Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Stephen J. Ball, Living the Neo-liberal University, European Journal of Education, Volume 50, Issue 3, pages 258–261, September 2015

DOI: 10.1111/ejed.12132

Full pdf available on research gate

Opening paragraphs
‘Each of my works is a part of my own biography. For one or other reason I had occasion to feel and live those things’ Truth, power, self: an interview (Foucault, 1988, p. 11)

I was a child of Beveridge , of the British post-War welfare state, of free milk and orange juice, of NHS dentistry. I am now a neo-liberal academic working for a global HE brand, ranked in international comparison sites for performance-related pay. Increasingly, in relation to this shift and the life I lead, I am, as Judith Butler puts it, ‘other to myself precisely at the place where I expect to be myself’ (Butler, 2004).

The practices of government and technologies of policy that make up and constantly re-make higher education (HE) nationally and globally have transformed the life of the university over the past 25 years. The funding and accountability of and access to HE have been changed in many material and affective ways. Concomitantly, what it means to learn, to teach and research in HE have also changed. The practices and technologies to which I refer include annual reviews, league tables and rankings, impact narratives, CVs, performance-related pay, the granting of degree-awarding powers to commercial providers, off-shore campuses, student fees, expanding overseas recruitment, and Public-Private Partnerships of all sorts.

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