Document Type



Rejoinder to Asger Sorensen


This article is a response to Asger Sørensen’s vivid example of how neo-liberal university reform has subjected Danish universities to New Public Management. Sørensen effectively shows the noxious effects of NPM by discussing the infamous Koldau case, where newly empowered rectors, who served as centralized arbiters of university affairs, superseded academic decision-making. He concludes that one reason these cases have not been met with resistance by faculty is that they are paralyzed by radically conflicting normative visions of the university. In this article I respond to Sørensen by suggesting that conflicting normative visions need not be a disempowering condition and can in fact serve as a fertile basis of critiquing NPM. I suggest a model that draws on the history of the university and its shifting horizon of expectations to demonstrate how differences of normative vision have been successfully reconstructed and realigned in the past, often to constructive effect.