Commodifying diversity: Education and governance in the era of neoliberalism

Wilkins, Andrew. 2012. Commodifying diversity: Education and governance in the era of neoliberalism. Human Affairs, 22(2), pp. 122-130. ISSN 1210-3055 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper I explore the pedagogical and political shift marked by the meaning and practice of diversity offered through New Labour education policy texts, specifically, the policy and practice of personalized learning (or personalization). The aim of this paper is to map the ways in which diversity relays and mobilizes a set of neoliberal positions and relationships in the field of education and seeks to govern education institutions and education users through politically circulating norms and values. These norms and values, I want to argue, echo and redeem the kinds of frameworks, applications and rationalities typically aligned with modes of neoliberal or advanced liberal governance, e.g. marketization, monetarization, atomization and deregulation. I conclude the paper by considering how diversity in education renders problematic conventional antinomies of the citizen and consumer, public and private, state and civil society, etc., and forces us to confront the rhizomatic character of contemporary governance and education in the era of neoliberalism.

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Identification Number (DOI):


neoliberalism, diversity, consumerism, personalized learning, pedagogy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


20 March 2012Published Online
April 2012Published

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Date Deposited:

07 Nov 2019 15:34

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 18:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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