Generational tensions in higher education
Bristow, J. 2023. Generational tensions in higher education.
Debates about academic freedom, freedom of speech, and the construction of knowledge have been part of the University landscape for decades, and at times taken the form of generational conflict. For example, during the campus protests of the late 1960s, students from the youthful ‘Baby Boomer’ generation pitted themselves against the ‘pedagogic gerontocracy’ of traditional academic practices and institutional norms, demanding the right to self-expression and a critical orientation to knowledge. The ‘free speech wars’ currently playing out on campuses in the UK and US are similarly characterised by tensions between students and academics over language, knowledge, and the purpose of the University, but with some significant differences. Younger generations stand accused of promoting an illiberal ‘cancel culture’, while their elders are presented as manipulating the principle of free speech to perpetuate social injustice. In this lecture, sociologist Jennie Bristow uses a generational lens to explore current conflicts in Higher Education, and why these have erupted now.
|Students; Universities; Policy; Free speech
|British Educational Studies Association
File Access Level
|Publication process dates
|06 Jul 2023
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