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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X


CONRADIE, E.M.. Knowledge for sale? The impact of a consumerist hermeneutics on learning habits and teaching practices in higher education. Koers (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.76, n.3, pp.423-446. ISSN 2304-8557.

The impact of the commercialisation, if not the corporatisation of higher education institutions in a globalised economy, has been widely discussed in recent literature with regard to the ethos of institutions, management, research, as well as teaching and learning. Indeed, in the 'knowledge industry' knowledge is offered for sale. This article makes a contribution to this discourse by exploring the impact of consumerist hermeneutics on the basis of critiques of consumerism in Christian discourse, drawing especially on the work of Vincent Miller, 'Consuming religion' (2003). The notion of consumerist hermeneutics is related to the impact of culture commodification in a consumer society. Given the overload of information, consumers have to adopt shallower forms of attention as a survival strategy. If such a shallower engagement is applied to virtually all cultural products, this leads to a reductionist understanding of knowledge. The impact of such consumerist hermeneutics on learning habits and teaching practices in undergraduate university education is then discussed briefly. In conclusion, some possibilities for resisting the hegemony of a consumerist ideology are noted.

Keywords : consumerism; hermeneutics; knowledge; university education.

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