte, ‘Leaving a “Stain Upon the Silence”: Contemporary Criminology and the Politics of Dissent’ (2004) 44(3) Brit J Criminol 369; Reece Walters, ‘New Modes of Governance and the Commodification of Criminological Knowledge’ (2003) 12 Social & Leg Stud 5; Reece Walters & Mike Presdee, ‘Governing Criminological Knowledge – State, Power and the Politics of Criminological Research’ in Marilyn Corsianos & Kelly Train (eds), Interrogating Social Justice: Politics, Culture and Identity (1999); Steve Tombs & Dave Whyte, ‘Shining a Light on Power? Reflections on British Criminology and the Future of Critical Social Science’ (2003) 41 Socio-Legal Newsletter (SLN) 1.

[6]The broader debate does appear, eg, and in certain respects at least, to be more developed in Australia and, to a lesser degree, Canada and New Zealand than in the UK: see, eg, the contributions to Currie, Thiele & Harris, above n4; Cooper, Hinkson & Sharp, above n4; Marginson, above n4; also Craig McInnis, ‘Less Control and More Vocationalism: The Australian and New Zealand Experience’ in Schuller, above n4; also Jane Kelsey, ‘Academic Freedom Needed More Than Ever’ in Rob Crozier (ed), Troubled Times, Academic Freedom in New Zealand (1999). The developments in the UK to be discussed in this article do not necessarily map to what has happened elsewhere in Europe: see John Field, ‘Thinking European: Is UK Higher Education Out of Step?’ in Schuller, above n4; also Robin Middlehurst, ‘The International Context For UK Higher Education’ in Steve Ketteridge, Stephanie Marshall & Heather Fry (eds), The Effective Academic (2002). Writing specifically on the discipline of law, and focusing both on recent developments in Australia and internationally, note in particular, Margaret Thornton, ‘The Demise of Diversity in Legal Education: Globalisation and the New Knowledge Economy’ (2001a) 8 Int’l J the Legal Profession 37; Margaret Thornton, ‘Among the Ruins: Law in the Neo-Liberal Academy’ (2001b) 20 Windsor YB Access to Justice 3; Margaret Thornton, ‘Technocentrism and the Law School’ (1998) 36 Osgoode Hall LJ 369; also Andrew Goldsmith, ‘Standing at the Crossroads: Law Schools, Universities, Markets and the Future of Legal Scholarship’ in Fiona Cownie (ed), The Law School: Global Issues, Local Problems (1999); Christine Parker & Andrew Goldsmith, ‘Failed Sociologists in the Market Place: Law Schools in Australia’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society 33. On these debates within a Canadian context see Harry Arthurs, ‘Globalization of the Mind: Canadian Elites and the Restructuring of Legal Fields’ (1997) 12 Can J Law & Society at 219; Harry Arthurs, ‘The State We’re In: Legal Education in Canada’s New Political Economy’ (2001) 20 Windsor YB Access to Justice 35; Harry Arthurs, ‘The World Turned Upside Down: Are Changes in Political Economy and Legal Practice Transforming Legal Education and Scholarship, or Vice Versa?’ (2001) 8 Int’l J the Legal Profession 11; Harry Arthurs ‘The Political Economy of Canadian Legal Education’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society 14; Donald Fisher & Kjell Rubenson, ‘The Changing Political Economy: The Private and Public Lives of Canadian Universities’ in Currie & Newson, above n4.

[7]See, eg, Anthony Bradney, Conversations, Choices and Chances: The Liberal Law School in the Twenty-First Century (2003); Fiona Cownie, Legal Academics: Culture and Identities (2004); Cownie, above n6; compare Paddy Hillyard, ‘Invoking Indignation: Reflection on Future Directions of Socio-Legal Studies’ (2002) 29 J Law & Society 645; Richard Collier, ‘The Changing University and the (Legal) Academic Career – Rethinking the “Private Life” of the Law School’ (2002) 22 LS 1; Julian Webb, ‘Postfordism and the Reformation of Liberal Legal Education’ in Cownie, above n6.

[8]In particular, in relation to a growing debate around the issue of research capacity (see further below), Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law: <> (17 Oct 2004). Compare Hillyard & Sim, above n3; Jane Kelsey, ‘Privatising the Universities’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society at 51. On the recent debate in the Socio-Legal Newsletter (SLN) of the SLSA; Tombs & Whyte, above n5; Lois Bibbings, ‘The Future of Higher Education: “Sustainable Research Businesses” and “Exploitable Knowledge”’ (2003) 40 SLN 1; Richard Collier, ‘“Useful Knowledge” and the “New Economy”: An Uncertain Future for (Critical) Socio-Legal Studies’ (2003) 39 SLN 3; Fiona Cownie, ‘Researching (Socio) Legal Academics’ (2004) 42 SLN 1.

[9]See, eg, in addition to the work cited above nn6, 7: Anthony Bradney, ‘Law as a Parasitic Discipline’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society 71; Anthony Bradney, ‘Legal Education in the 21st Century’ in John Grant, R Jatenburg & K Nijkerk, Legal Education 2000 (1988); Anthony Bradney & Fiona Cownie, ‘British University Law Schools in the 21st Century’ in David Hayton (ed), Law’s Futures (2000); Roger Brownsword, ‘Where Are All the Law Schools Going?’ (1996) The Law Teacher 1; John Flood, ‘Legal Education, Globalization, and the New Imperialism’ in Cownie, id at 128; Anthony Bradney & Fiona Cownie, Transformative Visions of Legal Education (1998); Anthony Bradney, ‘Ivory Towers or Satanic Mills: Choices for University Law Schools’ (1992) 17 Studies in Higher Education 5; Anthony Bradney & Fiona Cownie, ‘Working on the Chain Gang?’ (1996) 2 Contemporary Issues in Law 15; Phil Harris & Martin Jones, ‘A Survey of Law Schools in the UK’ (1996) 3 Law Teacher 38; William L Twining, ‘Thinking About Law Schools: Rutland Reviewed’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society 1; William L Twining, Blackstone’s Tower: The English Law School (1994); Peter Goodrich, ‘Of Blackstone’s Tower: Metaphors of Distance and Histories of the English Law School’ in Peter Birks (ed), Pressing Problems in the Law: What Are Law Schools For? (1996); William Twining, Law in Context: Enlarging a Discipline (1997).

[10]A point well made in recent work concerned with women legal academics: see Fiona Cownie, ‘Women Legal Academics – A New Research Agenda?’ (1998) 25 J Law & Society 102; Celia Wells, ‘Working Out Women in Law Schools’ (2001) 21 LS 116; Fiona Cownie, ‘Women in the Law School – Shoals of Fish, Starfish or Fish Out of Water?’ in Philip Thomas (ed), Discriminating Lawyers (2000); Celia Wells, ‘Women Law Professors – Negotiating and Transcending Gender Identity at Work’ (2002) 10 Fem Leg Stud 1.

[11]The subject of a now vast body of research. Note the work of the UK Centre for Legal Education: <> (17 Oct 2004).

[12]Eg, Avrom Sherr & Julian Webb, ‘Law Students, the External Market and Socialization: Do we Make them Turn to the City?’(1989) 16 J Law & Society 225.

