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Global capitalism's Trojan Horse: Consumer power and the National Student Survey in England

Holligan, C; Shah, Q; (2017) Global capitalism's Trojan Horse: Consumer power and the National Student Survey in England. Power and Education , 9 (2) pp. 114-128. 10.1177/1757743817701159. Green open access

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Abstract

Neo-liberal capitalism is a representation of values that are detrimental to intellectual inquiry. Market deregulation and consumer choice are relentless in their erosion of academic autonomy and traditions of independent scholarship. Education as a ‘positional good’ may be weakened more in the post-1992 higher education sector, where consumer-oriented quality assurance is used strategically to bolster prestige and so improve relative competitive advantage (for student recruitment and external monies), than in the pre-1992 Russell Group of universities, which privileges academic research and autonomy from regulation. The university as an intellectual public domain is subject to suppression by capitalism’s deployment of a putatively enlightened ‘student voice’. This neo-liberal embrace of ‘student experience’ is evidenced in the privileging of choice and satisfaction anchored in the envisaging of earning power as a basic touchstone of relevance. Globalisation’s Trojan Horse, the authors argue, is embodied in the positivism of the quantitative metrics of the National Student Survey, designed by global giant Ipsos MORI. The argument that a ranking of universities on the results of the National Student Survey demonstrates excellence begs the question of what the university is for.

Type: Article
Title: Global capitalism's Trojan Horse: Consumer power and the National Student Survey in England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1757743817701159
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1757743817701159
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Choice, customer, markets, satisfaction, students, survey
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066699
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