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Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is mostly discussed when it is under perceived threats, both external and internal, and when freedom within education is perceived to have gone too far. In Academic Freedom, first published in 1974, Anthony Arblaster opens with this sentence: ‘Academic freedom—which is rather a pompous term for freedom of, and within education—is today under threat from several quarters, and urgently needs to be defended’ (p. 9). Arblaster’s statement that academic freedom is ‘under threat from several quarters’ has been repeated many times before and since.

Several general things can be said about academic freedom. First, the concept of ‘academic freedom’ is contested. There is a narrow and specific concept that applies to the freedom of academics to research, teach, and talk about their work and ...

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