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Academe in Chains: Habitus, Reform, and the Neoliberal University

Academe in Chains: Habitus, Reform, and the Neoliberal University Jeffrey r. Di Leo Academe in Chains Habitus, Reform, and the Neoliberal University University reform is slow—even when times are bad. In spite of the downwa-rd cor porate spiral taken by most universities over the past tw fi v en e y ty- ears, efforts to release the university from its neoliberal chains have been widely regarded as inef- fective. The cost of education continues to rise as does the amount of debt incurred by students; academic freedom is now more than ever subject to the interests of capital while the curriculum faces increasing degrees of vocational recalibration and political scrutiny; and department closures, unreasonable job expectations, and job insecurity all may be linked back to a destructive form of managerialism that continues to hold sway over academe 1 Wha . t then, may we ask, is impeding university reform? What is restricting resistance to these unwanted and unpleasant aspects of academe? The answer, in short, is habitu. S s pecifically, academic habitus. Habitus , in its most general sense, refers to the “system of shared social dispo- sitions and cognitive structures which generates perceptions, appreciations, and actions” (Bourdieu, Homo Academicu 279n2). s This shared system of social dispo- http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Academe in Chains: Habitus, Reform, and the Neoliberal University

The Comparatist , Volume 40 – Nov 11, 2016

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Jeffrey r. Di Leo Academe in Chains Habitus, Reform, and the Neoliberal University University reform is slow—even when times are bad. In spite of the downwa-rd cor porate spiral taken by most universities over the past tw fi v en e y ty- ears, efforts to release the university from its neoliberal chains have been widely regarded as inef- fective. The cost of education continues to rise as does the amount of debt incurred by students; academic freedom is now more than ever subject to the interests of capital while the curriculum faces increasing degrees of vocational recalibration and political scrutiny; and department closures, unreasonable job expectations, and job insecurity all may be linked back to a destructive form of managerialism that continues to hold sway over academe 1 Wha . t then, may we ask, is impeding university reform? What is restricting resistance to these unwanted and unpleasant aspects of academe? The answer, in short, is habitu. S s pecifically, academic habitus. Habitus , in its most general sense, refers to the “system of shared social dispo- sitions and cognitive structures which generates perceptions, appreciations, and actions” (Bourdieu, Homo Academicu 279n2). s This shared system of social dispo-

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 11, 2016

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