Neoliberalism and Education: The Disfiguration of Students

  • Jung Min ChoiEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


The story of neoliberalism is quite familiar to the millions across the USA whose lives have been ravaged by the “financial crisis of 2007–2008,” which led to countless families losing their life savings, homes, and businesses. Commercial media attempted to neutralize the nastiness of neoliberal policies that led directly to this unseemly situation by calling the global emergency “a financial crisis” or “economic downturn,” as if these events were unfolding as part of a historical movement or a cyclical part of economic laws. Yet, it was clear that this situation was a direct and logical outcome of the corporate wilding of America, where years of unchecked neoliberal policies have resulted in the greatest wealth gap to date in this country. The resulting scenario is violence—but not necessarily the type of violence that media outlets typically portray. I am not talking about muggings, robberies, or even shootings. I am pointing to a much deeper and sinister type of violence: the type of violence that can be prevented easily, such as the violence of forcing people, especially children, to go perpetually hungry in a society of great abundance; the violence of having people sleep on the streets unprotected from the harsh elements when millions of homes are vacant across the country (in 2014, there were about 1.75 million homeless persons and 18 million vacant homes in the USA (roughly 10 homes for every homeless); please see National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty); and the violence of paying people such low wages that they are unable to secure basic human needs such as clean water, healthy food, dental and medical care, a decent home, affordable transportation, and quality education.


Neoliberalism Violence Inequality Social justice Earthly morality Hope 


  1. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. (1977). Reproduction in education, society, and culture. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Choi, J. M., & Murphy, J. W. (1992). The politics and philosophy of political correctness. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  3. Choi, J. M., Caro, M., & Murphy, J. W. (2004). Globalization with a human face. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  4. Chomsky, N. (1999). Profit over people: Neoliberalism and global order. New York: Seven Stories Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ellacuría, I. (1990). The task of the Christian University. In J. Sobrino & I. Ellacuría (Eds.), Companions of Jesus (p. 149). Maryknoll: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  6. Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  7. Freire, P. (2004). Pedagogy of indignation. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Fromm, E. (2005). On being human. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  9. Giroux, H. (2014). Neoliberalism’s war on higher education. New York: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  10. Giroux, H., & Saltman, K. (2008). Obama’s betrayal of public education? Arne Duncan and the corporate model of schooling. Truthout. Accessed 10 Jan 2015.
  11. Green, D. (2003). Silent revolution: The rise and crisis of market economics in Latin America. NY: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  12. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kinzer, S. (2007). Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York: Henry Holt and Company.Google Scholar
  14. Markovic, M. (1974). From affluence to praxis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  15. Murphy, J. (2012). Contemporary social theory: Key themes and analysis. New York: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Patel, R. (2009). The value of nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  17. Perkins, J. (2004). Confessions of an economic hitman. New York: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Ravitch, D. (2010). The death and life of the Great American School System: How testing and choice are undermining education. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Schmitz, D. (1999). Thank God they’re on our side: The United States and Right Wing Dictatorships, 1921–1965. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  20. Serrano Caldera, A. (1995). Los dilemas de la democracia. Managua: Hispamer.Google Scholar
  21. Taibbi, M. (2014). The divide: American injustice in the age of the wealth gap. New York: Spiegel and Grau.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations