The university as fool

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Title: The university as fool
Authors: Kavanagh, Donncha
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5505
Date: Aug-2011
Abstract: Donncha Kavanagh (chapter eight) invites us to think of the university as fool,the idea of fool taken from the mediaeval courts and elsewhere in which the fool had a crucial role to play. The role of the fool, after all, is to present ambiguity to the powerful, wittily engaging his audience but perhaps to disturb a little as well.The fool is an irritant, a provocateur, whose modus operandi is to provoke newwisdom in others. Within the fool's foolishness, then, lies wisdom. Understood as fool, the university has had several masters or 'sovereign institutions' over its near-one thousand years of history, including the crown, the nation, the state, theprofessions and the world of work. The idea of fool, however, implies a certain 'liminality' from the main structures of power and so an issue (for Kavanagh) isthe extent to which this liminal role has been or is being abandoned. If, qua fool, the university is both to institutionalise and to de-institutionalise, the universitycannot become subservient to any authority. 'The fool must . . . be carefulnot to transgress this (liminal) role.' Accordingly, 'there is an . . . onus on the university . . . to actively foster intellectuals that question and play with society's institutions.'
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright (published version): 2012 Taylor & Francis
Keywords: UniversitiesHigher education
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Barnett, Ronald (eds.). The Future University: Ideas and Possibilities
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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