The Urban Review

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 333–354

“It’s 5:30. I’m exhausted. And I have to go all the way to f*%#ing Fishtown.”: Educator Depression, Activism, and Finding (Armed) Love in a Hopeless (Neoliberal) Place


DOI: 10.1007/s11256-016-0357-x

Cite this article as:
Stern, M. & Brown, A. Urban Rev (2016) 48: 333. doi:10.1007/s11256-016-0357-x


Many recent critical engagements with contemporary educational policy tend to be framed through the language of neoliberalism. Though these critiques are useful in providing a rich understanding of the political and cultural economy of public education, their level of abstraction demands more grounded and embodied approaches. In conversation with queer, feminist, and affect theory, this qualitative project uses the feelings of activist educators in Philadelphia to gain a deeper understanding what it means to live and labor in neoliberal times. Specifically, this article locates depression as a precise kind of political affect experienced by educators in an age of corporate accountability structures and austerity. Educators describe a kind of professional depression and, in turn, locate their activism as a therapeutic antidote to the current trends in education policy. Using the Freirean notion of armed love, we contextualize and theorize how new educator movements and activism strive to provide community for educators to endure, heal, and work towards greater educational justice.


New teacher movements Education policy Teacher activism Neoliberalism Public feelings 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesColgate UniversityHamiltonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Programs in Contemporary WritingUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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