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Abstract

The author reviews the main elements of Richard Münch’s academic capitalism theory. By introducing categories like “audit university” or “entrepreneurial university,” the German sociologist critically sets the present academic management model against the earlier, modern-era conception of academic research as an “exchange of gifts.” In the sociological and psychological sense, the latter is a social communication structure rooted in traditional social lore, for instance the potlatch ceremonies celebrated by some North-American Indian tribes which Marcel Mauss described. Münch shows the similarities between that old “gift exchanging” model and the contemporary one with its focus on the psychosocial fundamentals of scientific praxis, and from this gradually derives the academic capitalism conception. His conclusion is the critical claim that science possesses its own, inalienable axiological autonomy and anthropological dimension, which degenerate in result of capitalism’s “colonisation” of science by means of state authority and money (here Münch refers to Jürgen Habermas’s philosophical argumentation). The author also offers many of his own reflections on the problem, which allows Münch’s analyses to be viewed in a somewhat broader context.
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