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Title: UK university fundraising : an analysis of inequality and its perpetuation
Authors: Gibson, Alison
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Inequality in UK society has emerged as one of the key themes in contemporary British politics, despite more than 50 years of government policy geared towards its reduction. UK universities have been tasked with the societal mission of enabling social mobility and reducing inequality, and their number, and the size of their student bodies has grown significantly since 1992. Neoliberalism has marketized and largely privatised the UK higher education sector, yet it attracts more than £1billion in philanthropic support annually. Much work has been done in the US to understand universities, philanthropy, and the process of raising funds. This study presents the results of the first academic work to examine how private philanthropy acts at universities in the UK, and how it impacts their function in society. Using publicly available information for the sector, and by examining in depth 11 universities of greatly differing heritage and wealth, this study uses quantitative and qualitative techniques to elucidate and explain the degree of inequality present among UK universities, and philanthropy’s role in its genesis and perpetuation. It identifies a link between university reputation and ability to attract philanthropic support, and explains how elite universities are able to apply their very large philanthropic incomes to enhance the endowments of personal capital of their students, thereby maintaining their dominance over other, less well endowed, universities. It critically reviews how universities view philanthropy and how fundraising functions are constituted in university organisations. By identifying and challenging the myths of university functions and fundraising, it explains why government policy has not succeeded in replicating US levels of philanthropic support for UK universities. Applying Bourdieusian sociology, new institutional theory and the strategy literature, this study enhances our understanding of how social processes act to conserve the status quo, even as powerful actors seek to enact change.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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