Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries
“Hullabaloo in the Groves of Academe”: The Politics of ‘Instituting’ a Market in English Higher Education
Susan L. Robertson
This chapter examines the complexities of the development of a competitive higher education market open to for-profit providers. It does this through a case study of Higher Education policies in England. A core argument is that markets do not emerge as a result of policy fiat; rather, markets must be instituted. Creating a competitive higher education market, however, directly challenges existing institutionalised interests including its rules, routines and values. To develop my case, I draw upon the work of Karl Polanyi (1992) who points out that instituting a market is a highly political process involving competing values, the exercise of authority, claims to what is legitimate, and the possibility of failure. I reflect on these developments for higher education policymaking in England, on what these developments might mean for the sector, and their implications for higher education across Europe.
Key words: higher education, universities, private for-profit actors, England, privatisation, governance, education financing
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