Positioning students as consumers and entrepreneurs: Student service materials on a Hong Kong university campus

Fanglei Corey HUANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Favoring individual entrepreneurial freedom and free-market competition, neoliberalism has reshaped the social and discursive practices of higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world. In this paper, I draw on methods from critical multimodal discourse studies and an analytic concept from linguistic anthropology to examine several sets of student service materials circulating on the campus of a Hong Kong university between 2016 and 2017. While these materials are purportedly designed with student welfare in mind, I demonstrate how they effectively position students as (1) consumers of tailored services or experiences provided by the university; and (2) entrepreneurial selves, that is, socio-economically competitive and self-managed young individuals. I conclude by arguing that these service materials are shaped by and espouse a neoliberal governmentality that (re)orients HEIs and their students towards an all-pervasive marketization, competitiveness, and assertion of class privilege in a globalizing, particularly Westernized late capitalist society in Asia. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-686
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Volume19
Issue number6
Early online dateJun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Citation

Huang, C. F. (2022). Positioning students as consumers and entrepreneurs: Student service materials on a Hong Kong university campus. Critical Discourse Studies, 19(6), 667-686. doi: 10.1080/17405904.2021.1945471

Keywords

  • Neoliberalism
  • Higher education
  • Student service
  • Multimodality
  • Hong Kong

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