A Philosophical Inquiry into the Role of Universities in American Democratic Society Thesis

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Taylor, Justin W


  • The infusion of market-logic has undermined American universities as democratic institutions. This issue was examined through an analysis of what role universities play in democratic governance. As a philosophical inquiry, the data were seminal texts from political science, education, and philosophy, such as those by Alexis de Tocqueville, John Dewey, and Henry Giroux. The most salient theme unveiled by this study was how central universities are to functional democracy, both as key fixtures and critics. However, universities have adopted market-logic ideologies, which inhibit universities’ abilities to function as democratic institutions. The study concludes by calling for a reinvigoration of the public, requiring universities to maintain a public nature. Such transparency lives in tension with neoliberal efforts to privatize public institutions, so universities must provide spaces for debates on that tension. In this way, universities will be able to embody the democratic dispositions necessary for supporting and defending democratic values.

publication date

  • June 28, 2018


  • Democracy
  • Higher Education
  • Neoliberalism
  • Philosophical Inquiry
  • Universities

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)