The social organisation of boasting in the neoliberal university

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  • Rebecca Lund, Tampereen Yliopisto

This article unpacks the social construction of the ‘ideal academic’ in the context of major shifts in the global and national governance of academia that have introduced managerial practices, standardised notions of excellence and accounting logics with the aim of increasing the efficiency and quality of higher education and academic knowledge production. More specifically it explores how the enacting of this ideal involves practices of boasting and explores how people are differently positioned in that regard. Drawing on a three-year ethnographic study at Aalto University in Finland the article shows how boasting involves the (re)production of gendered and classed social inequalities and leads to increasing polarisation between those who succeed and those who fail to meet the new quality standards. I draw on the resources of Institutional Ethnography which enables me to analyse the social relations of gender and class and show how culturally and situationally specific forms of boasting, become textually recognised and encouraged as appropriate behaviour for the ‘ideal academic’.

TidsskriftGender and Education
Sider (fra-til)466-485
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - maj 2020

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