Scholar Outsiders in the Neoliberal University: Transgressive Academic Labour in the Whitestream

  • Joanna KidmanEmail author
  • Cherie Chu


Over the past 15 years of tertiary sector reform, the nature of academic governance in New Zealand universities has radically changed. Globalization, neoliberal experimentation and managerialist practices have come to characterize a higher education system where the locus of authority is at an ever-widening distance from the majority of academics. This paper uses sociological analyses of organizational structure to explore how macro and micro-level interactions within the managerialist university shape ethnicized, classed and gendered institutional status systems. Drawing on interviews with 43 Māori and Pacific senior scholars in nine universities and Wānanga, we consider the role of scholar ‘outsiders’ from the point of view of minoritized/ethnicized academics and argue that while academic labour within the institutional margins can be profoundly alienating these sites are less readily accessed by institutional elites and therefore open up possibilities for organized scholarly resistance to the neoliberal status quo.


Higher education Institutional organization Institutional racism Māori academics Neoliberalism Whitestream universities 



This paper is based on a study funded by a grant from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


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Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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