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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Have you ever considered a career in total revolution?: drama and the corporate reform of higher education.

Connolly, Roy (2013) Have you ever considered a career in total revolution?: drama and the corporate reform of higher education. Studies in Theatre and Performance, 33 (2). ISSN 1468-2761

Item Type: Article


This paper examines the corporate reform of UK higher education and its implications for drama. The paper first sets out the background to this reform and its ideological reference points. It then outlines the discourse surrounding the foundation of drama in British Universities and relates this to the discourse developed several decades later by performance studies. In mapping out these areas, the paper draws attention to drama academics’ professed emphasis on rejecting commodification in favour of multiple and/or wide-ranging practices, progressive and democratic principles and a concern with the complexity of human beings. The paper argues that corporate discourse cuts at the joints of drama’s identity as a discipline because what constitute many of the ‘professed’ principles and modes of practice within drama and performance studies are antithetical to the models of commodification promoted by corporate thinking. The paper also engages with the ethical issues raised by corporate reform. As a wide range of critics point out, allowing corporate discourse and practices to dominate higher education is problematic because of the extent to which these practices do violence to the human and promote antidemocratic, antisocial, dehumanising and alienating modes of governance. The paper notes that, while drama’s ‘old’ discourses may seem contradictory, problematic or even to collude with élitism/corporatism, they can nevertheless help us clarify our understanding of the institutional place of drama in contemporary higher education, as remembering the democratic and progressive in drama’s past - as well as acknowledging where it has colluded with the corporate agenda - provides us with a means both to contextualize policy reform and engage critically with its implications.

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Depositing User: Roy Connolly


Item ID: 3166
ISSN: 1468-2761
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Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2012 07:59
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:05


Author: Roy Connolly

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries


Performing Arts > Drama

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