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Author Archive | David Ridley

Drawing of the being from the Upside Down in control of Will Byers

The neoliberal Upside Down

When the Great Financial Crisis hit in 2008, there was a gasp of guilty excitement on the left at the sudden re-emergence of the conditions for radical social change, after 30 years of what has become known even by mainstream economists as ‘neoliberalism’: an obsession with privatisation and financialisation that has made the world more […]

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John Dewey, by Sterling Bartlett (Source: http://partiallyexaminedlife.com)

Willetts the Conqueror (part 6) – Academic freedom

Today, academic freedom is increasingly under threat from marketisation, in particular as a result of the mutually reinforcing pressures on academics to meet instrumental, neoliberal economic objectives, imposed from above via national-level performance management systems–the TEF, REF and KEF–and from below through local-level, bureaucracy-heavy managerialism.v

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The sausage room at the P & M Packing Company

Willetts the conqueror (part 5): knowledge exchange

In addition to subsumption of teaching and research, the third mission of neoliberal marketisation has been termed, “knowledge exchange.” The introduction of this mission represents not only a fundamental attack on the academic profession, but also a desperate attempt to marshal the knowledge-producing powers of universities to kick-start a stagnating post-crisis global economy.

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Margaret Thatcher

Willetts the conqueror (part 1): market populism

This is Part 1 in a five-part series on Willets: Introduction; part 2; part 3; part 4. In the first installment of this multi-part critical review of David Willetts’ (2017) A University Education, we look at his ‘revisionist’ history of the university as it is modernised through successive historical periods – medieval, modern and neoliberal […]

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Eye of the snow storm.

Willetts the conqueror (part 2): creative destruction

Welcome to Pt. 2 of the multi-part critical Review of David Willetts’ ‘A University Education’. This part of the Review focuses on Willetts’ plans for so-called ‘alternative providers’ – a euphemistic term which should be read as synonymous with for-profit colleges and universities – and his reflections on wanting to see a British higher education […]

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David Willetts

Willetts the conqueror: introduction

Before Jo Johnson and Sam Gyimah, there was David Willetts. As the Minister of State for Universities and Science from 2010 until 2014, under the Tory-led ‘coalition’ government, Willetts oversaw the introduction of a market into the English higher education system – often referred to as ‘marketisation’.

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