Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




A well-established conceptualization of academic capitalism is rooted in the marriage of economic theory and critical social. Significantly, academic capitalism links economic dimensions with the political-ideological transformations of U.S. society associated with the fall of communism and the rise of neoliberalism. Academic capitalism is based on a recognition of the paradoxical nature of higher education and offers a lens through which to examine the ways in which institutions in the United States have come to prioritize learning for the labor market as a private good within the new global economy, while also becoming less beholden to the notion of learning for democracy as a public good. Some empirical research indicates there may be connections between liberal arts programs and democratic outcomes; however, this scholarship is contested. Even less is known about how individual disciplines that straddle utilitarian and liberal arts traditions, such as dance, navigate the private versus public good debate in the context of academic capitalism. There is much to learn about how these “divided fields” may be creatively bridging the gap between learning for a professional career and learning for civic virtues traditionally associated with undergraduate education in the arts and humanities. Using multiple data sources and analyses, the intent behind this three-study dissertation was to explore how dance programs are designed to both embrace and resist the academic capitalist knowledge/learning regime. Keywords: academic capitalism, neoliberalism, humanities, college dance programs

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.