[13]Cownie (2004), above n7. Cownie suggests, eg, that a connection exists between power, knowledge and the development of the legal discipline: ‘the behaviour, values and attitudes of legal academics have implications for the future development of the discipline of law’: Cownie (1998), above n10 at 103. Studying legal academics will thus ‘advance our knowledge of the discipline of law (id at 109) and in making such links, it is who we (legal academics) are as individuals and as a collectivity which ‘will have a profound effect on the research which is carried out and valued, the subjects which are taught, the people who are influential in this sphere; to acknowledge this is to indicate the importance of studying ... the “private life” of higher education’ [Emphasis added.]: id at 103-104. Accordingly, the ‘...ways in which particular groups of academics organise their professional lives are intimately related to the academic tasks on which they are engaged’ [Emphasis added.]: Becher, quoted in Cownie, id at 109.

[14]Eg, teaching in schools and further education colleges. Private, profit-making organisations, government departments and charitable foundations each produce ‘in house’ research into law.

[15]Different jurisdictions and legal and university systems have mediated the ways in which the processes described below have been experienced across specific institutions. At the same time, and with specific regard to the focus of this article, it is important to bear in mind that the UK is itself composed of a number of different jurisdictions and that the effects of globalisation (below) can be felt differently in different places. More generally, much (although by no means all) of the literature on which this article is based derives from a common law jurisdictional perspective. At the same time, it is also important to remember that the academic community is made of diverse groups: academic staff, porters, catering and security workers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, secretarial staff, librarians, researchers and so forth all experience the privatisation processes in different ways.

[16]Although a relatively homogenous employment grouping in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic background. Wells observes, ‘Readers of this journal [Legal Studies, the journal of the Society of Legal Scholars] most likely work in a law school ... most likely are male, pale, middle-class and able-bodied. True, there is more chance that they are female than there would have been 20 years ago, but those women will almost invariably be fit and white’: Wells (2001), above n10 at 116.

[17]The focus of the following argument is on those UK university law schools who seek to maintain, alongside the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students, a central ‘research mission’ in law: law schools, that is, which ‘take seriously’, and seek to maximise their performance in, the RAE: see further below n62.

[18]‘Dons on a Tight Rein’ The Australian (30 Jul 2003) at 24.

[19]Hillyard & Sim, above n3 at 52. Although the following texts had in fact been published: Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (1996); Albert H Halsey, Decline of Donnish Dominion: The British Academic Professions in the Twentieth Century (1995). Note also relevant work cited above at n4. Compare ‘The state of academia must reflect broader social processes: since globalization ultimately affects everything, it stands to reason that the “knowledge economy” will also be altered. The reduction of state funding to universities and the general move to a corporate profit culture are other relevant forces. Surprisingly there has been little attempt to document systematically either the extent or the shape of these changes in the way universities work, or to consider what kinds of impact they might be having on staff, students or knowledge – one of the things universities supposedly exist for’ [Emphasis added.]: Ann Oakley, ‘Foreword’ in Brooks & Mckinnon, above n4 at xii.

[20]Note, in particular, The Future of Higher Education (January 2003) (the White Paper) which sets out the government’s plans for radical reform and investment in universities and higher education colleges. The resulting legislation is, at time of writing, passing (with some difficulty) through parliament. There exists general cross-party agreement in the UK that the funding of universities has reached a critical juncture (if not state of crisis): see, eg, capturing the tone of reporting of these issues in the British press: ‘The Gloom Over Britain’s Universities’ The Economist (16 Nov 2002) at 11; ‘Universities Risk Closure as Funding Problems Worsen’ The Times (23 Jun 2003); ‘Degrees of Difference’ The Observer (21 Sep 2003) at 24; ‘Universities £1bn Debt Crisis’ The Guardian (20 May 2002); ‘Minister Admits Universities Are in Crisis’ The Guardian (15 Nov 2002). There are, however, marked differences as to what constitutes the best way forward: S Hall & Rebecca Smithers, ‘Tories Reveal Plan to Privatise Universities’ The Guardian (22 Jan 2004).

[21]Department of Trade and Industry, Competitive Futures Building the Knowledge Driven Economy (1998); Henry Etzkowitz & Loet Leydesdorff (eds), Universities and the Global Knowledge Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations (1997); Jane Kenway & Diana Langmead, ‘Governmentality, the “Now” University and the Future of Knowledge Work’ (1998) 41 Australian Universities Rev 28; Manuel Castells, ‘The University System: Engine of Development in the New World Economy’ in Jamil Salmi & Adriaan Verspoor (eds), Revitalizing Higher Education (1994).

[22]See, eg, the discussion of Robert Lingard & Fazal Rizvi, ‘Globalization, the OECD and Australian Higher Education’ in Currie & Newson, above n4; Sheila Slaughter, ‘National Higher Education Policy in a Global Economy’ in Currie & Newson, above n4; W Morrison, ‘Legal Education and Globalisation’ (2002) Summer Academic Reporter at 4–5.

[23]Roland Robertson, Globalization (1992); Saskia Sassen, Globalisation and Its Discontents: Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money (1998); Malcolm Waters, Globalization (1995); Jane Jenson & Boaventura de Sousa Santos (eds), Globalizing Institutions: Case Studies in Social Regulation and Innovation (2000).

[24]The term ‘global’ universities has, eg, been taken as referring both to the development of online education – the creation of the ‘virtual’ university – and the heightened move towards the recruitment of international students on a for-profit basis. What unites both developments, it is argued, are the imperatives of economic gain and the free exchange of knowledge and scholars. There is, of course, no guarantee that such ‘e-universities’ will prove successful: ‘“Shameful Waste” on E-University’ The Guardian (9 Jun 2004). On the phenomenon of the ‘corporate university’ R Paton & S Taylor, ‘Corporate Universities: Between Higher Education and the Workplace’ in Williams, above n4. There are signs that private businesses in the UK are to be encouraged to award degrees in direct competition with traditional universities: see Phil Baty, ‘Go-ahead for Corporate Degrees’ THES (29 Nov 2002) at 1.

[25]Brooks, above n4, similarly identifies three ‘fundamental principles of operation’ in the way in which universities now operate – corporatisation, commodification and privatisation. A concern with these themes can also be found in the work of Thornton, above n6.

[26]J Hecht, ‘Today’s College Teachers: Cheap and Temporary’ (1994) 188 (Nov) Labor Notes at 6, cited in Currie, Thiele & Harris, above n4 at 5. It is important to note that the relationship between privatisation and corporatisation is itself far from clear (with the terms at times used interchangeably). The following argument seeks to trace how the corporatisation of the universities relates to the broader political imperative associated with privatisation.

[27]See above n4.

[28]Thornton similarly notes, drawing on the work of Slaughter & Leslie, the links between the movement in favour of academic capitalism and neoliberalism: Thornton (2001a), above n6 at 47.

[29]Slaughter & Leslie, above n4 at 36.

[30]Id at 37; Brooks & Mackinnon, above n4 at 3.

[31]An embrace of the term ‘innovation’ has come to pervade UK universities (in the form, eg, of renaming ‘Research Support’ as ‘Innovation Services’, the establishment of ‘Innovation’ seedcorn funding and so forth.

