Students of Academic Capitalism: Emotional Dimensions in the Commercialization of Higher Education

Maria Gretzky, Julia Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article spotlights the emotional aspect of the commercialization of university studies. Whereas the literature on current challenges of higher education highlights the students’ customer role, we reveal how neoliberal studenthood combines a consumerist worldview with the discourse of emotional experience. The narratives of Israeli students in the present article show consumerist–emotional therapeutic duality in the ways they make sense of their encounter with the university. Students evaluate how their professors meet their emotional, therapeutic, and consumer needs and perceive the knowledge they acquire as providing them with both pragmatic skills and emotional experience. We argue that this duality is significant to the emerging culture of ‘academic capitalism’ and show how the commercialized feelings and pragmatics of self-development operate as a manifestation of ‘emotional capitalism’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-221
Number of pages17
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • academic and emotional capitalism
  • emotional–therapeutic culture
  • student’s experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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