The neoliberal academic: Illustrating shifting academic norms in an age of hyper-performativity

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Abstract

Neoliberalism is invariably presented as a governing regime of market and competition-based systems rather than as a set of migratory practices that are re-setting the ethical standards of the academy. This article seeks to explore the way in which neoliberalism is shifting the prevailing values of the academy by drawing on two illustrations: the death of disinterestedness and the obfuscation of authorship. While there was never a golden age when norms such as disinterestedness were universally practiced they represented widely accepted aesthetic ideals associated with academic life. By contrast, neoliberal academics embrace a new set of assumptions and norms that stand in sharp relief to many of the values that were previously espoused. Practices that might have been regarded as ethically dubious by earlier generations of academics, such as grantsmanship, self-justificatory expressions of interestedness and tangential claims to authorship, are now regarded as legitimate and positive virtues in a more aggressive age of hyper-performativity. Copyright © 2019 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Volume53
Issue number5
Early online dateNov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Citation

Macfarlane, B. (2021). The neoliberal academic: Illustrating shifting academic norms in an age of hyper-performativity. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 53(5), 459-468. doi: 10.1080/00131857.2019.1684262

Keywords

  • Neoliberalism
  • Performativity
  • Academic norms
  • Disinterestedness
  • Grantsmanship
  • Research-active

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