The paper makes three claims: first that regulatory state making and market making in higher education is intertwined through a project of market citizenship that shapes the ‘publicness’ of higher education. Second, we argue that these projects of market citizenship are variegated and in Australia has taken the form of accommodation—via regulation tools—between social democratic and market elements, and finally we argue that the effect of this new regulatory state is a strategy to depoliticise the governance of higher education. Policy making appears to be the application of a set of technical rules rather than political decisions about the allocation of values.
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I would like to thank Rohini Jayasuriya for editorial work on this paper.
For a good definition of depoliticisation see Burnham (2012). See O’brien (2013) for an approach that emphasises the depoliticised governance of Australian higher education—particularly through the expansion of managerial prerogatives. On changes in institutonal sources and forms of power within the University see Margison and Considine (2000).
The term ‘long 1970s’ is used to refer to the period of economic stagflation and fiscal crisis as well as the social transformations that characterised the period between the late 60s and late 70s. For an oveview of this post war period see Judt (2011).
For an overview of the regulatory state, see Jayasuriya (2001), Moran (2003) and Levi-Faur (2013). While there is now an expanding body of work on the regulatory state in economic and financial sectors, the emergence of the regulatory state in social policy and higher education has been less well analysed.
This is particularly important in that while modernisation themes have been important to all Labor governments, the striking difference in the area of higher education is the notion of democratic empowerment in Whitlam’s decision to abolish university fees in comparison with the theme of economic modernisation that underpinned the Hawke–Keating agenda. For an overview of the economic and institutonal changes-albeit from a neoclassical political economy approach—during this period see Mclean (2013).
An important dimension of these changes in the long 1970s was the tension between the expansion of the University system-massification-and the constraints on public spending in North America, Western Europe and Australia. This fiscal crisis was crucial in fracturing the social settlement that underpined the post war model of the public university.
This is a perspective that has much in common with what Brenner et al. (2010) described as the variegated nature of liberalism—that is a process through which successive market reform collides with inherited political and institutional landscapes. In Australia, it was the combination of social democracy and neoliberalism that produced the distinctive political variety of market citizenship during the period of the Hawke–Keating Government.
There are various components of this model: greater global reach of the institutions, more differentiated institutional missions, diversified funding, and providers; and I would add, the growing role of privately managed online education platforms.
Interestingly the HECS is a regulatory tool that has been copied and transplanted internationally including in the UK (Chapman and Nicholls 2013).
For an overview of participation in the higher education sector, see James et al. (2013).
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Jayasuriya, K. Constituting market citizenship: regulatory state, market making and higher education. High Educ 70, 973–985 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9879-5