[32]Slaughter & Leslie, above n4 at 37. It is not difficult, from even a cursory glance at recent developments in the UK context, to see illustrations of each of the above themes as being played out across the sector.

[33]Claire Polster, ‘The Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate/University Links: Whats Wrong With This Question?’ in Erika Shaker & Denise Doherty-Delorme (eds), Missing Pieces II: An Alternative Guide to Canadian Post-Secondary Education (2000) at 183.

[34]The terms used to describe such activities vary across institutions but the meaning tends to be broadly the same.

[35]In July 2004 the British government announced plans for a ‘huge expansion’ of Higher Education by allowing colleges and private companies to claim university status without having to conduct any research: ‘Number of Universities Set to Double as Government Opens Door to Private Sector’ The Times (17 Jul 2004).

[36]Thornton (2001a), above n6 at 47.

[37]‘If not, the consumers will exercise their prerogative of market choice and go elsewhere’: ibid; P Curtis, ‘Competition Time’ The Guardian (9 Mar 2004). ‘The talk among senior academic managers focuses on student customers, brands and market niches as they fight for survival in an increasingly competitive Market for students’: C Johnston, ‘ V-C’s Buy into Idea of Building the Brand’ THES (23 Jul 2004) at 9.

[38]Hillyard & Sim, above n3.

[39]A problem seen as acute in relation to attempts to institutionally manage the government’s ‘widening participation’ agenda in a context of infrastructural underfunding. Note, eg, the growing debate about the ‘dumbing down’ of university degree courses in the UK: ‘“Dumbing Down” Fear as Leading Universities Award More Firsts’ Daily Telegraph (16 Mar 2004); ‘Government Blamed for “Mickey Mouse” Courses’ The Independent (26 Jul 2004); ‘Conflicting Forces Result in Falling Standards’ The Guardian (3 Sep 2001); ‘“Degrees for Sale” at UK Universities: Failing Students Passed to Keep Funds Flowing’ The Observer (1 Aug 2004); ‘Universities are having to make intellectual compromises ...  but many lecturers are reluctant to speak out for fear of losing their jobs or ruining reputations’: M Garner & P Leon, ‘Dumbing Down has Become a Fact of Life!’ THES (3 May 2002) at 22.

[40]Quoted in Donald MacLeod, ‘A Higher Vision’ The Guardian (19 Mar 2002).

[41]As has been the case elsewhere: Simon Cooper, ‘Post-Intellectuality? Universities and the Knowledge Economy’ in Cooper, Hinkson & Sharp, above n4. This has become the theme of numerous ministerial statements and focus of professional conferences: eg, Stephen Byers, ‘The Importance of People and Knowledge – Towards a New Industry Policy for the 21st Century’, speech delivered at London Business School, 21 October 1999: <> (17 Oct 2004); Knowledge Exchange: Extending Links Between Higher Education and Business, 13 November 2003, London: <> (17 Oct 2004).

[42]Charles Clarke, speech at University College, Worster, UK, quoted in THES (16 May 2003) at 1.

[43]See the The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (1997) (Dearing Report). This agenda meshes with the processes of corporatisation, as above, in the way in which it addresses directly the need for universities, much like transnational companies, to take advantage of the new fluidity of economic and cultural boundaries.

[44]‘I have to ask myself why the state should fund universities and what is the value of it’; some academics were ‘...  harking back to a mediaeval concept of the university as a community of scholars unfettered by difficulties and problems of wider society’: Charles Clarke, quoted in THES (16 May 2003) at 1. For a flavour of the critical response these comments prompted see Gary Day, ‘No Thinking Please, We’re New Labour’ THES (23 May 2003) at 13; Letters, id at 15; C Bassnett, ‘Opinion’ The Guardian (27 May 2003) at 10.

[45]John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (1960); Halsey, above n19; Readings, above n19. Bradney, above n7 at ch 2; Clark Kerr, The Uses of the University (1995).

[46]C Polster, ‘Dismantling the Liberal University: The State’s New Approach to Academic Research’ in R Brecher, O Fleischman & J Halliday (eds), Universities in a Liberal State (1996).

[47]‘There are happy law schools as well as unhappy ones: those which are collegiate and those which are not’: Anthony Bradney, (1999) Spring No 18 The Reporter at 2. Compare J Axtell, The Pleasures of Academe: A Celebration and Defense of Higher Education (1998). Compare also, Mike Presdee, ‘Heart of Academic Continues to Beat’ THES (3 Aug 2001).

[48]Rob Cuthbert, ‘The Impact of National Developments on Institutional Practice’ in Ketteridge, Marshall & Fry, above n6.

[49]This government sourced reform of Higher Education can be understood, Pritchard suggests, as the outcome of a ‘... number of complex and shifting alliances between the state, the private sector and international bodies,’ often, importantly, pulling in different directions. The recent history of reform in the UK is itself littered with commissioned reports, legislative provisions and policy papers which vary considerably in terms of their underlying conceptualisation of what the university is for: Craig Pritchard, quoted in Brooks, above n4 at 19.

[50]J Dearlove, ‘The Academic Labour Process: From Collegiality and Professionalism to Managerialism and Proletarianisation?’ (1997) 30 Higher Education Rev 56; David Farnham, Managing Academic Staff (1999); Hugh Willmott, ‘Managing the Academics: Commodification and Control in the Development of University Education’ (1995) 48 Human Relations 993; Bargh, Scott & Smith, above n4; Trow, above n4; A Utley, ‘Oubreak of “New Managerialism” Infects Faculties’ THES (20 Jul 2001); Rosemary Deem, ‘Talking to Manager Academics’ (2002) 36 Sociology 835; Jan Currie & Lesley Vidovich, ‘Micro-economic reform through managerialism in American and Australian universities’ in Currie & Newson, above n4.

[51]W Woodward, ‘Cuts Mean Universities Risk Loss of 1,400 Jobs’ The Guardian (21 May 2002); ‘Research Fund Plans Threaten 8000 Jobs’ The Guardian (19 Jun 2003).

[52]Ian McNay, ‘From the Collegial Academy to Corporate Enterprise: The Changing Culture of Universities’ in Schuller, above n4; J Newson, ‘The Decline of Faculty Influence: Confronting the Effects of the Corporate Agenda’ in W Carroll, Linda Christiansen-Ruffman, R Currie & D Harrison (eds), Fragile Truths: 25 Years of Sociology and Anthropology in Canada (1992): Restructured universities in the UK have, eg, seen the emergence of the figure of the new ‘super dean’ of the ‘mega Faculty’, an individual charged with the management and control of several disciplines and commanding a pivotal (although institutionally ambiguous) position within the corporate managerial model. It is assumed, generally, that senior university managers will involve a small number of people within the ‘knowledge loop’ in relation to which decisions are made and strategy developed. As the goals of the institution and those of senior management coincide there has, in effect, occurred a fissure in the academic community between, on the one hand, the corporate managerialism embraced by the new higher and middle management; and, on the other, the ‘rank and file’ ‘grassroots’ academics (frequently positioned within the dominant managerial discourse as the ‘problem’ to be addressed in restructuring). Thus, we have seen the emergence of now well-established differential salary regimes detached from collective bargaining.

