Higher education exposes a key paradox of neoliberalism. The project of neoliberalism was said to be that of rolling back the state to liberate individuals, by replacing government bureaucracy with the free market. Rather than have the market serve individuals however, individuals were to serve the market. The marketisation ‘reforms’ in higher education, which sought to reshape knowledge production, with students investing in human capital and academics producing ‘transferable’ research, to make higher education of use to the economy, has resulted in extensive government bureaucracy and oppressive managerialist bureaucracy which is inefficient and expensive. Neoliberalism has always had authoritarian aspects and these are now coming to bear on universities. The state does not want critical and informed graduate citizens, but a hollowed out public sphere defined by consumption, willing servitude to the market and deference to state power. Attempts to reshape universities with bureaucracy are now accompanied by a culture war, attacking the production of critical knowledge. The authors in this book explore these issues and the possibilities for resistance and progressive change.
Justin Cruickshank is a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, with research interests in critical university studies, critical responses to authoritarian neoliberalism, and the philosophy of social science.
Ross Abbinnett is a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, with research interests in classical and contemporary critical theory, and the social theory and philosophy of technology and technocracy.
Part 1 Authoritarian Neoliberalism Challenged
1. The Feudal University in the Age of Gaming the System
2. Ethnoracial Populism: An Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization?
3. On Authoritarian Neoliberalism and Poetic Epistemology
4. The Perils of Radical Subjectivity. A Comment on Antonio’s ‘Ethnoracial Populism: An Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization?’
5. The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of ‘Liberal Bias’
Tyson, C. and Oreskes, N.
6. Epistemic Institutions: The Case for Constitutionally-Protected Academic Independence
7. ‘Let us Build a City and a Tower’: Figures of the University in Gregor Reisch’s (1503) Margarita Philosophica
8. Toward a Civic Ethic for Education: Arnold, Eliot (George) and Du Bois
Part 2 Technology: Problems and Potentials
9. The Anthropocene as a Figure of Neoliberal Hegemony
10. Challenges to Public Universities: Digitalisation, Commodification and Precarity
Holmwood, J. and Marcuello-Servós, C.
11. Core HR in British Higher Education: For a Technological Single Source and Version of the Truth?
Di Muccio, E.
12. Open Access and Neoliberalism: A Response to Holmwood and Marcuello-Servós
Eve, M. P.
13. Geographies of the Knowledge Economy on the Semi-Periphery: The Contradictions of Neoliberalisation and Precarity in Portugal
Standring, A. and Tulumello, S.
14. ‘Changing Behaviour’: Hierarchy and Bureaucracy in the Corporatized University
Part 3 Neoliberalism as Subject and Object
15. Knowing Neoliberalism
16. The Accident of Accessibility: How the Data of the TEF creates Neoliberal Subjects
Addendum for ‘The Accident of Accessibility’
17. Economic Freedom and the Harm of Adaptation: On Gadamer, Authoritarian Technocracy and the Re-Engineering of English Higher Education
18. Statist Marketisation and Culture Wars in Authoritarian Populism Times: From Nudging Student-Customers to Changing Providers’ Supply
19. Action and ‘Civil Death’ in the Securitized University: A Comment on Jana Bacevic’s ‘Knowing Neoliberalism’
Bose, L. S.
20. The Neoliberal University and the Common Good
21. The Making of Bullshit Leadership and Toxic Management in the Neoliberal University
22. The Uncomfortable Transformation of Discomfort in Neoliberal Higher Education
About the Contributors
A comprehensive account of how neoliberalism turned what should be a transformative and critical experience into a financialised and commodified process. This is a useful collection of essays that helps us to understand the audit culture, surveillance technologies and instrumental logic of a marketised higher education system.
This book is timely, and its assessment of the trajectory of consequences stemming from the changes taking place in higher education is, indeed, spot on