ISS 20 år: Producing Anxiety in the Neoliberal University
Professor Lawrence D. Berg from the Institute for Community Engaged Research, the University of British Columbia will speak on the theme: Producing Anxiety in the Neoliberal University
In 2016 the Department of Sociology and Human Geography is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the two disciplines being brought together to form the department as it is today.
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.