© 2020

Value and the Humanities

The Neoliberal University and Our Victorian Inheritance

  • Explores future strategies for value articulation in the humanities

  • Steps away from the rhetoric of crisis and argues for a critical analysis of the value of the humanities within a broader history

  • Engages with higher education policy and provides a constructive report of contemporary higher education

Palgrave Macmillan
Open Access

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Zoe Hope Bulaitis
    Pages 1-34 Open Access
  3. Zoe Hope Bulaitis
    Pages 113-175 Open Access
  4. Zoe Hope Bulaitis
    Pages 241-248 Open Access
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 249-255

About this book


Tracing the shift from liberal to neoliberal education from the nineteenth century to the present day, this open access book provides a rich and previously underdeveloped narrative of value in higher education in England. Value and the Humanities draws upon historical, financial, and critical debates concerning educational and cultural policy. Rather than writing a singular defence of the humanities against economic rationalism, Zoe Hope Bulaitis constructs a nuanced map of the intersections of value in the humanities, encompassing an exploration of policy engagement, scientific discourses, fictional representation, and the humanities in public life. The book articulates a kaleidoscopic range of humanities practices which demonstrate that although recent policy encourages higher education to be entirely motivated by outcomes, fiscal targets, and the acquisition of employability skills, the humanities continue to inspire and aspire beyond these limits. This book is a historically-grounded and theoretically-informed analysis of the value of the humanities within the context of the market.


neoliberal university humanities education higher education humanities crisis economics of education higher education policy Victorian literature Victorian economics Open Access

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

About the authors

Zoe Hope Bulaitis is a literary scholar with expertise in cultural and higher education policy. She is a researcher in the Creative Industries: Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) within the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester, UK. She holds a PhD from the University of Exeter where she previously taught literature and critical theory within the English Department.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Value and the Humanities
  • Book Subtitle The Neoliberal University and Our Victorian Inheritance
  • Authors Zoe Hope Bulaitis
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-37891-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-37894-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-37892-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 255
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Literary Theory
    Nineteenth-Century Literature
    Higher Education
    Cultural Economics


“Bulaitis’s analysis of the values conveyed both in higher education speech and policies provides a useful study of how they are perceived, imagined, and put into practice within the British neoliberal context. … Bulaitis has articulated very convincing academic arguments to explain the shift from liberal to neoliberal university values and debates. This book offers accurate, clear, and meaningful food for thought for those interested in the study of the processes of ‘marketisation’ and ‘economisation’ of higher education.” (Catherine Coron, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 60 (4), October, 2021)“This powerful and thoughtful book draws out the Victorian antecedents of our current debates over universities, schools, museums, fiction and public policy, and so provides a deep and productive view of their past and current contexts. This means it is also a significant contribution to—and intervention in—these debates.” (Robert Eaglestone, Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)