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Harrington, Jon
Publisher: Northumbria University
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: M200, X300
In recent years the universities have changed from pre-enlightenment "protectors" of societal knowledge to typically modern "business" orientated bureaucracies. It is argued that as a consequence, their status has also changed from one of independent "observer" into that of "product producer"; driven particularly by their newly adopted managerialistic principles, aimed at making them more "business" orientated. This has been fuelled by the domination of a scientistic (Positivist) epistemology throughout the university sector, which emerged from an important philosophical debate, in the sixties, between Kuhn and Popper. Establishing facticity, based upon scientistic methodology, in research as supreme; it allowed for a marriage of convenience between the managerialistic ambitions of the new elite and the worldly theory it purported, as a self-fulfilling justification and prophecy of their actions. Debate in this area has been centred upon the practicalities of managing such a change and its consequences in terms of organisation and management efficiencies. Discussion regarding longer-term effects of whether such a change in the universities, driven in particular by their business schools and senior management, might have a more fundamental impact upon the way we theorise and think about ourselves, is rarely covered. It is contended that such omission is misplaced. The universities' traditional role in society as guardians of our ontological theorectics is being downgraded by increasing demands for them, from government bodies and the like, to behave akin to profit making organisations. This thesis is contending, therefore, that as a consequence of university management search for greater efficiencies, the epistemological frameworks for research, and subsequent theorectics, in the universities have become politicised. It is argued that eventually this will affect society's ontological frameworks and hence change the way we, as individuals, regard our reality. Central to this, is the premise that given the dominant scientistic method, alluded to above, is tainted by political intrusion, it would be inappropriate to use it as a method of analysis. However, it is also contended that constructivist ethnomedology is similarly, and ultimately, dependent upon rationo¬factual research and therefore is inappropriate. With the use of a negative dialectic, instituted by early Frankfurt School discussion, this work, therefore, seeks to establish a new facticity independent, universal theorectic based upon proto-epistemological states. The aim is to lay bare the corruptible nature of the relationship between politicised epistemology and its consequential ontological state and thus demonstrate the potentiality of the danger facing our universities and society.
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