From orthodoxy to orthopraxy : towards an acceptance of the university as a social conscience.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The right to speak without fear of reprisal is essential to the ideal of the university. In some contexts, this right is enshrined in law. Universities in New Zealand have a legal obligation to accept a role as critic and conscience of society. Yet, academic freedom is in danger of being narrowed and minimised to facilitate thought as indifferent to the gift of scholarship. Drawing on the work of Jacques Derrida, this thesis deconstructs the notion of the university as a social conscience. In upholding academic freedom as a social conscience, there is an inherent dilemma for scholars between their obligation to the other as an absolute singular ‘one’ and their obligation to respond to ‘every Other’. Tertiary education policy takes scholarship as a singular conscience of the other as an orthodoxy of self-interest. The thesis contains the argument that tertiary education policy is obliged to the ‘other’ in wider responsibility for ‘every Other’ as a social conscience. Freedom for the gift of scholarship is better found in orthopraxy: a type of practice that is unconscious to the gift, that forges reference to itself, so as to uphold wider acceptance and freedom for the university as critic and conscience.