Knowledges, discontinuities, spirals, and universities Chapter uri icon

Book Title

  • Advancing knowledge in higher education: universities in turbulent times


  • This chapter is deliberately designed to disturb socially constructed and traditional human linear thinking, and as such, the chapter reflects a spiral approach to the content and the ideas addressed. It involves visiting and revisiting concepts at different levels of complexity and depth. It also involves a dialogue of arguments and counter arguments, which could be construed as one of the themes that spiral across and through this chapter. In this chapter, the statement of Foucault (1980), “Knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting,” is central and is revisited as it is exemplified in discussions of social complexity and supercomplexity, multiple knowledges, knowledge management, and knowledge brokers. In this chapter, the discussion of multiple knowledges is linked with the concept of a university as a social artefact and is explored from the time of Plato to the Idea of a university as expressed in the work of Cardinal Newman, through to the notion of the modern university and the 21st century university. What is eschewed throughout this chapter is the notion that past, present, and future are elements in linear relationship to each other. Rather, they are seen as interactive zones of meaning that make and remake each other in a dialectical relationship as the spiral would implies.

publication date

  • 2014