Thematization and Argumentation in Media Discourse on Higher Education Reform in Poland

  • Aleksandra Rzyska
  • Helena Ostrowicka


The aim of this presentation is to show the characteristics of media discourse on the reform of higher education in Poland, and to show the methodology of capturing the character of this discourse. The process of preparing the neo-liberal reform of Minister Barbara Kudrycka and its implementation were subjects of heated public debate.  The  context  of  the  reform,  generating  numerous  differentiated problematizations,  intensified  (re)production  of  specific  discourse  on  education.  This  presentation comprises  the  results  of  a  broader  research  project,  entitled  “Governmentality  of  University  –  A Discursive Image of the Contemporary Higher Education Reform in Poland” supported by the National Science  Center  in  Poland,  No.  2014/14/E/HS6/0067 (see Ostrowicka, Spychalska-Stasiak, 2018; Ostrowicka, Stankiewicz, 2019; Chomik, Ostrowicka, 2019).

The timeframe of the reform (from 2011 to 2014) determined the selection of texts for our analysis.

These were press articles from six most opinion-forming Polish newspapers. The analytical work on the selection of the texts was divided into 2 stages:

  • selecting texts connected with criticism of the reform (a total of 84),
  • extracting texts containing threads related to academic education (a total of 55), and these were the dominant threads in the entire material collected.