Don’t fear the reaper? The Zombie university and eating braaaains

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5 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the role and function of neoliberalism in higher education, particularly in its manifestations after the Global Financial Crisis. Theories of managerialism are overlaid not only with questions about the purpose and role of higher education in the economy, but also the renegotiation of power and identity after 2008. Ulrich Beck’s zombie concept is reactivated and applied to the university. The paper moves through a discussion of the zombie and Beck’s zombie categories and concepts, and then concludes with a section applying these ideas to higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

'All authors and readers have the right to download, copy, distribute, modify, create derivative works and display publicly the articles in electronic, digital, or print form, provided that the post-print version of the articles are not sold for a profit and the first Publication by KOME, with a URL link and complete bibliographic details, is referenced.'


  • Higher education studies
  • Neoliberalism
  • Ulrich beck
  • Zombie category
  • Zombie concept
  • Zombie university


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