Manufacturing the Industrial Citizen
Over the last half-century, we have seen a widely documented shift toward neoliberal, (new) managerial, and industrial institutions of higher learning. In this chapter, we briefly outline this trend and provide an analysis of how it shapes the persons and communities that make up higher education. Specifically, we discuss how the changes in curriculum (from liberal to technical and vocational), organizational structure (from relational to managerial), and funding (decreased state and increased private funding) constitute a new framework for the industrialized student and teacher. This framework follows a fairly typical neoliberal script: Within higher education, we see the imposition of surveillance (assessment) to enforce conformism (standardization), and we likewise see the weakening of the capacity for any resistance, accomplished both through the engineering of precarity (defunding) and through an artificially narrowed public vision (vocationalized curriculum). We argue here that shifts of these kinds socialize scholars, whether student or faculty, into a system-aligned worldview—that is, into a narrow, conformist, bureaucratic consciousness and a politically neutral, largely consumerist conception of public life. Higher education is thus being maneuvered (not without resistance) away from the education of a publicly engaged, creative, alert citizenry and toward the socialization of the industrialized citizen—a more-or-less interchangeable, easily manageable component in a mass “economy.”
KeywordsNeoliberalism Conformity Resistance Citizenship
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