Sunday, January 29, 2012

What is Elizabeth Popp Berman reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Elizabeth Popp Berman, author of Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine.

Her entry begins:
I have more time to read fiction in the summer, when I’m not teaching. And I’m the kind of person who likes to create arbitrary projects for herself. So last summer I started reading the Man Booker Prize winners in reverse order. I started with 2009, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I loved. It’s a long historical novel about Thomas Cromwell, a nobody who, sphinxlike, rises to become Henry VIII’s right-hand man. It was completely gripping, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, which is coming out this year. Unfortunately, we know how Cromwell’s going to end up—the same way all those wives did.

From there I worked my way...[read on]
About Creating the Market University, from the publisher:
American universities today serve as economic engines, performing the scientific research that will create new industries, drive economic growth, and keep the United States globally competitive. But only a few decades ago, these same universities self-consciously held themselves apart from the world of commerce. Creating the Market University is the first book to systematically examine why academic science made such a dramatic move toward the market. Drawing on extensive historical research, Elizabeth Popp Berman shows how the government--influenced by the argument that innovation drives the economy--brought about this transformation.

Americans have a long tradition of making heroes out of their inventors. But before the 1960s and '70s neither policymakers nor economists paid much attention to the critical economic role played by innovation. However, during the late 1970s, a confluence of events--industry concern with the perceived deterioration of innovation in the United States, a growing body of economic research on innovation's importance, and the stagnation of the larger economy--led to a broad political interest in fostering invention. The policy decisions shaped by this change were diverse, influencing arenas from patents and taxes to pensions and science policy, and encouraged practices that would focus specifically on the economic value of academic science. By the early 1980s, universities were nurturing the rapid growth of areas such as biotech entrepreneurship, patenting, and university-industry research centers.

Contributing to debates about the relationship between universities, government, and industry, Creating the Market University sheds light on how knowledge and politics intersect to structure the economy.
Learn more about Creating the Market University at the Princeton University Press website and Elizabeth Popp Berman’s website.

Elizabeth Popp Berman is a sociologist at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Popp Berman.

--Marshal Zeringue