Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe

Title chapter: Academic Schizophrenia: Communication Scholars and the Double Bind
Author: Francois Heinderyckx
Keywords: Scholars, Austerity, Teaching, Communication Research
Abstract: The academic world is under tremendous and unprecedented pressure worldwide. The economic downturn, and the austerity imposed on public finances have forced higher education into logics of efficiency from which they used to be preserved. The academic world had to be somewhat protected from the vagaries of social, political and economic trends. Not anymore. What's more, with endemic unemployment reaching worrying highs in many Western countries, the education system is blatantly accused of being largely responsible for the discrepancy between the qualifications of the labour force and the requirements of the labour market. In short, academic institutions are supposed to improve, but their performance in doing that is measured both in financial efficiency and in employability of graduating students. Being under pressure is not problematic as such. Pressure can stimulate creativity, structural improvements and gains in efficiency. Pressure can be the institutional equivalent of the "positive stress" that drives us to give the best of ourselves, to think outside the box, to venture outside our comfort zone, to challenge and rejuvenate some of our certitudes.
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