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Academia is an important site for producing knowledge, which is crucial in driving economies and societies around the globe at the beginning of the 21st century. Yet surprisingly little is known about how contemporary universities are shaped by the formal and multiple demands they face from national policy requirements, particularly performance measurement. What effects do these policies have on individual universities and the academics who work within them? While policy surely has impacts on institutions and academics, there are also numerous other things that shape academic life. This book’s starting point is that there are three main shaping forces that govern academia – intellectual curiosity, disciplinary traditions and research policy. Bringing these three levels together into a framework, this book examines how academia is governed, both formally and informally, bridging the different aspects of governing knowledge networks through a large multi-country study.
Author Jenny Lewis uses a large empirical study of academics in three countries (Australia, Britain and New Zealand) and in the broad disciplinary areas of the humanities, social sciences and sciences, to demonstrate the analytical framework’s application. The book also offers some needed directions on what policy should and can do, providing a snapshot of contemporary academic life in different disciplines and in different countries, from the perspective of academics on the frontline.