Preparing higher education students for the new landscape of governance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Studies have demonstrated that neoliberal governance dismantles professionals’ will to critique, counteracting efforts to improve quality by preventing professionals in all sectors of the labour market from grounding work in their professional convictions. Managing attempts at governance has therefore become an important professional competence. This paper investigates how higher education prepares students for work under neoliberal forms of control. How are they trained to analyse and describe the effects of governance and prepared to work with the standards, manuals and documentation that influence quality in their lines of work? ‘Interruptive focus group conversations’ were performed with students from various professional programmes at a Swedish university. Student reasoning about governance is explored using theories of governance and subjectification. The results demonstrate that students are aware of the ways in which their professions are governed, the need to conduct discretionary work, but do not have skills to deal with governance critically. This latitude for pedagogical intervention is underutilized.


External organisations
  • Kristianstad University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • discretion, governance of professions, HIGHER EDUCATION, Sweden, Neoliberalism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalTertiary Education and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 2
Publication categoryResearch