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What managerialists forget: higher education credit frameworks and managerialist ideology

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1998
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Journal number1
Volume8
Number of pages20
Pages91-110
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article uses data from a five-year ethnographic study of a single higher education institution to assess aspects of the 'realism' of managerialist approaches articulated through the credit framework in higher education in the United Kingdom. By 'credit framework' is meant the constellation of more or less compatible features facilitated by the assignment of credit to assessed learning, including modularity, the semester system, franchising, the accreditation of work-based learning and of prior learning. From the perspective of managerialist ideology the framework as a whole and its individual components offer a number of attractions, including greater economy, efficiency, manageability and market responsiveness in higher education institutions. Data from the site of the study and a theoretical framework derived from policy sociology are used to show that managerialist ideology oversimplifies and occludes aspects of social reality in higher education, the effect of which is to undermine many of the benefits claimed for the credit framework by managerialists.