Changing the World?: The Politics of Activism and Impact in the Neoliberal University

Carl Rhodes, Christopher Wright, Alison Pullen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This article explores the political differences between academic activism and the recently emerged research impact agenda. While both claim that academic work can and should engage with and influence the world beyond the academic ‘ivory tower’, their political meaning and practice are radically different. Following the distinction made by Jacques Rancière, we argue that research impact performs a policing function which, despite its own rhetoric, is arranged as an attempt to ensure that academic work maintains a neoliberal status quo by actually having no real political impact. Academic activism, in contrast, serves to politicize scholarly work by democratically disrupting political consensus in the name of equality. Being an academic activist in an era of research impact rests in a twofold movement: that of both acting in the name of equality in an effort (using Marx’s terms) to ‘change the world’ and resisting and contesting an academic administration whose police actions have attempted to eliminate such forms of democratic practice from the political consensus. The argument is illustrated with examples from the Australia Research Council’s statements on research impact and the practice of climate change activism.
This article explores the political differences between academic activism and the recently emerged research impact agenda. While both claim that academic work can and should engage with and influence the world beyond the academic ‘ivory tower’, their political meaning and practice are radically different. Following the distinction made by Jacques Rancière, we argue that research impact performs a policing function which, despite its own rhetoric, is arranged as an attempt to ensure that academic work maintains a neoliberal status quo by actually having no real political impact. Academic activism, in contrast, serves to politicize scholarly work by democratically disrupting political consensus in the name of equality. Being an academic activist in an era of research impact rests in a twofold movement: that of both acting in the name of equality in an effort (using Marx’s terms) to ‘change the world’ and resisting and contesting an academic administration whose police actions have attempted to eliminate such forms of democratic practice from the political consensus. The argument is illustrated with examples from the Australia Research Council’s statements on research impact and the practice of climate change activism.
SprogEngelsk
TidsskriftOrganization
Vol/bind25
Udgave nummer1
Sider139-147
Antal sider9
ISSN1350-5084
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2018

Emneord

  • Academic activism
  • Climate change activism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Research impact

Citer dette

Rhodes, Carl ; Wright, Christopher ; Pullen, Alison . / Changing the World? The Politics of Activism and Impact in the Neoliberal University. I: Organization. 2018 ; Bind 25, Nr. 1. s. 139-147
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Changing the World? The Politics of Activism and Impact in the Neoliberal University. / Rhodes, Carl; Wright, Christopher; Pullen, Alison .

I: Organization, Bind 25, Nr. 1, 2018, s. 139-147.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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