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Competitiveness, the Knowledge-Based Economy and Higher Education

Ngai-Ling Sum () and Bob Jessop ()

Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2013, vol. 4, issue 1, 24-44

Abstract: This article explores the appeal of the economic narratives of globalisation, competitiveness, and the knowledge-based economy and the impact of the economic and extra-economic tendencies that they both construe and help to construct with special reference to higher education. The argument develops in five steps: First, it analyses the socially constructed nature of competitiveness, exemplifying this from the influential account of Michael Porter and his Harvard Business School associates; second, it shows how the ‘knowledge-based economy’ (or KBE) concept developed as a scientific paradigm and policy paradigm in the context of the crisis of Fordism and how it has influenced public discourse on educational reform; third, it reviews how Porterian propositions on competitiveness have been translated into a ‘knowledge brand’ that is promoted by academic–guru–consultants and relayed through research centres, policy networks, and advisory services; fourth, it explores how the KBE is being re-contextualised in part in terms of ‘knowledge and higher education clusters’, ‘knowledge hubs’, etc., and their role in competitiveness; and fifth, it notes some implications of these economic imaginaries, governmental technologies, and emergent modes of growth for higher education. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Keywords: Competitiveness; Economic imaginary; Knowledge-based economy; Knowledge brand; Michael Porter; Higher education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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