[53]M Parker & David Jary, ‘The McUniversity: Organization, Management and Academic Subjectivity’ (1995) 2 Organization 319; Craig Pritchard & Hugh Willmott, ‘Just How Managed is the McUniversity? 18 Organisation Stud 287.

[54]Anna Yeatman, ‘Contractualism and Graduate Pedagogy’ (1994) 2 Connect: Newsletter of the Australian Sociological Association Women’s Section 2; Anna Yeatman, ‘The New Contractualism and the Politics of Quality Management’, paper presented at Women, Culture and Universities: A Chilly Climate? National Conference on the Effects of Organizational Culture on Women in Universities Conference Proceedings, University of Technology, Sydney, 19–20 April 1995, cited in Brooks, above n4 at 33. Also Anna Yeatman, ‘The Gendered Management of Equity-Oriented Change in Higher Education’ in Diana Barker & Madeleine Fogarty (eds), A Gendered Culture: Educational Management in the Nineties (1993); Anna Yeatman, ‘Corporate Managerialism and the Shift from the Welfare to the Competitive State’ (1993) 13 Discourse 3. It is Yeatman’s argument that these agendas of restructuring have been dominated by a ‘market-oriented economic culture of action’ and a process of ‘exchange’ in which individual academics make contractual arrangements with their institutions, students make contracts with teachers, researchers negotiate contracts with governments and so on. This is seen as leading to a system in which long working hours become increasingly common as collectivist bargaining is eroded: ‘Pay Rises will be linked to performance’ THES (22 Jun 2001).

[55]Roger Brownsword, ‘Teaching Quality Assessment in Law Schools’ (1994) 21 J Law & Society 529; Anthony Bradney, ‘The Quality of Teaching Quality Assessment in English Law Schools’ (1996) The Law Teacher 150; Anthony Bradney, ‘The Quality Assurance Agency and the Politics of Audit’ (2001) 28 J Law & Society 430. See generally M Power, The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification (1997).

[56]Jean Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition (1984) at 51: ‘The question asked by universities is no longer “Is it true?” but “What use is it?” – which also can mean “Is it saleable?” or “Is it efficient?”’. See further Roger Philip Mourad, Postmodern Philosophical Critique and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Higher Education (1997).

[57]Thornton (2001a), above n6; Currie & Newson, above n4.

[58]Thornton, id at 67; C Polster & Janice Newson, ‘Don’t Count Your Blessings: The Social Accomplishments of Performance Indicators’ in Currie & Newson, above n4.

[59]Although it is important to note that the measures involved in performance assessment have themselves taken a number of different forms and have varied across institutions.

[60]Rebecca Smithers, ‘Anger at Student Appraisal Plan for Academic Staff: Performance Related Pay Would be Divisive Say Lecturers’ The Guardian (22 Oct 2002).

[61]Previously seen as a ‘two-way’ dialogue of institutional evaluation and support – in such a way that the orientation of review is now made explicitly towards the prioritisation of institutional needs (as opposed to individual goals and/or personal development).

[62]See, eg, Jayne Barnard, ‘Reflections on Britain’s Research Assessment Exercise’ (1998) 48 JLegEd 467; M Bush, ‘Grading and Degrading the Dons’ THES (7 Mar 1996); D Vick, A Murray, G Little & K Campbell ‘The Perceptions of Academic Lawyers Concerning the Effects of the United Kingdom’s Research Assessment Exercise’ (1998) 24 J Law & Society 536; K Campbell, D Vick, A Murray & G Little, ‘Journal Publishing, Journal Reputations and the United Kingdom Research Assessment Exercise’ (1999) 25 J Law & Society 470; S Court, ‘Negotiating the Research Imperative: The Views of UK Academics on their Career Opportunities’ (1999) 53 Higher Education Q 65. The consequences of selectively funding academic research are widely seen to have transformed the ethos and practices of law schools, not least in terms of the relatively low priority now given to teaching in the development of an academic career: S Court Opportunity Blocks: A Survey of Appointment and Promotion in UK Higher Education (1998). It is not argued that research did not figure in promotions before the first RAE took place in 1986. However, the research ethos is now so fundamental to the academic career in the UK that the majority of academics, as well as the academic institution itself in terms of its mission, see it as such: Dearing Report, above n43 Report 3 at 108.

[63]Compare R Boaden & J Cilliers, ‘Quality and the RAE: Just one aspect of performance?’ (2001) 9 Quality Assurance in Education 5. In a development particularly evident in the run up to the 1996 exercise (with moves to limit the effects of the ‘transfer market’ introduced for the 2001 exercise), many UK universities sought to invest heavily in recruiting ‘research active’ staff, with some academics benefiting considerably in this process by obtaining significant increases in their salaries and ‘admin–teaching light’ contracts.

[64]See further Brooks, above n4 at 32; Jill Blackmore, ‘Level Playing Field? Feminist Observations on Global/Local Articulations of the Restructuring and Re-gendering of Educational Work’ (1997) 43(5/6) Int’l Rev Education 1; Craig Pritchard, ‘The Body Topographies of Education Management’ in John Hassard, R Holliday & Hugh Willmott (eds), Organization and the Body (2000); Craig Pritchard, ‘Know, Learn and Share! The Knowledge Phenomena and the Construction of a Consumptive-communicative Body’ in Craig Pritchard, R Hull, M Chumer & Hugh Willmott (eds), Managing Knowledge: Critical Investigations of Work and Learning (2000); D Jones, ‘Knowledge Workers “R” Us: Academics, Practitioners and “Specific Intellectuals” in Pritchard et al, ibid; Parker & Jary, above n53; A Talib, ‘The Continuing Behavioural Modification of Academics Since the 1992 RAE’ (2001) 33 Higher Education Rev 30.

[65]On these links between a corporatised and individualised idea of selfhood see Catherine Casey, ‘Corporate Transformation: Designer Culture, Designer Employees and “Post-Occupational Solidarity”’ (1996) 3 Organization 317; Catherine Casey, Work, Self and Society: After Industrialism (1995). Compare Ulrich Beck & Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim, Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences (2002).

[66]Thornton (2001a), above n6; Collier, above n7. On the presentation of the self in the form of the academic curriculum vitae see N Miller & D Morgan, ‘Called to Account: The CV as an Autiobiographical Practice’ (1993) 27 Sociology 133.

[67]‘Successful’ itself is, of course, a problematic term. Raymond Pahl, After Success (1995). For a different view of the ‘inevitability’ of academic failure see C Elliot, ‘Flophouses’ The Australian (20 Jun 2001) at 36.

[68]See T Wragge, ‘Opinion’ The Guardian (3 Aug 2004).

[69]‘Socio-legal Studies’ is a notoriously ill-defined and contested term. Writers such as Bradney, above n7, Cownie, above n7 and Thomas, above n3 have tended to adopt the generally ‘broad church’ approach to socio-legal studies, one which is in keeping with the definition adopted by relevant professional associations in the field (such as the SLSA), much of the academic literature and a range of relevant consultation and policy papers, Hillyard & Sim, above n3 similarly accept the general purchase of this broad-based ‘socio-legal’ project, but seek to foreground in their assessment of the political economy of research what they term the position of the ‘critical’ socio-legal academic – a scholar engaged in a sustained moral and political critique of law, an analysis of law’s social consequences and origins. It is this kind of project which, they suggest, has become increasingly uncertain within, and has been undermined by, the ‘new academy’. However, writers such as Bradney and Cownie make it quite evident that it is precisely this kind of moral and political critique that is of the essence to – although it does not encompass entirely the diversity of – socio-legal studies. The fragmented focus, conceptual clarity and institutional location of socio-legal research more generally is beyond the scope of this article: see Hillyard, above n7; A Hunt, ‘Governing the Socio-Legal Project: Or What Do Research Councils Do?’ (1994) 21 J Law & Society at 522; Hillyard & Sim, above n3 at 64. Compare Roger Cotterrell, ‘Subverting Orthodoxy, Making Law Central: A View of Socio-Legal Studies’ (2002) 29 J Law & Society 632.

[70]Bibbings, above n8. Note in particular the work of Thornton, above n6.

[71]Thornton, ibid; this reading of the recent history of the university law schools follows the approach of Thornton. See also Leslie Wagner, ‘A Thirty year Perspective: From the Sixties to the Nineties’ in Schuller, above n4; William Twining, ‘Remember 1972: The Oxford Centre in the Context of Developments in Higher Education and the Discipline of Law’ in Denis Galligan (ed), Socio-Legal Studies in Context: The Oxford Centre Past and Future (1995).

[72]Bradney, above n7; Bradney (1998), above n9; Anthony Bradney, ‘Liberalising Legal Education’ in Cownie, above n6; Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct, First Report on Legal Education and Conduct (1996); compare Bob Hepple, ‘The Renewal of the Liberal Law Degree’ (1996) 55 Camb LJ 470.

[73]R Card, Presidential Address, Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, De Montford University, 11 September 2002.

[74]Cownie, above n7; Bradney, above n7.

[75]See, eg, Edward Palmer Thompson, Warwick University Ltd: Industry, Management and the Universities (1970) at 153: on ‘the species Academicus Superciliosus’ who is ‘inflated with self-esteem and perpetually self-congratulatory as to the high vocation of the university teacher’. Also Edward Palmer Thompson, ‘The Business University’ New Society (19 Feb 1970).

[76]For what else, it could be argued, might a university do in the face of a decline in core sector funding other than attempt to maximise income from other sources and, wherever possible, ‘cut costs’? To engage with the new economic, cultural and political realities facing higher education?

[77]Albert Henry Halsey & Martin Trow, The British Academics (1971).

[78]Jeff Hearn, ‘Men, Managers and Management: The Case of Higher Education’ in Stephen Whitehead & R Moodley (eds), Transforming Managers: Engendering Change in the Public Sector (1999); Jeff Hearn, ‘Academia, Management and Men: Making the Connections’ in Brooks & Mackinnon, above n4; Craig Pritchard, ‘Managing Universities: Is It Men’s Work?’ in David Collinson & Jeff Hearn, Men as Managers, Managers as Men (1996); Wells (2001), above n10 at 129. Note also D Howell, ‘The Clubbable Chaps’ AUTLook (22 Oct 1992) at 19.

[79]Stephen Whitehead, ‘Men, Managers and the Shifting Discourses of Post-Compulsory Education’ (1996) 1 Research in Post-Compulsory Education at 151; Compare Deborah Kerfoot & Stephen Whitehead, ‘Boys Own Stuff: Masculinity and the Management of Further Education’ (1998) 46 Sociological Rev 436.

[80]There is, Oakley suggests, something attractive to the marginalised about cultures that stress the need for open procedures and that question such potentially inefficient and unfair concepts as tenure: ‘But when the culture of bureaucracy and commodification is combined with a disregard – flagrant in its explicitness – for the way power operates, the result is bound to be discriminatory’ [Emphasis added.]: Oakley (2001) ‘Foreword’ in Brooks & Mackinnon, above n4 at xiii.

[81]C Pollitt, Managerialism and the Public Services: The Anglo-American Experience (1990).

[82]Ulrich Beck, The Brave New World of Work (2000).

[83]See, eg, Robert Reich, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism (1991); Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998); J Rifkin, The End of Work (1996); Beck, ibid; Raymond Pahl, On Work (1988). On related issues around ‘work-life’ balance see Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home (1989); Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work (1997); Joan Williams, Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It (2000); Bebb Burchell et al, Job Insecurity and Work Intensification: Flexibility and the Changing Boundaries of Work (1999), reporting that two-thirds of surveyed employees say they ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ work longer than their basic working hours: ‘UK’s Work Burden Grows Fastest in Europe’ The Guardian (21 Jun 2000); ‘Workforce Close to Breaking Point Over Britain’s Long Hours Culture’ The Independent (11 Jun 2001); Sylvia Walby (ed), Gender Segregation at Work (1988).

[84]On the complexities of which see Gillian Carpenter, ‘The Relationship Between Collegiality and Patriarchy’ in Anne Maree Payne & Lyn Shoemark (eds), Women, Culture and Universities: A Chilly Climate? Conference Proceedings on the Effect of Organizational Culture on Women in Universities (1995) at 58–67.

[85]‘Working in a liberal law school and seeking to combine avocation and vocation offers the possibility of a way of life that is beyond the reach of most in modern society’: Bradney, above n7 at 203; ‘The environment of the liberal law school thus seems to be best placed to give academics an opportunity to satisfactorily manage their lives’ (at 202).

[86]Above n7.

[87]See further Bradney, above n7; Cownie, above n7; Anthony Bradney, ‘Academic Duty’ (2004) Spring No 28 The Reporter at 1–2; Anthony Bradney, ‘Give Us the Money’ (2002) Spring No 24 The Reporter at 1–2.

[88]The Law Society for England and Wales, eg, recently made a number of suggestions regarding changes to undergraduate legal education which do provide evidence of technocratic and corporatising pressures on law schools. Noting the government’s desire to bring universities and industry closer together, the Law Society has suggested the creation of more exempting law degrees that integrate the academic and vocational stages of training for the solicitor’s profession. However, as Bradney argues, the review process itself provides evidence of resistance to such pressures. Bradney, above n7 at ch 7; Jan Currie, ‘Legal Education Locks Horns with Regulators’ (2002) 2 Lawyer 2B at 1.

[89]Note, eg, the responses of professional associations to the above proposed changes: SLSA Response to the Joint Academic Stage Board Consultation on the Relationship of Foundation Degrees to the Law Qualifying Degree (copy with author): also the ongoing consultations around the forthcoming (2008) RAE, which attest to the degree to which the legal academic community is speaking (broadly) with ‘one voice’ on these central issues: Claire Sanders, ‘Academic Lawyers Fight for Resources’ THES (27 Aug 2003).

[90]Bradney, above n7 at 164–171.

[91]The present QAA model is one of ‘developmental engagement’ in which, although pitched at both discipline and institutional level, and for all the intrusiveness it involves, is less directive in nature than previous teaching audits; and, certainly much less so than that which had at one time been envisaged: Bradney, above n7 at 155–189; Joe Plomin, ‘Report Details “Lighter Touch” University Inspections’ The Guardian (6 Nov 2001).

[92]See Treasury (UK), Lambert Review of Business University Collaboration: Final Report: <> (17 Oct 2004).

[93]Cownie, above n7.

[94]Bradney, above n7.

[95]Phil Harris & Martin Jones, ‘A Survey of Law Schools in the United Kingdom, 1996’ (1997) 31 The Law Teacher 38.

[96]Jane Pitcher & Kate Purcell, ‘Diverse Expectations and Access to Opportunities: Is There a Graduate Labour Market?’ (1998) 52 Higher Education Q 179. As Bradney, above n7 has argued, it cannot be assumed that legal academics take the same kind of view as students (or senior university management) as to the purpose of the law curriculum; note also David Halpern, Entry into the Legal Professions: The Law Student Cohort Study: Years 1 and 2 (1994) at 40; Collier, above n7.

[97]Cownie, above n7.

[98]See, eg, and generally, the arguments contained in Thomas, above n3.

[99]On criminology, eg, see Richard Collier, Masculinities, Crime and Criminology (1998) at 36–67; Dan Subotnik & Glen Lazar, ‘Deconstructing the Rejection Letter: A Look at Elitism in Article Selection’ (1999) 49 JLegEd at 601–613.

[100]Hillyard, above n7.

[101]Alongside changes in the scope and content of some well-established legal journals: note, eg, the recent development of Legal Studies: The Journal of the Society of Legal Scholars.

[102] Thornton (2001a), above n6.

[103]Hillyard, above n7.

[104]In the case of one institution, Keele University, a relatively small law school with an international profile in the field of gender and sexuality work secured a 5* rating, the highest grading possible. The RAE panel themselves made a point of recognising, in the list of subject areas to be embraced by the law assessment, bodies of scholarship such as feminist legal studies.

[105] See <> (17 Oct 2004).

[106] Editorial, ‘Would Newman see his Idea in Labour’s vision?’ THES (24 Jan 2003) at 18.

[107]Above n7.

[108]See Note Initial Decisions by the UK Funding Bodies (Feb 2004) RAE 2008: <> (17 Oct 2004); Review of Research Assessment: Report by Sir Gareth Roberts to the UK Funding Bodies (2003): <> (17 Oct 2004).

[109]Thus exacerbating the division between a ‘super elite’ and the rest of the sector. See n152 below.

[110]Hillyard & Sim, above n3 at 56.

[111]See further Richard Collier, ‘Peter’s Choice: Issues of Identity, Lifestyle and Consumption in Changing Representations of Corporate Lawyers and Legal Academics’ in Steve Greenfield & Guy Osborn (eds), Readings in Law and Popular Culture: Routledge Research Monographs (forthcoming).

[112]See above n88.

[113]Calculated from The Lawyer Student Special (2000), as quoted in Robert Lee, ‘“Up or Out” – Means or Ends? Staff Retention in Large Law Firms’ in Thomas, above n10. In the 1999 intake of trainee solicitors, the top 10 firms by size sought to recruit 930 trainees, accounting for over 20% of all training contracts offered that year.

[114]As part of the wider thrust whereby universities are now encouraged by government to raise finances from the private sector: Tom Baldwin, Tony Halpin & Rosemary Bennett, ‘Universities Must Raise Private Cash’ The Times (4 Dec 2003).

[115]Thornton (2001a), above n6 at 43; ‘A and O, CC and Linklaters in Bespoke Course Revolution’ (2004) 3 Lawyer 2B at 1; see also Joy Hillyer, ‘Professional Legal Education: A Way Forward’ in Cownie, above n6.

[116]Id at 45. It is Thornton’s argument that ‘ schools, too, [appear] magnetically drawn to the wealthy firms and their perceived needs in design of their curricula’ (at 40).

[117]Tony Tysome, ‘Sector Caught in Parent Trap’ THES (30 Jul 2004) at 1.

[118]It appears beyond doubt that the model of knowledge as commodity and the privatisation of higher education have each impacted on the nature of the expectations of the – widely seen to be increasing – demands of the ‘student as consumer’.

[119]Thornton (2001a), above n6 at 44.

[120]Id at 43. Compare Colin Symes & John McIntryre (eds), Working Knowledge: The New Vocationalism and Higher Education (2000).

[121]Sharon Witherspoon, ‘Research Capacity: A Crisis in Waiting?’ (2002) 37 SLN at 1.

[122]See Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law, above n8.

[123]Witherspoon, above n121.


[125]The identification of a problem has been made, indeed, not so much by legal academics themselves, but by research users and funders concerned about a growing disjuncture between this ‘burgeoning demand for socio-legal evidence’ on the part of policy makers and government – ‘more aware of the need for socio-legal research’, Witherspoon, above n121, and the limited capacity of universities to provide such research. The urgency of the debate is seen as arising because of this concern that policy makers are becoming unable to turn to ‘tough-minded’ socio-legal scholars for ‘...current and forthcoming policy changes be based on and evaluated by robust empirical evidence’: ‘there may not’, it is suggested, ‘ enough capacity to meet the policy makers demand for program evaluations’, ibid. See also Tracey Varnava, ‘Building Research Capacity in Legal Education’ (2002) 38 SLN at 4; David Cowan, Sally Wheeler & Paddy Hillyard, ‘What is the State of Socio-Legal Training in UK Law Schools?: SLSA Questionnaire Results’ (2003) 39 SLN 1 at 3. The ESRC set up a ‘Research Users Forum’ in 1994, comprised of over 30 members drawn mainly from key institutions of government and bodies representing legal services and private sector institutions.

[126]J Hurstfield & F Neathy, Recruitment and Retention of Academic Staff in UK Higher Education 2001 (2002) at 10: ‘Pay levels were cited by many as the main reason for ...problems. Higher pay offered by the private sector was viewed as a key factor impacting upon institutions’ ability to attract and retain ...some groups of academic staff – notably those in law, IT and engineering’ [Emphasis added.]; ‘The subjects that were particularly problematic were accountancy, law and economics’ (at 57); see Recruitment and Retention in UK Higher Education (2000). See generally Maurice Kogan, I Moses & E El-Khawas, Staffing Higher Education: Meeting New Challenges (1994), esp at 35–50.

[127]See Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law, above n8.

[128]Note J Wills, ‘Labouring for Love? A Comment on Academics and Their Hours of Work’ (1996) 28 Antipode 292. Bradney neatly, and light-heartedly, observes: ‘In the universities, families are frowned upon; new academics have to take an oath to abstain from all personal relationships for the first 10 years of their careers, agree to take their meals by intravenous injection and promise to go to the toilet only on every second Sunday’: Anthony Bradney, ‘Rejoice, Rejoice’ (2001) 23 SPTL Reporter 1; Association of University Teachers (AUT), Long Hours, Little Thanks: A Survey of the Use of Time by Full-Time Academics and Related Staff in the Traditional UK University (1994); Phil Baty, ‘Get a life? Not With Our Hours’ THES (22 Aug 2003) at 7.

