The Knowledge Based Economy University: Between a Frictionless Tale and Conflictual Experiences
This is consensual narrative articulates a temporality of change from an undefined present to a near and irreversible future; the present is presented as a hollowed and dysfunctional instant that can only be fulfilled by the solutions promised by innovation-based capitalism. This narrative is not merely informative but it is internalised within all the levels of the institution. This is a process in which some discursive nodes such as autonomy, freedom, self-realisation or teamwork are constantly employed to evoke an optimistic change followed by the implementation of the necessary measures (multidisciplinary work, business partnerships, etc.) at the departments to work towards the commitment of "useful knowledge".
Nonetheless, certain concealed tensions remain latent and these become palpable when this prevailing post-political nodes encounter the really existing work life in the university. This tension is constituted around concrete struggles defined as “concealed dialectics” originating in the daily work life at the departments. These are the relation between autonomy and domination, between individual and collective or between immaterialism and materialism. All of them reflect the contradictory essence of the KBE: a project defined by the extension of market-rule that erodes, behind the façade of a new frictionless order, the balanced existence at the workplace based on teamwork, safety and creativity that once had been promised.