Producing anxiety in the neoliberal university

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper presents a theoretical analysis of the neoliberal production of anxiety in academic faculty members in universities in Northern Europe. The paper focuses on neoliberalization as it is instantiated through audit and ranking systems designed to produce academia as a space of economic efficiency and intensifying competition. We suggest that powerful forms of competition and ranking of academic performance have been developed in Northern Europe. These systems are differentiated and differentiating, and they serve to both index and facilitate the neoliberalization of the academy. Moreover, these audit and ranking systems produce an ongoing sense of anxiety among academic workers. We argue that neoliberalism in the academy is part of a wider system of anxiety production arising as part of the so-called “soft governance” of everything, including life itself, in contemporary late liberalism.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Akureyri
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography

Keywords

  • neoliberalism, higher education, human capital, academic audit systems, anxiety and mental health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-180
Number of pages13
JournalThe Canadian Geographer
Volume60
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes