The Coming Crisis of Academic Authority

  • Eric R. Lybeck


Lybeck establishes that the Western university bears clear signs of a long-standing and worrying trend: the prioritisation of the research function over its traditional teaching function. This degrades students’ education, and has turned academics into supplicants beholden to governments and market interests on whom they rely for research grants and publications. The result is the coming crisis of academic authority: researchers’ retention of academic rights, without corresponding responsibility for those in their care, particularly students. In addition, the chapter shows that alternative visions of higher education face serious obstacles, evident in Lybeck’s unsuccessful attempt to become Graduate Union President at the University of Cambridge on a platform to (re)introduce the model of the scholastic guild prevalent centuries ago, into which graduate students pay to support a community of postgraduates entering the labour market.


Academic authority Scholastic guild Universities 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric R. Lybeck
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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