The academic as consumed and consumer

Page, Damien (2019) The academic as consumed and consumer. Journal of Education Policy, 35 (5). pp. 585-601. ISSN 0268-0939

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In an increasingly competitive environment that positions students as consumers, universities have become ever more marketised, responding to policy contexts that foreground value for money, consumer choice and competition. The intensity of marketisation is argued to have profoundly affected the nature of academic work and scholars themselves, recreating academics as commodities to be weighed and measured, becoming corporatised, alienated and inauthentic in their practice. Yet with the majority of accounts of the commodification of higher education focusing on students, the actual process of how academics become consumed is under-theorised. This article therefore begins with a discussion of the historical context, providing evidence of the familiar indices of marketisation such as rampant self-promotion, the scramble for external funding and intense competition. It argues that this commodified DNA of the university provides the context for the seduction of the modern academic within the consumer society, a movement from the gratification of needs to the perpetual frustration of desires through the ‘Diderot Effect’ of policy shifts. It concludes with an examination of how contemporary academic work can be viewed through the lens of consumerism and how academics themselves have become consumers.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2023 12:23
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 12:23

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