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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Dr Rille Raaper

Assistant Professor in the School of Education

(email at


Dr Rille Raaper (BA, PgCAP, MA, Ph.D)

Rille is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education where her research interests lie in the sociology of higher education. She is particularly interested in neoliberalisation of university policies and practices, power relations in academia, student identity as consumers, and student politics in higher education. Rille explores these themes by drawing on critical theory and critical discourse analysis. Her most recent research project traces consumerist positioning of students in England and the ways in which it informs student politics. Rille convenes the UG module Higher Education: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion, and the PG module The Case for Higher Education: From Precarity to Empowerment. She also teaches on the PG module Critical Perspectives in Education.

Before joining Durham in 2016, Rille held research and teaching positions at the University of Glasgow. She was involved in research projects on assessment practices in higher education and MOOC courses as well as teaching in the areas of research methods and fundamentals of education. Previously, she also worked at the Estonian National Agency of European Lifelong Learning Programme and coordinated the activities of adult education programme Grundtvig in Estonia.

Rille completed BA and MA in Adult Education in Tallinn University in Estonia, and Ph.D within the School of Education, University of Glasgow. Her doctoral research was informed by the works of Michel Foucault and Norman Fairclough, and it explored neoliberalisation of assessment policies and practices in higher education settings. The project was particularly concerned with neoliberalisation of university work and the ways in which transformed power acts on academic and student subjectivities.

Completed Supervisions

Graduating from care: A narrative study of care leavers' journeys into and through university

Information for Prospective Doctoral Research Student Supervisions

Rille would be pleased to hear from potential research students with an interest in conducting research in matters relating to higher education policies, issues of inclusion and exclusion in higher education, student politics and consumerism in higher education. She is also interested to hear from prospective students who are wishing to apply critical theory and critical discourse analysis in educational research.

Indicators of Esteem

  • Book reviewing: Bloomsbury Publishing, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Invited conference/seminar papers: ‘Constructing student politics in the age of consumerism’ (PESGB Gregynog conference, June 2018); ‘Student Politics: Now and Then’ (University of Hull, June 2018); 'Student Politics in the Age of Consumerism. The Case of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017' (University of Strathclyde, May 2018)
  • Member of Editorial Board: Social Theory Applied, Journal of Applied Social Theory, Teaching in Higher Education
  • Peer reviewing: Journal of Education Policy, Studies in Higher Education, Critical Studies in Education, Teaching in Higher Education
  • Professional memberships: Higher Education Academy (FHEA), British Educational Research Association (BERA), Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE)


Research Interests

  • Higher education policy and practice
  • Politics of higher education and student movements
  • Consumerism in higher education
  • Widening participation in higher education
  • Assessment policy and practice
  • Critical theory and critical discourse analysis
  • Foucault

Research Groups

Research Projects


Journal Article

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Raaper, R. (2016), Tracing assessment policy discourses in neoliberalised universities. A Foucauldian perspective, Foucault@90 Conference. University of West Scotland, Ayr, Scotland.
  • McGuire, W. & Raaper, R. (2015), Developing a guiding protocol for the moderation of summative assessments, in Gómez Chova, Louis, López Martínez, A. & Candel Torres, I. eds, 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies EDULEARN15 Conference. Barcelona, International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED), Valencia, 7403-7411.

Other (Print)


  • Raaper, R. (2017), Students as consumers? Tracing the policy context of the Higher Education and Research Bill, British Educational Research Association Conference. University of Sussex, Brighton.
  • Raaper, R. (2016), Peacekeepers’ and ‘machine factories’ A Foucauldian exploration of Graduate Teaching Assistant subjectivity in a neoliberalised university, SRHE Conference. Newport.
  • Raaper, R. (2016), Tracing power and student subjectivity in assessment. A Foucauldian perspective, British Educational Research Association Conference,. University of Leeds.
  • Raaper, R. (2015), Foucauldian analysis of student assessment as a technology of government in neoliberal universities, British Educational Research Association Conference. London.
  • Raaper, R. (2014), Student assessment as a disciplinary and governmental technique in a neoliberal higher education context, EERA/ECER Conference. Porto.
  • Raaper, R. (2013), How did i find my home? A journey from grounded theory to Foucauldian framework in assessment in higher education research, Assessment in Higher Education Conference. Birmingham, UK.