Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2013


In this article, we propose a new paradigm for understanding recent state policies that pose new barriers to student participation, diverting the most vulnerable students out of public higher education. The paradigm we propose is based on works by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and is significantly different from previous diversion theories developed by sociologists Burton Clark (1960) and Steven Brint and Jerome Karabel (1989). These earlier theories described how institutional practices and policies diverted students from one curriculum or institution into another. For example, Clark’s (1960) case study at one junior college explained how faculty and staff used various academic and student development practices to “cool-out” students and divert them from transfer curricula into vocational curricula. Brint and Karabel’s (1989) research examined a rich historical record, and they explained how community colleges secured their future by aggressively marketing vocational curricula that diverted students away from four-year colleges and universities.




Copyright © 2012 Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Included in

Education Commons