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Negotiated Marketization: Public Universities and Higher Education Markets in Peru (1990–2014)

Higher education marketization has often been explained either by state weakness or by the articulation capacity of business actors. However, these perspectives overlook the role of other actors in the negotiation processes determining the results of these reforms. Like other countries of the Global South, Peru experienced a radical marketization process throughout the 1990s. Previous studies have presented this case as an example of a radical expansion of for-profit universities, neglecting the organizational capacity of public universities. Drawing on the literature on economic sociology and social movements, this article examines the political strategies of several public university presidents throughout the marketization process. Through the systematic analysis of legal documents and media reports, as well as through interviews with key actors, this article traces the marketization process in detail, showing how public universities gained autonomy and were able to shape the process of marketization.