Resource title

Analysing the higher education regulatory state

Resource image

image for OpenScout resource :: Analysing the higher education regulatory state

Resource description

This paper explores the notion of the higher education regulatory state and particularly the relationship, if any, between regulatory scholarship more widely and research on higher education governance. It suggests that the regulatory state in an age of governance requires both 'centred' and 'de-centred' analyses. It argues that there is no convincing case for regulatory exceptionalism for higher education in comparison with the study of other sectors and that a regulatory lens offers new insights for both regulatory and higher education researchers. The paper recognizes convergences in regulatory approaches in previously quite disparate national systems of higher education but suggests that key differences can be identified. The notion of 'regulatory intermediation' is introduced to describe critical groups at the interface of the regulator and the regulated in higher education, to link centred and decentred regulatory approaches, and to help understand how regulatory delivery is discharged and amended. A recent research project by the author on quality assurance auditors is used to explore the retention of tacit and peer traditions within more overtly formalized methods for external evaluation of universities. Finally, a brief comparison of the different worlds of the regulatory state as found in higher education, healthcare, legal services, and accountancy is undertaken, particularly to illustrate how the regulatory state plays out differently in various policy sectors.

Resource author

Resource publisher

Resource publish date

Resource language


Resource content type


Resource resource URL

Resource license