Cruel Measures: Gendered Excellence in Research

  • Briony LiptonEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


The transformation of higher education into a (quasi)market, packaged with increased measurement and shifting values, has a significant impact upon the careers of academic women. Increased gender representation obscures the fact that women’s participation continues to be measured and evaluated in relation to male norms, participation, and achievements. This chapter investigates the reworking of gender in the measured university. It analyses gendered excellence, academic promotion, and measures of academic success through Lauren Berlant’s notion of ‘cruel optimism’ in order to consider what is (and is not) valued in the contemporary university, and how career pathways are institutionally shaped.


Gendered excellence Merit Cruel optimism Berlant Measure Gender paradox 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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