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Canadian Sociology for Sale? Academic Branding in the ‘Neo-Liberal Age’

Abstract

Narratives about the influence of neo-liberal forces on post-secondary education are legion within the contemporary literature. Some have recently argued that the promotional tactics used by Canadian sociology departments reflect the broader corporatization of the system, highlighting the vocationalization of the discipline at the hands of market forces. We conduct a mixed-methods analysis of the marketing practises used by English-speaking sociology departments in Canada and find only limited support for this argument. Instead, observed promotional tactics appear to be quite diverse, aimed at multiple stakeholders, and reflecting the complex institutional environment in which sociology departments operate.

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Notes

  1. At the time of writing, Maclean’s did not rank the institutions in which 13 of our departments were housed. We thus, like Puddephatt and Nelsen (2015), used our judgement, as well as data on enrollments (undergraduate/graduate) and research intensiveness (tri-council Funding), to categorize institutions in a manner similar to comparable counterparts that were ranked by Macleans’s.

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Pizarro Milian, R., McLaughlin, N. Canadian Sociology for Sale? Academic Branding in the ‘Neo-Liberal Age’. Am Soc 48, 172–191 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12108-016-9318-9

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Keywords

  • Canada
  • Departments
  • Marketing