Public goods and public universities in Chile: between the State and the market’s omnipresence

16th December 2019 : 12:30 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Higher Education

Speaker: Carolina Guzmán Valenzuela

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room G

Convener: Simon Marginson

Seminar Abstract


The Chilean higher education is characterised by unique features that make the concept of ‘public’ a multidimensional and fuzzy concept. Through an empirical study that involved interviews with academics and authorities from two public universities, the meanings attached to the production of ‘public goods’ by universities were examined. Findings show a certain similarity of meanings in relation to professional formation, knowledge production and the role of the university in promoting social equity and pluralism, although with different nuances. Also, the production of public goods is analysed in the light of the relationships between universities, the State and the market from which ambivalent meanings emerged. On the one hand, a naturalization of the idea of market in higher education appears and is contested by some academics, and on the other hand, academics are concerned that the State does not enlist public universities in the pursuit of a national agenda. Questions about the idea of the ‘public’ in relation to marketized contexts are discussed.


About the speaker


Carolina Guzmán Valenzuela is an associate professor at the Institute of Education, University of Chile. For more than a decade, she has specialised in the study of higher education in a global context, drawing especially on social theory, critical sociologies and, recently, postcolonialism.


About the Department of Education


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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