Save

The Secondary Gains of Neoliberal Pain: The Limits of Consolation as a Response to Academic Anguish

In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
Author:
Xymena Kurowska Central European University, KurowskaX@ceu.edu

Search for other papers by Xymena Kurowska in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$34.95

The contemporary global academic is an exemplary neoliberal subject. This condition is, of course, not unreflected upon, even if those communities of scholars dubbed ‘critical’ and ‘problem-solving’ might address it in different ways. The critical crowd is, however, caught in a particular predicament: We enact and embody neoliberal discourse in our daily practice, all the while raging about the psychosocial harm it inflicts. Indeed, though working within an industry ever more industrialised in conformity with the violent economic technologies of precarity, competition, quantification, standardisation, and individualism, considerable professional rewards remain on offer for those who master ‘the game.’ We become academic subjects in and by ‘making deals’ at the juncture of productive and coercive power—that is, by reproducing hierarchies. The discourse of personal triumph against neoliberal adversity—performed, if in different ways, by critical and mainstream scholars alike—is part and parcel of becoming a good player, of generating affective and socio-economic payoffs, and, ultimately, of re-entrenching the neoliberal condition. This essay does not argue for a second-order responsibilisation of this already tormented subject—to radicalise not-yet-brutal-enough self-appraisals. Rather, it is concerned with a certain disavowal of responsibility which derives from the implication in our own and each other’s suffering, as formulated in Lynne Layton’s work. Instead of offering consolation in response to the neoliberal suffering, and thus deepen the collusion, I suggest a re-thinking of responsibility in response to the concreteness of the neoliberal pain. Expressed and theorised from within the lived experienced of academic anguish, this is as much an autobiographical as a sociological tale.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 986 210 18
Full Text Views 36 6 0
PDF Views & Downloads 55 12 0