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The right to speak without fear of reprisal is essential to the ideal of the university. In some contexts, this right is enshrined in law. Universities in New Zealand have a legal obligation to accept a role as critic and conscience of society. Yet, academic freedom is in danger of being narrowed and minimised to facilitate thought as indifferent to the gift of scholarship. Drawing on the work of Jacques Derrida, this thesis deconstructs the notion of the university as a social conscience. Indoi:10.26021/9877 fatcat:akxjac4cdjetrfphlw5ldecjaa