Unbundling higher education: When all that is solid melts into…profit!

Robertson, Susan L. and Komljenovic, Janja (2015) Unbundling higher education: When all that is solid melts into…profit! In: Comparative and International Education Society – CIES, 2015, 2015-03-08 - 2015-03-13.

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This chapter examines the growing commercial interest in the higher education sector as a source of new forms of value creation and profit making. We are particularly interested in the rapid ‘unbundling’ of the sector as services that were once housed under one roof are increasingly outsourced, re-articulated, and in some cases innovated from scratch. Our empirical focus is projects and discourses that have both advanced education trade and services agreements, as well as framed higher education as an object of financial austerity. We suggest that together these have resulted in a recent step change in unbundling. The chapter is developed in three parts; 1) the recent re-emergence of trade negotiations around services where higher education is a key component; 2) the emergence of various types of joint ventures between universities, hybrid public-private agencies, commercial firms, and venture capital; and 3) the reworking of sectoral and institutional borders that together are forming more uneven spaces of higher education as well as facilitating new modes of selectivity that favour privatization and commodification. In the conclusion we reflect on what this means for the ongoing purpose of the university as it is tied more closely into the logic of capital.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
Comparative and International Education Society – CIES, 2015
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Deposited On:
18 Oct 2016 07:56
Last Modified:
11 Jun 2019 03:52