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Having, being and higher education: the marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer

Having, being and higher education: the marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer
Having, being and higher education: the marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer
In this paper we express concerns that the marketisation of British higher education that has accompanied its expansion has resulted in some sections becoming pedagogically limited. We draw from Fromm's humanist philosophy based on having to argue that the current higher education (HE) market discourse promotes a mode of existence, where students seek to ‘have a degree’ rather than ‘be learners’. This connects pedagogic theory to a critique of consumer culture. We argue that a ‘market-led’ university responds to consumer calls by focusing on the content students want at a market rate. It may decrease intellectual complexity if this is not in demand, and increase connections with the workplace if this is desired. Once, under the guidance of the academic, the undergraduate had the potential to be transformed into a scholar, someone who thinks critically, but in our consumer society such ‘transformation’ is denied and ‘confirmation’ of the student as consumer is favoured. We further argue that there is a danger that the new HE's link to business through the expansion of vocational courses in business, marketing and related offerings, inevitably embeds expanded HE in a culture of having. This erodes other possible roles for education because a consumer society is unlikely to support a widened HE sector that may work to undermine its core ideology
1356-2517
277-287
Molesworth, Mike
48a49a79-1d99-4120-b0aa-578e42541724
Nixon, Elizabeth
02a61c22-64ef-445b-b2ea-fd222b8bec3a
Scullion, Richard
577ac43f-8429-4d7a-a10c-ba1d7eb5e7c1
Molesworth, Mike
48a49a79-1d99-4120-b0aa-578e42541724
Nixon, Elizabeth
02a61c22-64ef-445b-b2ea-fd222b8bec3a
Scullion, Richard
577ac43f-8429-4d7a-a10c-ba1d7eb5e7c1

Molesworth, Mike, Nixon, Elizabeth and Scullion, Richard (2009) Having, being and higher education: the marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer. Teaching in Higher Education, 14 (3), 277-287. (doi:10.1080/13562510902898841).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In this paper we express concerns that the marketisation of British higher education that has accompanied its expansion has resulted in some sections becoming pedagogically limited. We draw from Fromm's humanist philosophy based on having to argue that the current higher education (HE) market discourse promotes a mode of existence, where students seek to ‘have a degree’ rather than ‘be learners’. This connects pedagogic theory to a critique of consumer culture. We argue that a ‘market-led’ university responds to consumer calls by focusing on the content students want at a market rate. It may decrease intellectual complexity if this is not in demand, and increase connections with the workplace if this is desired. Once, under the guidance of the academic, the undergraduate had the potential to be transformed into a scholar, someone who thinks critically, but in our consumer society such ‘transformation’ is denied and ‘confirmation’ of the student as consumer is favoured. We further argue that there is a danger that the new HE's link to business through the expansion of vocational courses in business, marketing and related offerings, inevitably embeds expanded HE in a culture of having. This erodes other possible roles for education because a consumer society is unlikely to support a widened HE sector that may work to undermine its core ideology

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More information

Published date: 2009
Organisations: Centre for Relational Leadership & Change

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Local EPrints ID: 362329
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362329
ISSN: 1356-2517
PURE UUID: ed367b93-22d3-460f-9f90-0b971fbad9d6

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Date deposited: 21 Feb 2014 10:23
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 07:26

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Contributors

Author: Mike Molesworth
Author: Elizabeth Nixon
Author: Richard Scullion

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