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2018, Cilt 8, Sayı 3, Sayfa(lar) 512-521
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2018.292
When Students Become Customers; The Changing Relationship Between the Student and the Academic: A Case Study from Social Sciences in Turkey
Izmir Bakırcay University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Izmir, Turkey
Keywords: Higher education in Turkey, Neoliberal university, Commodification of higher education, Student as customer

The definition of higher education is going through a rapid transformation where higher education is seen as a strategic commodity with a high profit potential. Actors involved in an increasingly commodified higher education arena are taking different positions in this changing context. Neoliberal ideology is taken as the basis of the transformation of higher education. Academics taking the role of service providers are losing their professional positions where students are being regarded as customers in the ‘Neoliberal University’. This implies a change in the relationship between institutions, academics and students which will be analyzed throughout this paper. The paper takes the point of view of academics, bringing in results of a qualitative PhD study conducted with 28 academics working in public and foundation (private) universities located in the cities of Istanbul and Izmir. The case presented in this study will be analyzed as part of the discussion on the changing nature of higher education in which academics are increasingly being controlled through their relationship with their students and the effects of the increasing demands of the students taking the role of customers. This analysis is a part of a broader discussion on how the academic profession is changing under the context of the ‘Neoliberal University’.

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