Neoliberalism’s Paradoxical Effect and European Doctoral Education Reforms in Post-socialist Europe


  • Lotar Rasi´nski University of Lower Silesa
  • Miroslav Dopita
  • Hana Cervinkova



doctoral education, paradoxical effect, Foucault, neoliberal governmentality, practitioner-researchers, higher education reforms, Poland, Czech Republic


Building on examples from post-socialist Central Europe, this article addresses changes in European higher education policy and examines the ‘paradoxical effect’ (Foucault 2008) of neoliberal educational reforms on the doctoral level. We consider how economically driven policies oriented at building Europe’s knowledge economy and market effectiveness, created possibilities for subjectification related to the extension of individual freedom – an aspect of neoliberalism that Foucault juxtaposed to other forms of governmentality. Drawing on our positioning as doctoral supervisors in the Polish and Czech academia during the period of intensive institutional restructuring, we illustrate how European higher education reforms opened the doors of doctoral education to practitioners-doctoral researchers who found themselves in the unique position bring critical perspectives to illuminate covert socio-economic and political mechanisms of their practice. We consider the potential of critical doctoral pedagogy, to create the conditions of possibility for the construction of subjectivity and emergence of new knowledges at the intersection of practical, academic and personal life trajectories under the conditions of neoliberal domination.


Author Biography

Lotar Rasi´nski, University of Lower Silesa

Associate Professor