Theory Article

Commodification of the Information Profession: A Critique of Higher Education Under Neoliberalism

  • Stuart Lawson (Research Analyst, Jisc)
  • Kevin Sanders (Independent researcher)
  • Lauren Smith (PhD Researcher, Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde)


The structures that govern society’s understanding of information have been reorganised under a neoliberal worldview to allow information to appear and function as a commodity. This has implications for the professional ethics of library and information labour, and the need for critical reflexivity in library and information praxes is not being met. A lack of theoretical understanding of these issues means that the political interests governing decision-making are going unchallenged, for example the UK government’s specific framing of open access to research. We argue that building stronger, community oriented praxes of critical depth can serve as a resilient challenge to the neoliberal politics of the current higher education system in the UK and beyond. Critical information literacy offers a proactive, reflexive and hopeful strategy to challenge hegemonic assumptions about information as a commodity.

How to Cite:

Lawson, S., Sanders, K. & Smith, L., (2015) “Commodification of the Information Profession: A Critique of Higher Education Under Neoliberalism”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 3(1), eP1182. doi:

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Published on
10 Mar 2015
Peer Reviewed