Coercion, Self Regulation and Tertiary Education

Year: 2003

Author: Ashcroft, Craig

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Michel Foucault claimed that the apparent neutrality and political invisibility that existed within certain forms of governance allowed power to be exercised with maximum effect because it was hidden from view.

This paper uses Bentham's panopticon as a metaphorical representation of the role and likely impact of recent reforms in New Zealand's tertiary education sector. I have conceptualised a process of Managerial Panopticism to argue that the reforms initiated by the 1999 Labour/Alliance Coalition Government and imposed upon New Zealand's tertiary education sector employ techniques of coercion that provide individuals with a sense of opportunism if they comply. I argue that this sense of 'opportunism' is actually an illusion used by the government to stifle any possible resistance to the reform process.

Key Words: panopticism, New Public Management, tertiary education, stakeholder, compliance.