‘In its own image’: neo-liberalism and the managerialist university

Bob Brecher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I argue that neo-liberalism requires a managerialist view of our universities; and to the extent that managerialism cannot be ameliorated, to that extent neo-liberalism signals the end of universities as places of learning. Rather than calling for “friendlier” management practice, we need to organise opposition by articulating and rallying around some vision of what the ends should be of the university, and which managing such an institution should therefore serve. Such a vision, whatever exactly its details might consist in, would have to be in explicit opposition to the neo-liberal ideal of universities as providers of “flexible” workers for employers and compliant subjects for governments. A precondition of reclaiming our universities from the managerialists, whether they be committed neo-liberal cadres or reluctant bit-players, is to tell the truth; and to be able to tell the truth, one has first to identify it aright. Happily that attempt describes exactly what it is to be an academic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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