Search results

1 – 10 of 67

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Article
Publication date: 23 January 2023

Hannah Forsyth

This paper explores the economic and social effects of human capital investment in the 20th century. As well as drawing on census data and statistical yearbooks in Australia and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the economic and social effects of human capital investment in the 20th century. As well as drawing on census data and statistical yearbooks in Australia and Aoteoroa/New Zealand, the paper develops its argument by an intersection of scholarly work in sociology, economics and the history of education to consider the effects of increased human capital investment on economic growth but also on the experiences of childhood, work discipline and the present climate crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper considers the implications of what economic historian Claudia Goldin has described as the “human capital century” for the history of school and university education. By reconsidering education in the settler colonies, especially Australia and Aoteoroa/New Zealand, as “stimulus”, this helps explain key aspects of contemporary human capital investment, which the paper argues should be understood as constituted by children's and young people's free labour at school, university and across the economy.

Findings

This research argues that children's and young people's free labour, performed in educational institutions, constitutes a large portion of Australia and Aoteoroa/New Zealand's national investment in human capital. At key points, this investment has acted as an economic stimulus, promoting surges of profitability. The effects were not confined to young people. Systematised, educational expansion also became the foundation of environmental degradation, labour market exploitation and a relentless increase in service-sector productivity that is worn on professional bodies. Productivity increases have been associated with reduced professional autonomy as a managerial class coerced professionals into working harder, though often under the guise of working “smarter” – a fiction that encouraged or coerced even greater personal investment in collective human capital. This investment of personal time, effort and selfhood by children and the professionals they grew into can thus be seen, in Marxian terms, as a crucial vector of capitalist exploitation in the 20th century.

Practical implications

The paper concludes by suggesting that a reduction of managerial influence in educational settings would improve learner and professional autonomy with improved labour and environmental conditions.

Originality/value

The paper makes a unique contribution to the history of education by exploring education as stimulus as a key component of education’s role in 20th and 21st century capitalism. It interrogates exploitative aspects of human capital investment, especially in the midst of environmental catastrophe and the recent COVID crisis.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 52 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Hannah Forsyth

205

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Content available

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Hannah Forsyth

The purpose of this paper is to consider the national and international political-economic environment in which Australian university research grew. It considers the implications…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the national and international political-economic environment in which Australian university research grew. It considers the implications of the growing significance of knowledge to the government and capital, looking past institutional developments to also historicise the systems that fed and were fed by the universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on the extensive archival research in the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial on the formation and funding of a wide range of research programmes in the immediate post-war period after the Second World War. These include the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the NHMRC, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian Pacific Territories Research Council, the Commonwealth Office of Education, the Universities Commission and the Murray review. This research was conducted under the Margaret George Award for emerging scholars for a project entitled “Knowledge, Nation and Democracy in Post-War Australia”.

Findings

After the Second World War, the Australian Government invested heavily in research: funding that continued to expand in subsequent decades. In the USA, similar government expenditure affected the trajectory of capitalist democracy for the remainder of the twentieth century, leading to a “military-industrial complex”. The outcome in Australia looked quite different, though still connected to the structure and character of Australian political economics.

Originality/value

The discussion of the spectacular growth of universities after the Second World War ordinarily rests on the growth in enrolments. This paper draws on a very large literature review as well as primary research to offer new insights into the connections between research and post-war political and economic development, which also explain university growth.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 June 2010

Hannah Forsyth

When James Conant visited Australia in 1951 he unwittingly entered an existing, lengthy debate about the value of university‐based knowledge in Australia. The Second World War…

Abstract

When James Conant visited Australia in 1951 he unwittingly entered an existing, lengthy debate about the value of university‐based knowledge in Australia. The Second World War, with its significant reliance on academic expertise, had suggested that if knowledge could win wars, the labour of academic staff could be considered to normally have social and economic value to the nation. In 1951 Conant had no way of foreseeing that steps made, in this light, at Federal level during and after the war, would culminate in the 1957 Review of Universities in Australia, chaired by Sir Keith Murray, and the injection of a large amount of funding into the university system. Conant’s confidential report to the Carnegie Corporation does show that he saw the system in desperate need of funding, which wasa reality that everyone agreed upon.1 The long debate included options for university funding and the potential change to the character of universities if the community, rather than the cloister, was to determine the purpose and character of knowledge. Conant’s report reflects this debate, centring (as many other participants did as well) on the value universities would gain if they were more obviously useful and relevant to industry and if their reputation was less stained by elitism and arrogance. Conant could not gather sufficient data in his visit to identify the nuances of this long discussion nor could he see the depth and spread of its influence over the decade or so preceding his visit. As a result, his particular agenda seems to obscure the perception of the threat that change provoked to some of the traditional values associated with academic work. To consider the debate and the character of academic work in the university scene that Conant fleetingly visited, we need to look back just a few years to another, but very different, visitor to the Australian system.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Open Access
Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2023

Hokyu Hwang

While the university as an institution is a great success story, one hears the constant chatter of the crises in higher education usually associated with the organizational…

Abstract

While the university as an institution is a great success story, one hears the constant chatter of the crises in higher education usually associated with the organizational transformation of universities. Regardless of one’s normative assessment of these observations, the institutional success of the university has been accompanied by the emergence of universities as organizational actors. I reflect on how these changes could alter the university as an institution, using the Australian higher education sector as an example. In doing so, I explore how universities as organizational actors, in responding to the demands of their external environment, set in motion a series of changes that redefine highly institutionalized categories, and, in doing so, radically remake the university as an institution.

Details

University Collegiality and the Erosion of Faculty Authority
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80455-814-0

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 June 2013

Hannah Forsyth

The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of tensions between the benefits (such as technologies and skills) and the substance of knowledge (often described as “pure…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of tensions between the benefits (such as technologies and skills) and the substance of knowledge (often described as “pure inquiry”) in Australian universities. There are advantages to considering this debate in Australia, since its universities were tightly connected to scholarly networks in the British Empire. After the Second World War, those ties were loosened, enabling influences from American research and technological universities, augmented by a growing connection between universities, government economic strategy and the procedures of industry. This paper thus traces some of routes by which arguments travelled and the ways they were articulated in post‐war Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

Ideas do not travel on their own. In this paper, the author takes a biographical approach to the question of contrasting attitudes to university knowledge in the post‐war period, comparing the international scholarly and professional networks of two British scientists who travelled to Australia – contemporaries in age and education – both influencing Australian higher education policy in diametrically opposing ways.

Findings

This research demonstrates that the growing connection with economic goals in Australian universities after the Second World War was in part a result of the new international and cross‐sectoral networks in which some scholars now operated.

Originality/value

Australian historiography suggests that shifts in the emphases of post‐war universities were primarily the consequence of government policy. This paper demonstrates that the debates that shaped Australia's modern university system were also conducted among an international network of scholars.

1 – 10 of 67