The neo-liberal appropriation of tertiary education policy: Accountability, research and academic freedom

Mark Olssen
Vol 19, Number 2, p.142
The changes to education which took place after 1984 which resulted from the 'insertion' of the New Right into policy making in New Zealand were motivated by the adherence of the groups most centrally involved - the Fourth Labour Government, the New Zealand Treasury, and the New Zealand State Services Commission - to perspectives on the State, economy and education which differed fundamentally from those that had held sway under the period of the welfare state. The broad faith in the state's grandmotherly role of 'guidance and governance', typified in the economic sphere by Keynesian demand management, was replaced by a range of new academic, social, and philosophical perspectives whose central common assumptions can be seen as constituted by a particular strain of liberal thought referred to most often as 'neo-liberalism' (Burchell, 1991, 1993; Rose, 1993; Peters and Marshall, 1990) or as 'economic rationalism' (Marginson, 1993; Codd, 1990). The central defining characteristic of this new brand of liberalism was that it was a revival of the central tenets of classical liberalism, particularly classical economic liberalism.