The Reagan Administration as the Origin of the Shift from Citizen Building to Consumer Building in American Education


  • Alex Davis University of Ottawa



Current American education is comprised of and influenced by a myriad of complex legislative, technological, and cultural representations of consumption, however this historic-educational study specifically examines how the Reagan administration discursively initiated the consumerizing educational framework.  While existing research studies the neoliberal implications on education, this study addresses the neoliberal reforms under President Reagan within the discursive paradigm of its consumerizing impact.  By using Critical Discourse Analysis on a selection of Presidential proclamations, speeches, and national educational reports, this study examines and elucidates how the Reagan administration created the consumerizing framework for American education. By understanding the results through the Frankfurt School concept of integration and expanding on Bowles and Gintis’ educational theory, this study argues that Reagan’s reforms created a consumerizing framework in American education.

Author Biography

Alex Davis, University of Ottawa

Alexander Davis is a 1st year PhD student studying at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Dr. Joel Westheimer. Alexander is researching the commercial relationship between digital classroom materials and classroom learning.


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