[129]One recent survey of academics in the UK found that 25% had suffered from a stress related illness during the last 12 months which was serious enough to warrant taking time off work. 53% of academics reported poor psychological health, including stress, sleeplessness and depression, while 44% of university lecturers had seriously considered leaving higher education and 49% had considered early retirement over the past few years; G Kinman, Pressure Points: A Survey into the Causes and Consequences of Occupational Stress in UK Academic and Related Staff (1998). Kinman found that, on average, more women academics than men reported that the pressure to publish had increased significantly (para 9.11.2); and that women, rather than men, reported the difficulty balancing family and workplace commitments as a source of stress (para 9.11.12). See also I McNay, The Impact of the 1992 RAE on Institutional and Individual Behaviour in English Higher Education: The Evidence from a Research Project (1997). Compare Geoff Maslen, ‘Stressed Dons Left Suicidal’ THES (31 Mar 2000) reporting the findings of the Australian study by the National Tertiary Education Union, Unhealthy Places of Learning (2000). See also Jan Currie, ‘The Effects of Globalization on 1990s Academics in Greedy Institutions: Overworked, Stressed Out and Demoralized’ (1996) 37 Melbourne Studies in Education 101; Donald Mcleod, ‘Universities “Bullying Weak Research Staff”’ The Guardian (9 Jun 2004); Phil Baty, ‘Academic Life is Hell’ THES (15 Mar 2002) at 4; Kate Coxon, ‘A Degree of Stress’ Guardian Education (19 Feb 2002) at 12; Elizabeth Thorsen, ‘Stress in Academe: What Bothers Professors?’ (1996) 31 Higher Education at 471; Polly Curtis, ‘Lecturers Stressed by Student Influx’ The Guardian (31 May 2002).

[130]The erosion of collegiality experienced in the higher education sector which, interestingly, stands in marked contrast to governmental attempts to counter a decline of collegiality and foster ‘community’ in a number of other contexts.

[131]Paul Hill, ‘Women Crack Glass Ceiling’ THES (25 Jun 2004) at 1. Thus, whilst gender stereotyping and benchmarking (all too clearly) still exist in the academy, it has been argued that there do appear to be real opportunities for advancement, recognition and empowerment for (some) women which did not, perhaps, exist in the past: see Wells (2002), above n10. At the time, and recently, it has been suggested that ‘ are being deterred by a decline in the perceived status of higher education fuelled by low pay and increased regulation’, that ‘[M]en leave the lower status academy to women’: Hill, ibid; Editorial, ‘The Future’s Female’ THES (25 Jun 2004) at 12.

[132]With regard to issues of race and ethnicity there is little reason to suggest that there has occurred a significant shift away from the socio-economic and cultural homogeneity of the legal academic community, as noted by Wells (2001), above n10 as being predominantly white, middle-class and able-bodied. According to AUT figures (2002), 96% of employees in ‘old’ (pre-1992) universities are white: ‘Ethnic Staff Suffer 12% Pay Gap’ THES (31 May 2002) at 4. I have argued elsewhere, above n7, that, if anything, the complex interrelation of the shifting hierarchy of UK law schools, together with the move to a mass higher education system, means that what is taking place at present will result in the further cultural and financial empowerment of those who are already privileged in terms of their social, economic and cultural capital. It is not difficult to foresee the potential implications of this for many working-class and ethnic minority students seeking a career in law. At the same time, it is important to recognise the increasingly high profile of concerns around sexuality and discrimination in the sector: see AUT, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Participation in UK Universities (2002); Donald MacLeod, ‘I Live a Lie Every Day’ The Guardian (26 Mar 2002).

[133]David Knights & Wendy Richards, ‘Sex Discrimination in UK Academia’ (2003) 10 Gender, Work & Organisation 213: ‘Men are more likely to (and/or more likely to be perceived to) match the (embodied) requirements of bureaucratic organization far more closely than women do’; A Witz, S Halford & M Savage, ‘Organized Bodies: Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment in Contemporary Organizations’in Lisa Adkins & Vicki Merchant (eds), Sexualizing the Social: Power and the Organization of Sexuality (1996) at 175, cited in Brooks, above n4 at 36. Jan Currie, ‘Restructuring Employment: The Case of Female Academics’ (1995) 38 Aust Universities Rev 49; Celia Davies & Penny Holloway, ‘Troubling Transformations: Gender Regimes and Organizational Culture in the Academy’ in Louise Morley & Val Welsh (eds), Feminist Academics: Creative Agents For Change (1995); Jill Blackmore, ‘More Power to the Powerful: Corporate Management, Mergers and the Implications for Women of the Reshaping of the “Culture” of Australian Tertiary Education’ (1992) 15 Aust Fem Stud 65; Yvonne Benschop & Margo Brouns, ‘Crumbling Ivory Towers: Academic Organizing and its Gender Effects’ (2003) 10 Gender, Work & Organization 194; Rebecca Smithers, ‘“Serious Lack” of Women in Academia’ The Guardian (18 Mar 2004) (although see above n131) reporting that of 170 heads of higher education institutions in the UK, 13% are women. On gender difference in intrinsic, altruistic and social rewards see Margaret Mooney Marini, Pi-Ling Fan, Erica Finley & Ann Beutel, ‘Gender and Job Values’ (1996) 69 Sociology of Education 49.

[134]For some (including this author), of course, ‘[w]e would all be better off if academics wrote fewer but better books’: Lynne Segal, ‘Opinion’ The Guardian (13 Feb 2001).

[135]Stephen Whitehead, ‘>From Paternalism to Entrepreneurialism: the Experience of Men Managers in UK Post Compulsory Education’ (1999) 20 Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 57; Kerfoot & Whitehead, above n79; Whitehead, above n79; Collier, above n7; Whitehead & Moodley, above n78; Jill Blackmore, ‘“In the Shadow of Men”: The Historical Construction of Administration as a “Masculinist Enterprise”’ in Jill Blackmore & Jane Kenway (eds), Gender Matters in Educational Administration and Policy (1993); Bob Lingard & Peter Douglas, Men Engaging Feminisms: Pro-feminism, Backlashes & Schooling (1999); Thornton (2001a), above n6 observes the way in which senior university managers, almost invariably male, surround themselves with men who possess similar characteristics to themselves; Richard Collier, ‘“Nutty Professors”, “Men in Suits” & “New Entrepreneurs”: Corporeality, Subjectivity and Change in the Law School and Legal Practice’ (1998) 7 Social & Leg Stud 27; Richard Collier, ‘Masculinism, Law and Law Teaching’ (1991) 19 Int’l J the Sociology of Law 427; Margaret Thornton, ‘Hegemonic Masculinity and the Academy’ (1989) 17 Int’l J the Sociology of Law at 115.

[136]One itself premised on a ‘relentless’ performativity: Michael White, ‘Lets Bring Back the Weekend’ THES (8 Jun 2001).

