Neo-liberal discourse in the Academy: The forestalling of (collective) resistance

Eva Petersen, Bronwyn Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we analyse the ways in which neo-liberalism is taken up in the discourses and practices of university life. In the 'knowledge economy' it might be thought that intellectual work would flourish. Yet the neo-liberal technologies through which universities and individual academics are made into entrepreneurs and made 'productive' are at risk of undermining the very source of knowledge production that they are intended to promote. In this article we explore the ways in which the discourses and practices of neo-liberal managerialism work to effectively forestall resistance to themselves. The forestalling of resistance is accomplished in part by persuading each individual academic to treat the effects of neo-liberalism as personal successes, responsibilities and failings rather than as a form of institutional practice in need of critique and transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-98
Number of pages22
JournalLearning and Teaching: the international journal of higher education in the social sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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