Invisible labour:Do we need to reoccupy student engagement policy?


The 'academic orthodoxy' (Brookfield 1986) of student engagement is questioned by Zepke, who suggests that it supports 'a neoliberal ideology' (2014: 698). In reply, Trowler argues that Zepke fails to explain the mechanisms linking neoliberalism to the concepts and practices of student engagement (2015: 336). In this article, I respond to the Zepke-Trowler debate with an analysis of student engagement policies that illuminates the role of discourse as one mechanism linking neoliberal values with practices of student engagement. Through a corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis, I demonstrate a persistent and alarming omission of human labour from university policy texts. Instead, the engagements of students and staff are attributed to technology, documents and frameworks. Student engagement is discussed as a commodity to be embedded and marketed back to students in a way that yields an 'exchange value' (Marx 1867) for universities.

Divisions: Non-College Departments
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in Learning and Teaching. The definitive publisher-authenticated version 'Invisible labour: Do we need to reoccupy student engagement policy?' Sarah Hayes. Learning and Teaching, 11:1, 19-34. is available online at:
Publication ISSN: 1755-2281
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 07:38
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2018 08:27
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.ber ... atiss110102.xml (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Special issue
Published Date: 2018-07-16
Published Online Date: 2018-03-01
Accepted Date: 2018-03-01
Authors: Hayes, Sarah L (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8633-0155)



Version: Accepted Version

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