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Symposium: Anxiety and Work in the Accelerated Academy

The culture and organisation of knowledge production are undergoing dramatic transformations.

Neo-managerialist models for the management of research and teaching, the expansion of audit and academic rankings, and the recasting of universities as service providers and students as consumers are just several of the main features of the ongoing marketisation of science, higher education and academia. Further important structural changes include the casualisation of academic labour and the “acceleration” of academic life.

These transformations concern the mathematical, natural and social sciences and humanities in equal measure, if perhaps in different ways. The careers, working lives and identities of scholars, researchers and higher education teachers are all affected.

In this symposium, we bring together international and UK-based scholars who study science, higher education and academia. We focus on a particular aspect of neoliberal academia, namely its anxiety-inducing environment – not as an object in itself, but as a symptom of what Ros Gill called “the hidden injuries of neoliberal academia” and of the need for meaningful change. We will discuss what is happening to the work, careers, lives, identities and epistemic communities of scientists, while the scientific institutions are changing.

We invite everyone interested in issues of work, labour and employment in the sciences and academia – scholars, students, practitioners, administrators – to join the symposium and take part in the discussions.


Liz Morrish – Metrics, Performance Management and the Anxious University With responses by Gurminder K. Bhambra & Maria Ivancheva

Maggie O’Neill – Pace, Space and Well-Being: Containing Anxiety in the University With responses by Vik Loveday & TBC

Filip Vostal – Beyond the dichotomy of slow and fast academia: On temporal multidimensionality of science With responses by Mark Carrigan & Milena Kremakova

Each speaker will talk for thirty minutes, with responses of fifteen minutes each, before an hour’s open discussion.

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