Unbundling: a new gendered frontier of exclusion and exploitation in the neoliberal university

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Unbundling is the process of disaggregating educational provision into its component parts likely for delivery by multiple stakeholders, often through public-private partnerships and the use of digital approaches (Swinnerton et al., 2018). A neutral definition, it relates to a process that is all but neutral to higher education. Having done research on unbundling South African and English universities, on a project focused on teaching and learning processes, I could not help but realise the extent to which this process affects much more than student learning and online teaching material curation patterns. Under the premise of widening access, it contributes to a potentially profoundly gendered casualisation, automation, deprofessionalisation, and fragmentation of academic labour to new unforeseen degrees. In this, unbundling reveals a new frontier of exploitation and exclusion at universities that we need to be aware of and organise against.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalMatter: Journal of New Materialist Research
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020


  • unbundling
  • gendered frontier
  • exclusion
  • exploitation
  • neoliberal university


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