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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Raaper, R. (2019). Assessment Policy and “Pockets of Freedom” in a Neoliberal University. A Foucauldian Perspective. In Resisting Neoliberalism in Higher Education. Volume II - Prising Open the Cracks. Manathunga, C. & Bottrell, D. Palgrave Macmillan. II: 155-175.

Author(s) from Durham


Guided by a Foucauldian theorisation, this chapter conducts a discourse analysis of assessment policy documents in one neoliberalised UK university. Furthermore, it traces the ways in which academics and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) as assessors negotiate this policy space. The findings demonstrate that the assessment policy has become increasingly restrictive but also ambiguous in the university. It includes a high number of policy documents, a wide range of assessment stakeholders and increasingly abstract language of instruction. However, the findings also suggest that this policy ambiguity is not utterly negative but can be exploited by academics and GTAs, allowing them to have some ownership over assessment processes and their own subjectivities as assessors.

School of Education