3: Higher Education Policies

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This chapter discusses long-term and short-term political-economic changes occurring in the field of higher education (HE) related to the recent wave of student protests. It offers a historical overview of the trend of marketization affecting the HE sectors of Chile, England, Italy, and Quebec in recent decades. The four regions under investigation cover different HE systems, from those where the role of the state is still prominent (Italy and Quebec), and the commodification trend is not so strong, to others in which the market, along with the commodification of the sector, have acquired greater relevance over recent decades (England and Chile). The chapter argues that the different pace and form of the marketization process have heavily affected the ways in which students mobilized in terms of action repertoires, political goals and demands, and organizational structures. Exploring the variety and the institutional differences in the field of HE helps one assess the variety of the student movements embedded in such fields.

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