Canadian Higher Education and Citizenship in the Context of State Restructuring and Globalization

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Magnusson, Jamie-Lynn
higher education , neoliberal economics , Torfing , welfare state , curriculum change , constructivism
This paper explores the reshaping of higher education within a neoliberal paradigm of economic development and the implications for universities and colleges as sites of citizenship formation. The work of Torfing, in particular his critical integration of the work of Laclau, Mouffle, and Zizek, provides the theoretical framework for the analysis. After revisiting the relation between higher education and the development of the welfare state, the paper examines the restructuration that is taking place in curriculum, pedagogical method, governance, and administration. Constructivism, dominant paradigm in educational circles, the author argues, supports the neoliberal ideology within the global economy. The implications of the changes are also evident in the deregulation of fees and the sanctioning of private degree-granting institutions. The paper not only examines how the institutions are contributing to the expansion of the hegemonic discourse but also refers to emancipatory movements emerging from the areas of health, environment, social equity, and motivated by democratic concerns. Higher education has a role in political resistance.
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