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A look back on some books we did not manage to review in 2017 by Jens Jungblut, Book Reviews Editor

Dr. Jens Jungblut, Stanford University

The year 2017 marked my first year as the book reviews editor for the European Journal of Higher Education. It has been a successful year in the sense that it was possible to ensure the publication of at least one book review in each issue and establish a set of submission as well as style guidelines. At the same time, the higher education research community is so active that there have been many more books published than we could ever review. Therefore, I want to use this editorial to briefly mention at least some more books that have been published in 2017 and which might be of interest for the European higher education research community. Obviously, this brief selection faces the same problem as the book reviews section in general in the sense that it can only be a somewhat subjective selection of titles out of a much larger pool of books published in 2017, most of which will be interesting and relevant for at least parts of the community. At this point, I want to use the opportunity to thank all the authors who contributed to the book reviews section in 2017 by taking the time to write a review for the European Journal of Higher Education. This section would not be possible without their help.

 

Bleiklie, Ivar, Enders, Jürgen, Lepori, Benedetto (Eds.). Managing Universities Policy and Organizational Change from a Western European Comparative Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN: 9783319538648, 93.59 € (hardcover), 329 pp.

This volume investigates how modern universities are organized and managed. Its main focus is on the question if 30 years of university reforms have resulted in stronger managerial structures and leadership control. The book is based on a large scale comparative study of 26 universities across eight European countries. It highlights the strength of university managerial structures, the role of academics, and how universities relate to and depend on their environment.

 

Collins, Christopher S., Buasuwan, Prompilai (Eds.). Higher Education Access in the Asia Pacific. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN: 9783319586694, 48.87€ (hardcover), 166 pp.

This edited volume investigates higher education in the Asia Pacific region. It uses empirical, evaluative, and philosophical perspectives to study the role of higher education as a human right in the Asia Pacific context. While higher education has grown throughout the region questions related to price, accessibility, mobility, and government funding shape the degree to which higher education may be viewed as a human right.

 

Deem, Rosemary, Eggins, Heather (Eds.). The University as a Critical Institution?. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, ISBN: 9789463511148, 54.00 USD (softcover), 248 pp.

The book addresses the central question whether universities can survive as critical organizations in today’s environment. It focuses on three main themes: governance, critical regulation and regulated criticism; growth, equality, movement and instability in higher education systems; and teaching and learning. The volume is international in its outlook, including empirical cases from higher education systems within Europe and beyond.

 

Hay, Iain. How to be an Academic Superhero Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN: 9781786438133, USD 40.00 (softcover), 256 pp.

The book draws from the author’s decades of observation and experience in academia and serves as a guide to overcome the challenges of fostering a successful academic career. It includes an overarching focus on holistic career development as well as specific chapters on mentorship, networking, job applications and interviews, publishing, funding and more.

 

Mattingly, Paul H. American Academic Cultures A History of Higher Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 9780226505268, USD 35.00 (softcover), 464 pp.

This book focuses on the history of higher education in the USA. The author sees this history as the product of different generational cultures, each grounded in its own moment in time and driven by historically distinct values that generated specific problems and responses. He further argues that we see through this analysis of each culture in their historical moment that the politics of higher education are to a strong degree driven by the dominant culture of the time.

 

Menand, Louis, Reitter, Paul, Wellmon, Chad (Eds.). The Rise of the Research University A Sourcebook. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 9780226414713, USD 32.50 (softcover), 400 pp.

The editors of this volume argue that the modern research university is a global institution with a rich history. In this book they bring many different important historical texts together, assembling a fascinating collection of primary sources—many translated into English for the first time. The authors also enrich the texts with short essays that contextualize their importance. Through this they offer a portrait of the early research university.

 

Mittelman, James H. Implausible Dream The World-Class University and Repurposing Higher Education. Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN: 9780691165189, USD 39.50 (hardcover), 288 pp.

The author of this book argues that the paradigm of the world-class university is an implausible dream for most institutions of higher education around the world. In his view, their pursuit of this paradigm leads universities to shift away from their core missions of cultivating democratic citizenship, fostering critical thinking, and safeguarding academic freedom. Instead these institutions focus on a new form of utilitarianism that favors market power over academic values. The author exemplifies his argument with empirical cases from the USA, Finland, and Uganda.

 

Sundet, Marit, Forstorp, Per-Anders, Örtenblad, Anders (Eds.). Higher Education in the High North Academic Exchanges between Norway and Russia. Dordrecht: Springer, ISBN: 9783319568317, 93.59 € (hardcover), 285 pp.

This edited volume investigates how “Northern futures” are transformed through regional cooperation. The authors study the social, cultural and political aspects of higher education and the exchanges of learning and people in the Euro-Arctic Barents region, especially between Norway and Russia. The authors show that educational cooperation between Norway and Russia is possible, but that existing practices are also vulnerable to changes .

 

Troschitz, Robert. Higher Education and the Student From welfare state to neoliberalism. London: Routledge, ISBN: 9781138213500, USD 150.00 (hardcover), 236 pp.

The book starts from the observation that Britain, and in particular England, has radically transformed its higher education system over the last decades. In line with neoliberal values, universities have increasingly been required to act like businesses, and students are frequently referred to as customers. In this, the book focuses on the relation between the changing function of higher education and what one considers the term ‘student’ to stand for.

 

Whitchurch, Celia, Gordon, George (Eds.). Reconstructing Relationships in Higher Education Challenging Agendas. London: Routledge, ISBN: 9781138810822, USD 48.95 (softcover), 192 pp.

This volume looks behind formal organizational structures and workforce patterns in higher education to consider the significance of relationships, particularly at local and informal levels, for the aspirations and motivations of academic faculty. Based on an institutional perspective, relationships are seen to be a critical factor in the realization of strategy, and to have a disproportionate effect, both positively and negatively. However, little attention has so far been paid to the role that they play in understanding the interface between individuals and institutions. This gap is addressed by this volume.

 

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