Leon Salter

Doctor of Philosophy, (Communication and Journalism)
Study Completed: 2018
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Neoliberalization, media, and union resistance: Identity Struggles in New Zealand Education 1984-2014

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Mr Salter investigated the highly antagonistic communicative landscape between the National government and the school education sector between 2009 and 2013. While the former blamed teachers for a culture of low standards, the latter argued that government policy was part of a global model seeking to create artificial crises in order to impose a business model on schools. Key policies were introduced over that period, specifically in terms of their articulations within newspaper editorials and political speeches. It was argued that each policy emerged through different combinations of neoliberal logics ingrained over the previous 20 years as common sense. Through interviews with 20 education activists, Mr Salter found that considerable alienation and disaffection from this mainstream discourse contributed to motivations to resist government policy. Holistic and democratic visions for education were seen as denied by what they saw as a policy framework which contradicted their core ethical values.

Professor Shiv Ganesh
Associate Professor Sean Phelan


Salter, L. (2014). Building resistance to the ‘GERM’: Discourse Theory, Discursive Struggle and the ‘teacher’ subject position. Paper presented at the Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change in New Zealand Conference, 28-29 August, 2014, Palmerston North. http://hdl.handle.net/10179/5624