Foucault News

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

Ryan P. Deuel (2021) Governing higher education toward neoliberal governmentality: a Foucauldian discourse analysis of global policy agendas, Globalisation, Societies and Education, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2021.1897000

Intergovernmental organisations (IOs) have developed global policies that have shaped the practices of higher education for decades. The OECD, WTO, and World Bank have long framed higher education as both a contributor to human capital and a driver of economic growth. Yet, their policy agendas have transformed over time and more recently taken up neoliberal narratives. This paper analyses a corpus of IO texts to demonstrate how these organisations have shifted the governing responsibility for higher education, subordinated higher education to the practice of lifelong learning, and created the conditions for increasing international student mobility. Applying a Foucauldian analysis of discourse and studies in governmentality, this paper broadly explores the complexity of IO governing policies, which have (re)imagined and (re)positioned the purpose of higher education and its role as a technology of government. As global environmental, social, political, and health crises demand globally researched and financed solutions, this exploration of IO policy is a necessary step in the work of reimaging the future practices of higher education.

KEYWORDS: Higher education, governmentality, governance, knowledge economy, lifelong learning

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