Feeling our way: academia, emotions and a politics of care

2016-09-15T14:41:07Z (GMT) by Kye Askins Matej Blazek
This paper aims to better understand the role of emotions in academia, and their part in producing, and challenging, an increasingly normalized neoliberal academy. It unfolds from two narratives that foreground emotions in and across academic spaces and practices, to critically explore how knowledges and positions are constructed and circulated. It then moves to consider these issues through the lens of care as a political stance towards being and becoming academics in neoliberal times. Our aim is to contribute to the burgeoning literature on emotional geographies, explicitly bringing this work into conversation with resurgent debates surrounding an ethic of care, as part of a politic of critiquing individualism and managerialism in (and beyond) the academy. We consider the ways in which neoliberal university structures circulate particular affects, prompting emotions such as desire and anxiety, and the internalisation of competition and audit as embodied scholars. Our narratives exemplify how attendant emotions and affect can reverberate and be further reproduced through university cultures, and diffuse across personal and professional lives. We argue that emotions in academia matter, mutually co-producing everyday social relations and practices at and across all levels. We are interested in their political implications, and how neoliberal norms can be shifted through practices of caring-with.