Commodification of the information profession: a critique of higher education under neoliberalism

Stuart Lawson, Kevin Sanders, Lauren Smith

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The structures that govern society’s understanding of information have been reorganised under a neoliberal worldview to allow information to appear and function as a commodity. This has implications for the professional ethics of library and information labour, and the need for critical reflexivity in library and information praxes is not being met. A lack of theoretical understanding of these issues means that the political interests governing decision-making are going unchallenged, for example the UK government’s specific framing of open access to research. We argue that building stronger, community oriented praxes of critical depth can serve as a resilient challenge to the neoliberal politics of the current higher education system in the UK and beyond. Critical information literacy offers a proactive, reflexive and hopeful strategy to challenge hegemonic assumptions about information as a commodity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereP1182
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • scholarly communication
  • neoliberalism
  • libraries
  • information literacy
  • higher education
  • information


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