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The American Community College and the Neoliberal State: A Critical Analysis of the Case of California

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The article examines the state of California’s budgetary expenditures and commitments to its three postsecondary education sectors – the community college system, the California State University, and the University of California – from 1970 to the present, around important questions concerning the emergence and dominance of neoliberalism. The central concern of the article is the relationship of the State (as in nation-state) and its overall support for arguably the most democratic facet of the US higher education system – the community college. Evidence supports the conclusion that the state of California’s commitment to the community college sector has decreased in an age of neoliberalism.

Keywords: California higher education; community college; globalization; neoliberal State; neoliberalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of California, Los Angeles

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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