Paying for Success “Outside Your World”: Antagonising Neoliberal Higher Education
To understand how neoliberalism in higher education affects those within it, this chapter will seek to build three inter-related arguments. First, that the specific formations of neoliberalism did not arise as a tabula rasa in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but rather rely on and are deeply entwined with entrenched conservative social positions which are important in understanding how we fit, or not, within institutions. Second, that neoliberalism as a form of antagonistic politics relies on eradication of difference from the expected, idealised “fitting body” within its institutions, in this case Higher Education. Finally I begin to assess the impact of neoliberalism, and the price we pay, in terms of how we understand ourselves where we are both subject to and object of neoliberalism, and how we negotiate those relationships. How, within higher education, we see neoliberal subjectivity in action, how we are collusive in it and forms of resistance to it. In particular I wish to explore some under-considered aspects of the impact of neoliberalism, including the affective work required to maintain the contradictory ways of being inherent on the neoliberal university.
I would like to thank Professor Bev Clack and Dr. Michele Paule for inviting me to be part of the ESRC Seminar Series and for their much appreciated support beyond that. Thanks also to the Reading Group at the University of Gloucestershire School of Natural and Social Sciences for their incisive and thought-provoking comments.
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