“Singing Up the Second Story”: Acts of Community Development Scholar “Delicate Activism” Within the Neoliberal University

  • Peter WestobyEmail author
  • Lynda Shevellar
Part of the Palgrave Critical University Studies book series (PCU)


Drawing on the conceptual work of “Bifo” Beradi’s colonising the soul, and Rose’s governing the soul, this chapter examines the possibilities of academic resistance to neoliberalism. Using narrative practice and biographical double-listening, the authors explore what is understood as the first and second stories. The first story captures rich description of social and mental suffering occurring within neoliberal academic spaces. The second story elicits the values, skills and knowledges being used by both authors to navigate the space in generative ways. Giving voice to these narratives enables shared analysis, re-gaining a literacy about experience of academic life, which in turn opens up further cracks for agency as a practice of resistance. These agency ‘cracks’ are explored in what is discussed as a delicate activism.


Community development Community engagement Collective narrative practice Delicate activism Double listening practice Soul 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  3. 3.The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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