What is it about?

In the past thirty years or so, Jordanian higher education sector has witnessed a mushrooming of new for-profit private universities. Many of these private universities are operated as capitalist enterprises. They have also close connections to capital originating from the Gulf countries, made possible by the latter's purchase of ownership shares in the companies operating these universities. This article focuses on how this development is perceived by so-called higher education elite of Jordan, and situates it with respect to Jordan's broader political economy and existing attempts to study such phenomena in higher education studies.

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Why is it important?

In order for us to have a proper discussion what an increasingly privatised provision of higher education entails in a country such as Jordan--or anywhere else, for that matter--we need to take better into account the nuts and bolts of capitalist economy as they manifest themselves in this context.


I hope this article on ownership of private universities can serve as a counterweight to the more lofty, if also important, discussions concerning the purpose of higher education and universities. What is more, living and working on this research in Jordan for nearly three years made it clear to me that neither of these perspectives are sufficient in themselves, nor are they fully separate from each other.

Taavi Sundell
Helsingin Yliopisto

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This page is a summary of: Capitalism in Academia and the Theory of Academic Capitalism: Political Economy of Higher Education in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Middle East Law and Governance, October 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/18763375-15020002.
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