Title

Conceptualising the epistemic dimension of academic identity in an age of neo-liberalism

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Adam, RJ 2012, 'Conceptualising the epistemic dimension of academic identity in an age of neo-liberalism', Education Research and Perspectives Journal, vol. 39, pp. 70-89.

Article available on Open access

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

This paper explores the epistemic dimension of neoliberalism in the context of higher education. Much critical commentary depicts neoliberalism negatively in terms of knowledge commodification, marketisation, productivity agendas, accountability regimes, bureaucratisation, economic rationalism and micro-managerialism. The paper offers a conceptual model (Binary Epistemic Model) to theorise the implicit epistemic conflict between some academic identities and the neoliberal paradigm. The model is used to support a paradoxical two-part thesis: (1) that neoliberalism, in its naïve form, is a threat to the necessary epistemological diversity of the academy, and (2) that epistemological diversity has a space, albeit a contested space, for neoliberal identities and ways of knowing. The premise for the model is that it offers a dialectical and evaluativistic way of understanding the influence of neoliberalism in the academy.