Education and Alienation – Towards a Neo-liberal Arbitrariness


  • Dirk Michel-Schertges Aarhus University, Faculty of Arts, Danish School of Education (DPU)


Alienation, Freedom, Arbitrariness, Higher Education, Competition


In modern society the organization of education and economy has always been deeply interconnected. Transitions in the means of production meant an adjustment of (national) education in order to fulfil the socio-economical demands. With the emergence of international competition in the field of education, altered forms of surveillance and control via administrated reason appeared on the agenda. With the rise of the (international) neo-liberal agenda ideologies of competition and performativity play a decisive role, especially within the field of higher education. However, precisely this administrative reason becomes a specific form of alienation propagating (individual) activity and freedom while “producing” the opposite, i.e. passivity and alienation and, thus, furthering in the name of freedom an altered form of alienation. Specific forms of societal arbitrariness, social-ignorance, institutional-arbitrariness and social-indifference are related to present (inter-)national discourses of competition, performativity and accountability and its administered reasoning.




Special Issue: "Alienation Theory and Research in Education and Social Work"