Reality for new and prospective academics, and postgraduate students
In the third chapter, Reality for new and prospective academics, and postgraduate students, there is an elaboration on the previous chapters by focusing on the consequences of neoliberal shifts and changes to the postgraduate student and new lecturer experience. Importantly, new academics and postgraduates are the next generation of academics and this chapter examines the possibility of them doing creative and critical work in conditions where neoliberal marketability and metrics are prioritised. There is an analysis of the neoliberal managerial buzzword – resilience. This is contextualised in terms of exploitation and alienation, and a more-for-less culture. Resilience comes with the necessity for the academic to be flexible and striving. In practice, this is about working in a competitive environment where one must be seen to be doing more hours and more work. For new and prospective academics this translates to more teaching and administration, even working for free as graduate teaching assistants, and for more established academics this is about producing ever more outputs and increasingly larger research grant capture. Research outputs are part of an expanding metrics and datafication culture, which is discussed using the concept of performativity. A culture of high stakes performativity measures has the effect of largely negating resistance, creating mental health problems, discouragement, and dismissal. The final section will focus more extensively on the experiences of those who have just entered the profession as new academics, in literature often described as early career academics (ECAs), their position within the university and the ethical dilemmas they face when entering a system that seeks to restrict their autonomy and stifle their quest for establishing an academic identity.