• 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 […]

  • 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

  • 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.

  • "Taylorism" by Lars Plougmann

    Willetts the conqueror (part 4): audit culture

    This reserve army provides an increasing number of desperate and mostly unionised workers to occupy the new, outsourced, deprofessionalised jobs while remind those lucky enough to retain work that they can be replaced if they dare to cause trouble.

  • 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 […]

  • Teaching by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

    Willetts the conqueror (part 3): human capital

    The following post is the third instalment of the multi-part review of David Willetts’ ‘A University Life’, you can find here the Introduction; Part 1 and Part 2. Parts 3 and 4 take a slightly different approach, diving deeper into the fundamental principles of marketisation, which centre on the conversion of qualitative experience and practice into quantitatively measurable outcomes, which can in turn become proxies for higher education’s exchange value.

  • 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 (HE) monopoly rise up to compete with global HE mega-corporations.

  • 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’.