Chapter

Benchmarking for the Greater Good? The ‘New Investment Paradigm’ in European Higher Education

Kathia Serrano-Velarde

in New Spirits of Capitalism?

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199595341
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191750755 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595341.003.0011
Benchmarking for the Greater Good? The ‘New Investment Paradigm’ in European Higher Education

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The paper addresses the reframing of "universities" in EU policy discourse since the launch of the Lisbon strategy in 2000. It shows how and why universities came to be understood as investment objects for private investors. Hence, the study focuses on the development of an argumentative arsenal aimed at justifying and legitimizing capitalist working logics in higher education. At the centre of our theoretical approach to this discursive form of institutionalization lies the notion of "test" and "critique" as developed by Boltanski and Chiapello. We therefore work with EU policy documents spanning a 5 year period (from 2003 to 2008) and analyse how the discursive construction of higher education investments went hand in hand with the institutionalisation of a European benchmark.

Keywords: privatisation; social investment; higher education; discourse; EU policy; Lisbon strategy

Chapter.  9759 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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