Policy conflicts on the move: a ‘mobilities’ case study of neoliberal postsecondary policy

Kathleen Aikens, Kristen Hargis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In light of multiple, dispersed forms of online civic participation, we must reconceptualize how public intervention into policy production and enactment takes place. This study examines a case of academic and operational restructuring termed ‘TransformUS’ that took place at a Canadian university in Saskatchewan from 2013 to 2014. Our analysis centers on a sequence of high profile events in May 2014 at the University of Saskatchewan, sparked by the firing of a tenured dean who publicly criticized TransformUs. We examine the mobilization of this policy conflict, and specifically, how discourses and actors were implicated in its movement, alongside articulations of neoliberalism/anti-neoliberalism and academic freedom. We analyze data posted by Twitter users (tweets), in combination with hyperlinked articles, to examine content and methods of communication. We argue that broader mobilization of TransformUs was enabled through the decontexualization of a localized conflict situation and its recontextualization as an issue of academic freedom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-43
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • education policy
  • higher education
  • mobility
  • neoliberalism
  • Program prioritization
  • social media

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