[137]University restructuring has been seen to have had consequences for the gendered composition of management in its embrace, eg, of a corporate expectation that managers would work longer hours and, in some cases, be contactable at any time (the culture of ‘get in early, out late’): David Collinson & Margaret Collinson, ‘Delayering Managers: Time-space Surveillance and its Gendered Effects’ (1997) 4 Organization 375 at 399. The discourses of the new corporate management styles, Kerfoot and Knights suggest, are particularly well suited to the patterns of a ‘compulsive masculinity’ which can, in turn, lead to a ‘disembodiment’ in the continuous individual pursuit of the new targets and challenges within the overarching ethos of performativity (something experienced by both men and women, although not necessarily in the same ways): Deborah Kerfoot & David Knights, ‘The Best is Yet to Come? The Quest for Embodiment in Managerial Work’ in David Collinson & Jeff Hearn (eds), Men as Managers, Managers as Men: Critical Perspectives on Men, Masculinities and Managements (1996). The new management practices required by the restructured university are characterised by such ‘overly rational, disembodied and instrumental pursuits’ which ‘make modern management particularly important sites for the reproduction of masculine discourses and practices’ (at 97). (Emphasis added.) See further Lalage Bown, ‘Beyond the Degree: Men and Women at the Decision-making Levels in British Higher Education’ (1999) 11 Gender & Education 5; Jeff Hearn, ‘Men, Managers and Management: The Case of Higher Education’ in Whitehead & Moodley, above n78; David Collinson & Jeff Hearn, ibid; Catherine Itzin & Janet Newman (eds), Gender, Culture and Organizational Change: Putting Theory into Practice (1995); Judy Wajcman, Managing Like a Man: Women and Men in Corporate Management (1998); Amanda Sinclair, Doing Leadership Differently: Gender, Power and Sexuality in a Changing Business Culture (1998); Kathleen Jones, Compassionate Authority: Democracy and the Representation of Women (1993).

[138]Ibid. See also Rosemary Deem, ‘Gender, Organisational Culture and the Practices of Manager-Academics in UK Universities’ (2003) 10 Gender, Work & Organisation 239.

[139]Joan Chrisler, ‘Teacher Versus Scholar: Role Conflict for Women’ in Lynn Collins, Joan Chrisler & Kathryn Quina (eds), Career Strategies for Women in Academe: Arming Athena (1998); Jill Blackmore, ‘Doing Emotional Labour in the Academic Marketplace’ (1996) 17 Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 337.

[140]See the work of Pritchard, above n49 at 64; Yeatman, above n54. AUT Research, published July 2004, reports that ‘male academics [are] almost twice as likely as female to be described as research active’; the conclusion reached is that ‘women are discriminated against by the RAE’: AUT, Academic Staff 2002–3: Gender and Research Activity in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (2004). As to possible reasons why this is the case see Clare Burton, ‘Merit and Gender: Organisations and the Mobilisation of Masculine Bias’ (1987) 22 Aust J Social Issues 424; Clare Burton, The Promise and the Price: The Struggle for Equal Opportunity in Women’s Employment (1991). See also Donald MacLeod, ‘Pay Tables Highlight Gender Gap “Scandal”’ The Guardian (23 May 2003).

[141]Ibid. On women academics being ‘held back by a fear of failure’ in making research grant applications in the new climate see ‘Risky Business’ THES (17 Oct 2000) on the exclusion of women in RAE returns. See Alison Goddard, ‘Staff Lose out in Wily Bids for RAE Cash’ THES (6 Jul 2001); ‘Tertiary System Pumped by Testosterone’ The Australian (15 Aug 2001). See also Tania Branigan, ‘Women’s Enjoyment of Careers Plummets’ The Guardian (13 Jun 2001). For the view that this has in the past, in effect, produced a market in male academics; J Gray, ‘Letter’ THES (17 Nov 1995); Barnard, above n62 at 476; Cherry Norton, ‘Women Lost out When Partners Switch Jobs’ The Independent (24 Feb 2000); Will Woodward, ‘Gender Pay Gap at University Widens’ The Guardian (17 Jul 2001), reporting a pay gap in some UK universities of over 30% between women and men.

[142] Dearlove, above n50.

[143]Something which anecdotal evidence suggests is increasingly taking place, illustrating not only a demographic shift in universities but also the erosion of the ‘job for life’ model in higher education as new attitudes to work and career, and innovative orientations to the labour market, emerge amongst middle-class professionals. Higher Education Statistics published in 2003 point, generally, to an increasingly aging profession, with almost half of UK academics being 45 or over.

[144]See eg, Lee Elliot-Major, ‘A New Bridge To Cross’ The Guardian (19 Feb 2002) at 9. Although, as noted above n15, this issue is itself mediated by local context, with the problem particularly pressing in England and Wales rather than Scotland.

[145]Beyond the legal academy, the issue of ‘drift’ from universities has become a recurring theme within both the professional and general press in the UK: see eg, ‘Opinion: Why I Have No Regrets about Having Left Academe’ THES (14 Nov 2003) at 16; M Tytherleigh & C Cooper, ‘Lives on the Rocks: Jobs in Academia Carry Too High a Personal Price’ THES (3 Oct 2001) at 16; Rebecca Smithers, ‘Third of Academics Want to Quit’ (citing poor pay and workload as primary reasons) The Guardian (10 Mar 2003).

[146]On class fragmentation and social change within the legal academy, see Collier, above n111. Note, generally, Mike Savage, P Dickens & T Fielding, Property, Bureaucracy and Culture: Middle-Class Formation in Contemporary Britain (1992). See also Mike Savage & Tim Butler (eds), Social Change and the Middle Classes (1995); Rosemary Crompton, ‘Consumption and Class Analysis’ in Stephen Edgell, Kevin Hetherington & A Warde (eds), Consumption Matters: The Production and Experience of Consumption (1996); Tim Butler, Gentrification and the Middle Classes (1997); on law see Collier, above n111.

[147]Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004) at 166.

[148]Stuart Hall & Ian Aitkens, ‘Thatcherism Today’ 6 New Statesman and Society (26 Nov 1993).

[149]Thornton (2001a), above n6 at 43: ‘Universities now generally evince little patience with basic or theoretical research. As the only credible goal of research is power, not truth, the humanist goals of social liberalism are regarded as effete’.

[150]Kelsey, above n8.

[151]Some institutions, eg, have benefited from the increased flow of industry funds into areas for research and development and a heightened differentiation among faculties in terms of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ (itself identified as a consequence of globalisation): note the divergence between the ‘everyday’ experience of academics in the 5* ‘golden triangle’ institutions (London, Oxford, Cambridge: a ‘diamond’ if one includes Manchester), ‘mid-table’ Russell Group ‘redbricks’ (such as the university in which I work), and the post-1992 ‘new universities’ (formerly the polytechnics): see ‘Elite Plans to Go It Alone Over Pay’ THES (8 Dec 2000); Chris Johnston & Aian Thomson, ‘Golden Diamond Outshines Rest’ THES (23 Jul 2004) at 10–11; Donald MacLeod, ‘Fears of Elite Split: New Universities Feel the Pressure as Gulf Widens’ The Guardian (10 Sep 2002).

[152]See < organisations/russell_group3706.cfm> (17 Oct 2004); < _group.htm> (17 Oct 2004). A sub group of ‘super-elite’ universities has recently emerged within the Russell Group, termed the ‘G5’, comprising LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL. These, according to press reports, have now begun to make separate representations to government and the media in search of additional funding: ‘Donald MacLeod & Anthea Lipsett, ‘Narrowing the Field’ The Guardian (8 Jul 2003).

[153]An answer to which can be found in Janet Finch, ‘Foreword: Why be Interested in Women’s Position in Academe?’ (2003) 10 Gender, Work & Organization 133.

[154]Above n5.

[155]Oakley, above n80 at xiii.

[156]Ibid. See also Janice Newson, ‘Conclusion: Repositioning the Local Through Alternative Responses to Globalization’ in Currie & Newson, above n4.

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