Richard Münch. Academic Capitalism: Universities in the Global Struggle for Excellence.
New York: Routledge, 2013.
Léonard Moulin. Address for correspondence: Laboratoire Dynamiques Sociales et
Recomposition des Espaces (LADYSS–CNRS UMR 7533), Université Paris 7 Diderot, 5 rue
Thomas Mann, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France. email@example.com.
This book by Richard Münch, professor emeritus at the University of Bamberg, Germany, proposes a sociological analysis of academic capitalism and the rise of the “entrepreneurial university” that places the logic of business at the heart of its organization. Government policies, also known as New Public Management, that since the 1980s have imported ingredients from the private into the public sector in order to improve efficiency, produce an asymmetry between the increasing number of fund seekers and a smaller number of suppliers. They also lead to intense oligopolistic competition among universities, which overlays the competition among researchers for knowledge and their recognition by the scientific community. The intrusion of economic logic into the academic field leads researchers to compete for reputation and entrepreneurial universities to accumulate capital via competition for positions in the rankings (Slaughter and Leslie 1997; Slaughter and Rhoades 2004). Münch’s objectives are to investigate how the field of science is penetrated by the economic logic of capital accumulation, how this penetration changes the path to recognition, and what the consequences for research diversity and the evolution of scientific knowledge are. Münch shows that the rise of academic capitalism leads to the inefficient stratification of universities. The main consequences of monopolistic competition are a strong tendency toward uniformity of research and a loss of autonomy