Performativity and Domestication of Markets: The Case of Sustainable Higher Education - Ilkka Arminen


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Performativity and Domestication of Markets: The Case of Sustainable Higher Education - Ilkka Arminen

  1. 1. Performativity and Domestication of Markets• The Case of Sustainable Higher Education• Ilkka Arminen, professor• Department of Social Sciences• University of Helsinki 1
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  4. 4. OECD, (IMHE) Agenda 2004Two aims:1) Policy: how, at a time of diminished state funding and increasing institutional autonomy, governments can achieve their policy aims through the higher education system without the ability to direct institutions and without threatening their financial sustainability2) Management: how to manage the institution to secure its financial and academic sustainability at a time when the funding and policy environment is becoming much more competitive and challenging OECD 2004, 4 p.9
  5. 5. 1999, the UK introduced a commercial-style costing system (TRAC)• Three aims of the the Transparency Review method – TRAC :A) Costing and cost recovery: institutions should determine the full economic costs of their activities to recover their full economic costs so that the institution is financially sustainable .B) Pricing: public funders of research should recognise the full economic costs of the research when they agree cost-based prices with universities.C) Strategic asset management: institutions should develop comprehensive asset management and investment strategies for their infrastructure. Transparent approach 2005 5
  6. 6. The Consequences of TRACIn 2001-2, it was found out that• nearly all university research was funded at below the long-run (full economic) cost• a narrow focus on surplus and deficits of institutions masked longer-term problems of under-investment of infrastructures (4-5 % per annum)• few institutions had comprehensive asset management strategies, or any ability to finance such a strategy OECD 2004, p 52-53 6
  7. 7. Discourse on Sustainable Higher Education• Discourse on Sustainable Higher Education was formed in 1999-2004• HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) had a key role in shifting the environmental “sustainability” to financial (by combining the Blairian environmental and educational agendas)• J M Consulting Ltd (Jim Port) played also a key role in the formation of the Discourse on Sustainable Higher Education• The Browne report 2010 is a later shift within the Sustainable Higher Education discourse 7
  8. 8. TRAC and J M Consulting• The Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) was introduced in 1999 as a Government accountability requirement, but it is aimed also support institutional management• J M Consulting managed the introduction of TRAC and consulted OPEC/IMHE for 2004 report• TRAC is an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) system that uses institutional expenditure information from published financial statements, and applies cost drivers (such as academic time allocation and space usage) to allocate these costs to academic departments and to activities. 8
  9. 9. TRAC has a strong performative power Performativity paradigm: “Saying that economics has failed by neglecting to develop a theory of real markets and their multiple modes of functioning, amounts to admitting that there does exist a thing – the economy – which a science – economics – has taken as its object of analysis. The point of view that I have adopted in this introduction, and which the book strives to defend, is radically different. It consists in maintaining that economics, in the broad sense of the term, performs, shapes and formats the economy, rather than observing how it functions” (Callon, 1998: 2 The Laws of the Markets). TRAC is an organizational restructuring device that contributes to the marketisation of universities making them to act like market-oriented firms 9
  10. 10. Marketisation of higher education institutions OECD 2004, p.34 10
  11. 11. Domestication of university reforms• The discourse on sustainable higher education involves a deep sense that institutional reforms are not just technical but cultural, requiring changes in HEIs and societal structures• Further, academic and financial cultures have to be integrated respecting academic requirements; it is not a single party trade• Changes of that magnitude need to be domesticated, i.e., foreign frames need to be reconsidered so that processes become informed by local values and frames so that they become familiar and eventually taken-for-granted• The success of domestication solves the direction of performative processes, i.e., there is the danger of counterperformativity, market failure and suboptimal regress 11
  12. 12. The lessons of performativity• The performativity perspective provides an account of the centrality of markets in modern society, including the performative role of economic technologies• Performativity is realized through socio-material networks of practices and procedures – so called agencement• TRAC , the Activity-Based Costing (ABC) system, is the organizational restructuring device that contributes to the marketisation of universities• Markets as “calculative collective devices” transform daily life• Social relations of market actors are transformed when they become “calculable agencies” − universities to business-like HEIs• As Marx put it: ‘Production not only creates an object for the subject, but also a subject for the object’ 12
  13. 13. Thank you!• Ilkka 13