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28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 22 February 2012

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.

  • Stefan Collini

    Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge University

    What Are Universities For?
    Publisher: Penguin
    ISBN-10: 1846144825
    ISBN-13: 978-1846144820

    Find out more about Stefan Collini
  • Martin Parker

    Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Warwick,

    Alternative Business: Outlaws, Crime and Culture
    Publisher: Routledge
    ISBN-10: 0415586488
    ISBN-13: 978-0415586481

    Find out more about Martin Parker
  • Dick Hobbs

    Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Essex

    ESRC funded project “A Sociology of Policing and Police-Community Relations at the London 2012 Olympics”
    Professor Dick Hobbs - Dr Gary Armstrong - Professor Richard Giulianotti

    Find out more about Dick Hobbs


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