Producing Anxiety in the Neoliberal University

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
7-172 (Bentley Centre)
Prince George

Global Friday Presents

Co-sponsored with the Office of Research, Geography Program and the UNBC Graduate Conference

Dr. Lawrence Berg
Professor of Geography
University of British Columbia

ABSTRACT:  This lecture presents an analysis of the neoliberal production of anxiety in the academy. It 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. I suggest that powerful forms of competition and ranking of academic performance have been developed in Universities. 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. I 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.

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Global Friday gratefully acknowledges funding from the Dean of CASHS.

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