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Contesting Higher EducationStudent Movements against Neoliberal Universities$
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Donatella Della Porta, Lorenzo Cini, and César Guzmán-Concha

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529208627

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529208627.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 22 January 2022

Student Campaigns

Student Campaigns

(p.29) 2 Student Campaigns
Contesting Higher Education

Donatella della Porta

Lorenzo Cini

César Guzmán-Concha

Policy Press

This chapter illustrates the temporal trajectories and the main characteristics of the recent student mobilizations, occurring in the four cases under investigation, that oppose measures promoted by national governments to foster a neoliberal model of higher education. In exploring the goals, strategies, and action repertoires of such mobilizations, it notes similarities and differences between the actors involved in the protests within and across the four regions. To begin with, students have various traditions of activism in the four cases studied, which have informed contemporary movements. Moreover, in the four cases, the mobilization campaigns have shown a surprisingly high (especially for England and Quebec) confrontational orientation, exemplified by the adoption of very disruptive protest tactics, such as street blockades, and railway and university occupations. Similar also were the main demands and goals pursued by the students, who were concerned with the negative consequences of the process of marketization affecting their universities and their lives, and the support of the restoration of a stronger public system with a more democratic outlook. Yet, some key differences across the four cases were identified in the various capacities of students to build unitary protest fronts and to make alliances with other social and political actors, such as leftist political parties and trade unions — a capacity which was higher in the Quebec and Chilean cases, and lower in the Italian and English ones.

Keywords:   student mobilizations, national governments, higher education, activism, mobilization campaigns, disruptive protest tactics, street blockades, marketization, universities, unitary protest fronts

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