SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

POSTPONED The Construction of Academic Excellence and University Evaluations in Taiwan



Ming-Te Peng (Goldsmiths)

Date: 18 March 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 18 March 2020Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Senate House Room: SWLT

Type of Event: Talk


The purpose of this study aims to inquire into the particular moment when the function of universities started to be seen as an object of knowledge; that is, a new genre of knowledge about the space where knowledge is generated. In general, the development of the problematisation of higher education may be explained as an example of New Public Management in the context of the neoliberalism movement. However, there are two problematic points for this approach. First, this generalised explanation for the rise of audit culture in academy needs to be verified with more empirical studies. Second, this contemporary argument for the rationale of academic evaluation might represent the reproduction of contemporary narratives about what the university should be. I argue that changes in the university's function reflect tension among the elite, the masses, the state and the industry. Under these circumstances the neoliberal practices were taken as a strategy to reconcile the above conflicts.

This research is the first empirical chapter and aims to outline both dominant and minor narratives about university and academy. This analysis covers academic and official documents. Because a given problem is formalised within a specific context, the rise and fall of the narratives not only reveals a panorama of higher education in Taiwan but also reflect the problematisation of academic practices. Overall, according to my textual analysis, relevant literatures in Taiwan can be generalised into four sorts of narratives. The dominant narrative about the university’s role draws on the frame of linear national development. Along with one hegemonic discourse, there are three minor narratives based on humanistic concerns, social justice and university autonomy.

Speaker Biography

Peng Ming-Te Profile

Ming-Te Peng completed his MSc in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Edinburgh and is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Goldsmiths. His PhD research focuses on the composition and practice of accountability in Taiwan higher education. His research interests cover issues of governmentality, neoliberalism, metric power and audit culture, policy on science development, and relations between power and knowledge.

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Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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