Market subjectivity and neoliberal governmentality in higher education

Rohit Varman, Biswatosh Saha, Per Skålén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Using an interpretive case study in a business school in India, this research examines student behaviour and offers an understanding of a marketisation process in higher education. The study deploys Foucault's conceptualisation of governmentality and uncovers processes through which market subjectivity is fostered among students as they strive to become responsible, active, and entrepreneurial subjects. The subject position is attributed to several governmental discourses of peer pressure, abnormality, uncritical pedagogy, loan repayment, and elitism that prevail in the business school. The study further highlights the roles of English language and preference for western corporations which are unique to postcolonial India. Market subjectivity results in the prevalence of instrumental rationality, failure to develop a critical academic perspective, subordination of social concerns, and disenchantment and exclusion among some students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1185
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Governmentality
  • Higher-education marketisation
  • Market subjectivity
  • Neoliberalism
  • Student behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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