n South African Journal of Higher Education - Reconfiguring dualism and difference : the (il)logic of theory/academic knowledge and development/practice in HE research and practice

Volume 27, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article considers the dualism of theory and development or practice. This dualism is fairly well embedded in universities and may not be helpful for both knowledge making or practices, such as teaching. The article revisits the dualism in order to construct an ethics of higher education (HE) which draws substantially on both theory and practice in order to address Michael Sandel's (2009) question: 'What is the right thing to do?' Power and boundaries underpin the dualism; these are considered and an argument is made for productive alignments rather than dissolving one set of practices into another. Three issues of concern to the author frame the argument, namely: the work that theory does but equally the work that practice does; dialogic knowledge transfers; and which theories get taken up in HE with what practical effects. Some implications for change are then outlined.

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