“Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university

Caretta, M.A., Drozdzewski, D., Jokinen, J.A. and Falconer, E. 2018. “Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 42 (2), pp. 261-275. doi:10.1080/03098265.2018.1434762

Title“Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university
AuthorsCaretta, M.A., Drozdzewski, D., Jokinen, J.A. and Falconer, E.
Abstract

Work intensification is a characteristic of the current neoliberal trend in academia. Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers (PhD candidates and ECRs) in geography are no strangers to this development but are rarely the focus of publications or dialogue on the (gendered) outcomes of the academy’s neoliberal agenda. Encouraged by the recent emotional turn in the social sciences and humanities, this article seeks to unveil some of the everyday particulars of life in academia for PhD candidates and ECRs under the tide of financial cuts and increased competition for funding. We explore the question: “Who can – and indeed wants to – play this game?” As three early and one mid-career academic women in four different institutions in the Global North, we make use of reflexivity, autobiographical writing, and reflection, to analyze increasingly stressful and demanding working conditions. Through the depiction of our lived experiences, we contend that the push for ever increasing outputs attends most of our time and represents a distinctly different form of scholarship than has been traditionally considered as the pathway into academia, not seldom jeopardizing well-being of young academics, one that needs to be interrogated by geographers.

KeywordsEarly career researchers, postgraduate studies, neoliberal university, multitasking, fieldwork
JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
Journal citation42 (2), pp. 261-275
ISSN0309-8265
Year2018
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/03098265.2018.1434762
Publication dates
Published01 Mar 2018

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