Questing Excellence in Academia : A Tale of Two Universities book cover
1st Edition

Questing Excellence in Academia
A Tale of Two Universities

ISBN 9780367259334
Published December 7, 2021 by Routledge
236 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $32.00
was $160.00
USD $128.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Unlike almost most other studies of neoliberal universities and academic capitalism this book ethnographically explores and interprets those transformations and their contradictions empirically in the everyday practices of students, faculty members, and administrators at two public universities: NTNU in Norway and UCLA in California.

Differently situated in global political economies, both are ambitious, prosperous campuses. The book refl exively examines their disturbing disputes about quality, competition, and innovation. It argues that some academic, bureaucratic, and corporate university governance practices are both unsustainable and undermining what some university students and faculty already do well: circulate interdisciplinary knowledge and its making globally across the diasporic domains of academia, society, industry, and government while addressing the world’s immediate challenges: power, inequities, and sustainability.

It shows the important, strategic work of domesticating, co- morphing, and meshworking at the faultlines of emerging knowledge. This book is for students, faculty, society members, and policy makers who want to engage more effectively with contemporary universities that increasingly serve as busy crossroads for sharing ideas and how to make them. It will be of interest to workers and scholars in the interdisciplinary fi elds of higher education studies, critical university studies, and critical public infrastructure studies, plus science, technology, and society studies.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

1. Navigating Universities, University Studies, and this Book

2. Disciplining Universities: Performance Metrics, Policy Reforms and Reputations

3. In the Shadows of Excellence and Neoliberal Interventions: Enactments of Academic Autonomy and Strained Collegiality

4. Subject Formation and Re-formation throughout Academic Careers: The Double Bind of Disciplined Entrepreneurs

5. The Meshworking University: The Traffic in Knowledge through Teaching, innovation, and Interdisciplinarity Practices

6. Conclusion: Questing a Sustainable University

View More



Knut H. Sørensen is Professor Emeritus at NTNU, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture and Centre for Technology and Society. His academic work has spanned many areas of study, including climate and energy studies, feminist technoscience, and interdisciplinarity.

Sharon Traweek is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at UCLA and holds the Bernal Prize for her distinguished contributions to Science, Technology, and Society studies. She conducts research and teaches about knowledge making practices among anthropologists, astronomers, historians, and physicists in Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.