Europe on the way to Shanghai (the invasion of neoliberalism into the academic world) Taja Kramberger and Drago B. Rotar
Summary: Universities in the European Union and the USA and, to a lesser degree, also elsewhere in the world face changes that have not been brought about by either their role of a social institution (typical of the constitution of European societies) or the scientific and intellectual preoccupations that are the reason for the institution’s existence. Following a series of declarations underlining university and intellectual autonomy, the freedom of research, everybody’s right to education, the free flow of ideas and knowledge, we have now reached an era of pushing these achievements to the background and of setting universities on utilitarian rails called collaboration with the economy. The public funding of public education available for everyone has been – along with the slogans about »the knowledge society« – shown to be nothing but waste. Reforms keep changing universities into companies, the products of research into performance, knowledge into competences, and everything together into the »stuff« that sells but is not particularly sought. The article examines some instances in the process of the banalization of higher education, caused and stimulated by neoliberal governments with the help of pseudo-economic principles of competition at all costs and among all types of social subjects. This single-directedness comprises newspeak, the venality of people and actions, a clientele, rankings, and non-stop evaluations by criteria that are absolutely inappropriate for any intellectual activity. Does this mean the end of university and the beginning of the new Dark Ages?