Neoliberal social inclusion? The agenda of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance

Peacock, David (2012) Neoliberal social inclusion? The agenda of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance. Critical Studies in Education, 53(3), pp. 311-325.

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University–community engagement (UCE) represents a hybrid discourse and a set of practices within contemporary higher education. As a modality of research and teaching, ‘engagement’ denotes the process of universities forming partnerships with external communities for the promised generation of mutually beneficial and socially responsive knowledge, leading to enhanced economic, social and cultural developments. A critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 2003. Analysing Discourse: Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge) of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance’s (AUCEA) ‘Position Paper’(2008 Universities and community engagement (Position paper 2008–2010)), as reported in this article, suggests that its uneasy synthesis of neoliberal, social inclusion and civic engagement discourses into a hybrid UCE discourse semantically privileges neoliberal forms of engagement. Perhaps, as a result, the AUCEA seems to have missed an opportunity to influence the Australian ‘widening participation’ debate on securing access and opportunity for marginalised students at universities and building social and cultural capital within their communities of origin.

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ID Code: 73329
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: university-community engagement, HERN, neoliberalism, Critical Discourse Analysis
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2012.703138
ISSN: 1750-8495
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Critical Studies in Education on 02 Aug 2012, available online at:
Deposited On: 06 Jul 2014 22:32
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2015 21:14

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