The Destructuration of Academic Life: How Managerialism Colonises Universities with Symbolic Violence

PhD by Publication


Wheeldon, Anita Louise. 2022. The Destructuration of Academic Life: How Managerialism Colonises Universities with Symbolic Violence. PhD by Publication Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/q7qvz
Title

The Destructuration of Academic Life: How Managerialism Colonises Universities with Symbolic Violence

TypePhD by Publication
Authors
AuthorWheeldon, Anita Louise
Supervisor
1. FirstA/Pr Jon Whitty
2. SecondDr Bronte van der Hoorn
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages202
Year2022
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/q7qvz
Abstract

This thesis contributes to the current conversation and growing number of voices that call for a radical reform to the Anglo universities of the Australian, British, and American higher education system. This reform is a response to the claim that managerialism has colonised these universities to their detriment as these Anglo universities now serve private and commercial interests rather than those of the common good; they serve market fundamentalism rather than the flourishing of individuals. The setting for this thesis is that Anglo universities are ‘managerialised universities’ because they are occupied by a management class in the way that a hostile force takes control of a sovereign territory without legitimacy. Simply put, today these Anglo universities are corporate entities which only managers can run effectively; academics are unsuitable. However, there is a complication to this colonising project as it has not gone smoothly for many decades. Of concern to this thesis is the health and wellbeing of the university workforce, particularly that of academics. Within the literature there an interesting paradox, which is that academics are somewhat complicit in the handover of power. This thesis pulls on this thread of academic complicity as complicity is a symptom or indicator that symbolic violence is taking place, where the norms and values of the dominant group (the management class) become imposed on the subjugated group (the academics), such that the academics are unaware this is happening. As a course of action, this thesis reveals the subtle day-to-day machinery managerialism deploys to commit acts of symbolic violence toward academics in the managerialised university. It does this through a series of four journal articles with data drawn from two studies. The sum of this thesis embraces Bourdieu’s logic of colonisation. Three of the articles (Chapters 4 to 6) take a Bourdieusian approach to the data of one of the studies to disclose the ‘gentler’ aspects of structural and symbolic violence that align with the four distinct mechanisms of colonialism; abandon to subordinate, control the system mechanisms, position agents in relationships of domination, and create conditions where the successful succeed further. The fourth article (Chapter 7) based on the second study, takes a systems thinking approach to the data to illustrate how abandonment is also deployed toward professional staff, such that they are driven to a state of burnout.

KeywordsManagerialism, colonialism, Bourdieu, academics, professional staff, capital, habitus, doxa, symbolic violence, Australian Universities, burnout, systems thinking, decentralisation, university work conditions, role preparation, work integrated learning
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390201. Education policy
350799. Strategy, management and organisational behaviour not elsewhere classified
390299. Education policy, sociology and philosophy not elsewhere classified
390303. Higher education
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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