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Beyond the academic precariat: a collective biography of poetic subjectivities in the neoliberal university


Hartung, C and Barnes, N and Welch, R and O'Flynn, G and Uptin, J and McMahon, S, Beyond the academic precariat: a collective biography of poetic subjectivities in the neoliberal university, Sport Education and Society, 22, (1) pp. 40-57. ISSN 1357-3322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13573322.2016.1202227


The ‘neoliberal turn’ in the higher education sector has received significant intellectual scrutiny in recent times. This scrutiny, led by many established academics working within the sector, has highlighted the negative repercussions for teaching and research staff, often referred to as the ‘academic precariat’ due to their tenuous employment prospects within an increasingly marketdriven system. This critique of the modern university can also inadvertently position academics as either resisting or complying with neoliberal governance. This does not adequately account for the nuanced and poetic ways in which professional, personal and gendered subjectivities are formulated, intertwined and negotiated. In this paper we draw on the six overlapping yet distinct narratives of the six female authors, all early-career academics from Australia. We capture and analyse these narratives through collective biography, a qualitative methodology underpinned by the work of Davies and Gannon and others, that helps us to move beyond the ‘good vs. bad’, ‘resistance vs. compliance’ debates about academic life. We identify aspects of our lived subjectivities that offer rupture through poetic and hopeful ways of understanding how academics construct and negotiate their lives.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:higher education, neoliberalism, collective biography, subjectivity, early-career academics
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Higher education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Gender aspects in education
UTAS Author:Barnes, N (Dr Nicoli Barnes)
ID Code:136889
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2020-01-22
Last Modified:2020-05-20

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