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Reckoning up: sexual harassment and violence in the neoliberal university

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alison PhippsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This paper situates sexual harassment and violence in the neoliberal university. Using data from a ‘composite ethnography’ representing twelve years of research, I argue that institutional inaction on these issues reflects how they are ‘reckoned up’ in the context of gender and other structures. The impact of disclosure is projected in market terms: this produces institutional airbrushing which protects both the institution and those (usually privileged men) whose welfare is bound up with its success. Staff and students are differentiated by power/value relations, which interact with gender and intersecting categories. Survivors are often left with few alternatives to speaking out in the ‘outrage economy’ of the corporate media: however, this can support institutional airbrushing and bolster punitive technologies. I propose the method of Grounded Action Inquiry, implemented with attention to Lorde’s work on anger, as a parrhesiastic practice of ‘speaking in’ to the neoliberal institution.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phipps A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gender and Education

Year: 2020

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 227-243

Online publication date: 06/06/2018

Acceptance date: 14/05/2018

Date deposited: 17/01/2022

ISSN (print): 0954-0253

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0516

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2018.1482413


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