The politics of performativity and universities : a comparative analysis between England, The Netherlands and Germany
This thesis is a comparative study of the 'politics of performativity' in the reform of university systems in England, The Netherlands, and Germany. The thesis examines the social construction of the performativity agenda for the university in these countries since the mid-1970s, and the practices of performativity which have been invented by these States. The main arguments of the thesis are that the politics of performativity redefine the nature of the university, and that the densities and intensities of the social construction of the performativity agendas are dependent on national political patterns. To test these main arguments, the thesis is organised in six Chapters. Chapter One is an introduction to the themes of the thesis. These themes include academic work, definitions of 'good knowledge', the role of the State in reconstructing the university, and the dominance of the current valuation of 'performance'. Chapter Two sets out the theoretical framework of the thesis, giving a detailed conceptualisation of performativity. The main narratives are in Chapter Three (which is on England), Chapter Four (The Netherlands), and Chapter Five (Germany). These Chapters describe the emergence of policy discourses of performativity and the social construction of the performativity agenda for the university in each national context. The Chapters also examine the policy practices which have been created by the States to restructure the university around performativity, and the rules for university performance. Finally, these Chapters explore the emerging consequences for the nature of knowledge and academic work. Chapter Six is the Conclusion, in which a reinterpretation of the politics ofperformativity is offered.