Higher education students as consumers: a crosscountry comparative analysis of students’ views

Achala Gupta*, Rachel Brooks, Jessica J Abrahams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid expansion of neo-liberal regimes has effectively transformed how students – their role and purpose – are understood in society. Scholars, especially in the Anglophone North, have shown how dominant policy narratives tend to position students as consumers. More recent studies have begun to explore students’ views of this construction. However, much of this work focuses on a particular country; thus, how students’ opinions may vary across contexts remains largely underexamined. Redressing this gap, this article explores students’ perspectives on being constructed as consumers in Denmark, England, and Spain. It discusses similarities and differences across and within these countries. The paper shows that most students find this construction profoundly problematic and counter to the ideals of education as a public good. Yet, different, often contrasting, themes from students’ narratives signify the relevance of the funding regime and the level of stratification within HE sectors in shaping students’ understanding of consumerist discourse across Europe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Early online date20 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jul 2023


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