What are Universities For? (Paperback)
  • What are Universities For? (Paperback)

What are Universities For? (Paperback)

Paperback 240 Pages
Published: 23/02/2012
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Across the world, universities are more numerous than they have ever been, yet at the same time there is unprecedented confusion about their purpose and scepticism about their value. What Are Universities For? offers a spirited and compelling argument for completely rethinking the way we see our universities, and why we need them.

Stefan Collini challenges the common claim that universities need to show that they help to make money in order to justify getting more money. Instead, he argues that we must reflect on the different types of institution and the distinctive roles they play. In particular we must recognize that attempting to extend human understanding, which is at the heart of disciplined intellectual enquiry, can never be wholly harnessed to immediate social purposes - particularly in the case of the humanities, which both attract and puzzle many people and are therefore the most difficult subjects to justify.

At a time when the future of higher education lies in the balance, What Are Universities For? offers all of us a better, deeper and more enlightened understanding of why universities matter, to everyone.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781846144820
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 179 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 14 mm


An eloquent and impassioned book - Economist

Collini is astute, analytical, and often killingly funny - Bevis Hillier, Daily Telegraph

Collini is that rare bird, a don who can be read with pleasure - Michael Barber, Tablet, Books of the Year

One of Britain's finest essayists and writers - Ronan McDonald, The Times Higher Education Supplement

[A] timely lecture for the coalition of dunces ... this is a closely argued defence - Independent on Sunday

The book is a bit like some university courses. It is erudite, well argued, carefully researched, a fine addition to the debate about the purpose of university education - Scotsman

[Collini is] stern and splendid in his brief history of the hot debate on useful versus useless knowledge - Fred Inglis, Times Higher Education

It is extremely well written: Collini's prose is lively, well-reasoned and persuasive. The book is a refreshing example of a faculty member engaging with the wider issues of higher education rather than perceiving them through the narrow prism of his own discipline ... a valuable, timely contribution to the discourse - Gerry Wrixon, Irish Examiner

A critique both pointed and witty - Howard Newby, Independent

Collini writes beautifully - Chris Patten, Financial Times

Collini puts his finger on the nub of the problem facing universities. Collini's book is a must-read - AC Grayling, Literary Review

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