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‘Excellence’ and Exclusion: The Individual Costs of Institutional Competitiveness

Watermeyer, Richard and Olssen, Mark (2016) ‘Excellence’ and Exclusion: The Individual Costs of Institutional Competitiveness Minerva, 54 (2). pp. 201-218.

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A performance-based funding system like the United Kingdom’s ‘Research Excellence Framework’ (REF) symbolizes the re-rationalization of higher education according to neoliberal ideology and New Public Management technologies. The REF is also significant for disclosing the kinds of behaviour that characterize universities’ response to government demands for research auditability. In this paper, we consider the casualties of what Henry Giroux (2014) calls “neoliberalism’s war on higher education” or more precisely the deleterious consequences of non-participation in the REF. We also discuss the ways with which higher education’s competition fetish, embodied within the REF, affects the instrumentalization of academic research and the diminution of academic freedom, autonomy and criticality.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Watermeyer, Richard
Date : 4 May 2016
DOI : 10.1007/s11024-016-9298-5
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2016. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Higher education policy; Neoliberalism; Performativity; Audit cultures; Academic exclusion
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Jul 2018 09:34
Last Modified : 10 Sep 2019 11:28

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