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On “Academic Capitalism” of R. Münch.

Review by L. Moulin published in Laboratorium : Russian Review of Social Research, vol. 6, n°3, 2014, pp. 154-156.

Richard Münch. Academic Capitalism: Universities in the Global Struggle for Excellence. New York: Routledge, 2013. 314 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-84014-9.

This book by Richard Münch, professor emeritus at the University of Bamberg, Germany, proposes a sociological analysis of academic capitalism and the rise of the “entrepreneurial university” that places the logic of business at the heart of its organization. Government policies, also known as New Public Management, that since the 1980s have imported ingredients from the private into the public sector in order to improve efficiency, produce an asymmetry between the increasing number of fund seekers and a smaller number of suppliers. They also lead to intense oligopolistic competition among universities, which overlays the competition among researchers for knowledge and their recognition by the scientific community. The intrusion of economic logic into the academic field leads researchers to compete for reputation and entrepreneurial universities to accumulate capital via competition for positions in the rankings.