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De quelques préconditions à la liberté académique


  • Jean Luc De Meulemeester


In this paper we assess both the benefits of academic freedom and the conditions required for its existence. We propose a long run historical sketch to put forward the institutional and financial characteristics of the Humboldtian model that stressed the very idea of academic freedom. We show how this model influenced the later developments of higher education, both in Europe and the USA. We stress how the post-WW2 massive expansion of higher education led to more utilitarian considerations by the State funding the institutions. The crisis of the 70s and the rise of neoliberalism since the early 80s led to the emergence of a new vision of higher education as a tool for economic performance. In this new and anti-Humboldtian perspective, higher education institutions are monitored from above (regulated competition, selective funding, output-based rather than input-based) and transformed internally into firm-like organizations. We question the potential dangers for academic freedom.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Luc De Meulemeester, 2020. "De quelques préconditions à la liberté académique," Working Papers CEB 20-013, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/315106

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Higher Education; Academic Freedom; Conditions; History;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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