Thinking Allowed - 22/02/2012
In 1980, 300,000 students were in British universities. Today it is 2.25 million. Laurie talks to Stefan Collini about what universities are for. Also, why we all love an outlaw.
In 1980 there were around 300,000 students in forty-six universities, now there are some two and a quarter million students studying in 130 universities across Britain. More people than ever before are receiving a university education but despite - or even because of this - there is enormous anxiety about the role that universities should play. Should they be judged on their contribution to the economy or on the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake? How can their 'impact' or success be measured? The intellectual historian Stefan Collini puts these debates in their historical context as he talks to Laurie about his new book, What Are Universities For?
And why are we so fascinated with outlaws? Could it be that they offer an alternative way of life without the hierarchies and corporate power that seem to hold us back? Martin Parker, author of Alternative Business: Outlaws Crime and Culture thinks so. He discusses his work with Laurie and criminologist Dick Hobbs.
Producer: Charlie Taylor.