Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Sick of Study: Student mental ‘illness’ and neoliberal higher education policy

Priestley, Michael

Sick of Study: Student mental ‘illness’ and neoliberal higher education policy Thumbnail


Authors



Contributors

Abstract

‘The anxiety currently manifest in higher education is not an unintended consequence or malfunction, but is inherent in the design of a system driven by improving productivity and the potential for the accumulation of capital’ (Hall and Bowles, 2016, p.33). This paper applies postmodern theory to reposition the increase in certain student mental ‘illnesses’ (namely anxiety and depressive conditions) as socio-political, rather than natural and individual. It posits, in particular, that conditions of depression and anxiety are reproduced through neoliberal higher education policy discourses and structures, as an instrument of neoliberal power; that these mental ‘illnesses’ are, in part, defined by, produced by, and reproduce neoliberalism. This paper propounds a three-tier Foucaultian framework for conceptualising student mental ‘illness’ in the context of the discourse-truth-power-subject relations of neoliberal higher education policy. Tier 1 proposes that mental ‘illness’ is discursively constructed, and defined in opposition to neoliberal ethico-economic normality. Tier 2 proposes that the mentally ‘ill’ student subject is reproduced, both externally and internally, through neoliberal higher education policy. Tier 3 proposes that these mental ‘illnesses’ reproduce four core tenets of neoliberal functionality: 1.) Neoliberal Governmentality; 2.) Neoliberal Subjectivity; 3.) Neoliberal Regulation & 4.) Neoliberal Consumption.

Citation

Priestley, M. (2019). Sick of Study: Student mental ‘illness’ and neoliberal higher education policy. In X. Shao, & E. Dobson (Eds.), Imagining Better Education: Conference Proceedings 2018 (183-199)

Conference Name Imagining Better Education
Conference Location Durham, England
Publication Date Jan 1, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 15, 2019
Pages 183-199
Series Title Imagining Better Education
Book Title Imagining Better Education: Conference Proceedings 2018.
ISBN 9780907552154
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1144642
Publisher URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/education/

Files





You might also like



Downloadable Citations