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Darkness at Noon: Adiaphorization and Humiliation in the Neoliberal University
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jagiellonian University, Kraków.
Stockholm University.
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As researchers have observed, one of the side-effects of the neoliberal ethos in contemporary academia is humiliation in academic working life, related to undignifying social behaviours, including mobbing and bullying practices (Zawadzki, 2017; Twale, 2018). Neoliberal aims as publications in prestigious journals, grants or next academic degrees very often become the ends of themselves for academics, working as the “moral sleeping pills” (Bauman, 1991: 26), strengthening obedience towards neoliberal rules of academic excellence game. It creates an ultra-conformist monoculture and reduce the possibility to perceive the neoliberal ideology as a source of the observed and experienced unethical actions. In consequence, very often victims and witnesses of humiliation in academia perceive neoliberal changes as morally neutral, or adiaphorizing (Bauman, 1991), justifying the authority of managerial changes and seeing them as a solution to their harm (Stein, 2001). This might be understood as an example of what Stanley Milgram calls an “agentic shift” (Milgram, 1974/2005), where an individual “feels responsible to the authority directing him but feels no responsibility for the content of the actions that the authority prescribes” (ibid.: 147).

The aim of the paper is to reflect on the social context of humiliation as a consequence of neoliberal changes in academia within the use of Zygmunt Bauman’s ideas of adiaphorization and scientific management as a producer of the horrific (Jensen, 2010; 2011, 2014). The paper is based on empirical findings on Polish university, affected by nation-wide neoliberal reforms and currently undergoing local, management-led, organizational change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-46355OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-46355DiVA, id: diva2:1354522
Conference
Symposium: Modernity and the Holocaust: 30 Years Later, University of Leeds, 9-10th September, 2019
Available from: 2019-09-25 Created: 2019-09-25 Last updated: 2019-09-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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Output format
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