Prising Open the Cracks Through Polyvalent Lines of Inquiry

  • Catherine ManathungaEmail author
  • Dorothy Bottrell
Part of the Palgrave Critical University Studies book series (PCU)


Despite the pervasiveness of neoliberalism in universities, there remain significant pockets of freedom. In this chapter, we argue for the development of an ecology of decolonisation within the academy that shifts thinking Southward; that resists rankism; that mobilises labour and communities and that encourages individuals to work continuously to decentre whiteness. This volume contains ingenious, determined efforts by academics to prise open the cracks within neoliberal universities and mobilise opportunities created by neoliberalism’s cracked logics. It explores the emergence of new counter-hegemonic academic ontologies and practices that flourish once the light is let in. These creative modes of criticality, resistance, collegiality and solidarity create the conditions for radical hope in universities and in the communities they serve. They take seriously the fundamental work of universities towards equity and social justice and illustrate the central role universities can continue to play in the struggle for cultural democracy.


Neoliberalism Collegiality Solidarity Decolonisation Radical hope Cultural democracy 


  1. Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. Bacchi, Carol, and Susan Goodwin. Poststructural Policy Analysis. A Guide to Practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan/Springer, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ball, Stephen J. “Living the Neo-Liberal University.” European Journal of Education 50 (2015): 258–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blackmore, Jill, Marie Brennan, and Lew Zipin, eds. Re-positioning University Governance and Academic Work. Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, 2010.Google Scholar
  5. Brenner, Neil, Jamie Peck, and Nik Theodore. “Variegated Neoliberalization: Geographies, Modalities, Pathways.” Global Networks 10 (2010): 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bunda, Tracey, Lew Zipin and Marie Brennan. “Negotiating University ‘Equity’ from Indigenous Standpoints: A Shaky Bridge.” International Journal of Inclusive Education 16 (2012): 941–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell, Beatrix. End of Equality. London: Seagull Books, 2013.Google Scholar
  8. Connell, Raewyn. Confronting Equality: Gender, Knowledge and Global Change. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2011.Google Scholar
  9. Connell, Raewyn. “The Shores of the Southern Ocean: Steps Toward a World Sociology of Modernity, with Australian Examples.” In Worlds of Difference, edited by Said Arjomand, and Elisa P. Reis, 58–72. Los Angeles: Sage, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connell, Raewyn, Rebecca Pearse, Fran Collyer, João Maia, Robert Morrell. “Negotiating with the North: How Southern-Tier Intellectual Workers Deal with the Global Economy of Knowledge.” The Sociological Review 66, issue 1 (2017): 41–57. doi: Scholar
  11. Darder, Antonia. Freire and Education. London: Routledge, 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darder, Antonia. “Critical Leadership for Social Justice. Unveiling the Dirty Little Secret of Power and Privilege.” The Radical Imagine-Nation: The Journal of Public Pedagogy (2016): 41–73.Google Scholar
  13. De Sousa Santos, Boaventura. Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2014.Google Scholar
  14. Deem, Rosemary. “‘New Managerialism’ and Higher Education: The Management of Performances and Cultures in Universities in the United Kingdom.” International Studies in Sociology of Education 8 (1998): 47–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dodson, Katrina. “Introduction: Eco/Critical Entanglements.” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 19 (2011): 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder & Herder, 1970.Google Scholar
  17. Giroux, Henry A. “Can Democratic Education Survive in a Neoliberal Society?” In Crisis and Commonwealth: Marcuse, Marx, McLaren, edited by Charles Reitz, 137–52. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012.Google Scholar
  18. Göransson, Bo, and Claes Brundenius, eds. Universities in Transition. The Changing Role and Challenges for Academic Institutions. Springer: Ottawa, 2011.Google Scholar
  19. Hayes, Dennis, and Robin Wynyard, eds. The McDonaldization of Higher Education. London: Bergin & Garvery, 2002.Google Scholar
  20. Hassan, Robert. “The Worldly Space: The Digital University in Network Time.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 38 (2017): 72–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hey, Valerie. “Affective Asymmetries: Academics, Austerity and the Mis/Recognition of Emotion.” Contemporary Social Science 6 (2011): 207–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kalleberg, Arne L. “Flexible Firms and Labor Market Segmentation: Effects of Workplace Restructuring on Jobs and Workers.” Work and Occupations: An International Sociological Journal 30 (2003): 154–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lear, Jonathan. Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  24. Lee, Alison, and Catherine Manathunga. “Teaching as Performance.” In Re-Positioning University Governance and Academic Work, edited by Jill Blackmore, Marie Brennan, and Lew Zipin, 101–14. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010.Google Scholar
  25. MacDonald, Andrew. “Gender Equity Gap Persists in Higher Education, says Union.” NTEU, 12 August 2016. Accessed 12 January, 2017.
  26. Manathunga, Catherine. “Excavating the Role and Purpose of University Education in the Postmodern Age: Historical Insights from the South.” Policy Reviews in Higher Education 1, no. 1 (2017): 69–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Marginson, Simon. “Higher Education and Public Good.” Higher Education Quarterly 65, no. 4 (2011): 411–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. The White Possessive: Property, Power and Indigenous Sovereignty. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. “Virtuous Racial States: The Possessive Logic of Patriarchal White Sovereignty and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Griffith Law Review 20 (2011): 641–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nicoll, Fiona. “Beyond White Virtue: Reflections on the First Decade of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies in the Australian Academy.” Critical Race and Whiteness Studies 10 (2014): 1–19.Google Scholar
  31. Olssen, Mark, and Michael A. Peters. “Neoliberalism, Higher Education and the Knowledge Economy: From the Free Market to Knowledge Capitalism.” Journal of Education Policy 20 (2005): 313–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peck, Jamie, and Nik Theodore. “Reimagining Neoliberalism: Process Geographies of Wellbeing.” Social Anthropology 20 (2012): 177–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peters, Michael A. “The University in the Digital Epoch: Fast Knowledge in the Circuits of Cybernetic Capitalism.” In Universities in the Flux of Time, edited by Paul Gibbs, Oili-Helena Ylijoki, Carolina Guzmán-Valenzuela, and Ronald Barnett, 9–31. London: Routledge, 2015.Google Scholar
  34. Petersen, Eva B., and Bronwyn Davies. “In/Difference in the Neoliberalised University.” Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences 3 (2010): 92–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. “Polyvalent: Definition.” Accessed December 14, 2017.
  36. Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  37. Savransky, Martin. “A Decolonial Imagination: Sociology, Anthropology and The Politics of Reality.” Sociology 51 (2017): 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schwartz, Joseph M. “Resisting the Exploitation of Contingent Faculty Labor in the Neoliberal University: The Challenge of Building Solidarity between Tenured and Non-Tenured Faculty.” New Political Science 36 (2014): 504–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smyth, John. The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Swan, Elaine. “What are White People to Do? Listening, Challenging Ignorance, Generous Encounters and the ‘Not Yet’ as Diversity Research Praxis.” Gender, Work and Organization 24 (2017): 547–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Taylor, Yvette. The Entrepreneurial University – Engaging Publics, Intersecting Impacts. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.Google Scholar
  42. Thomas, Robyn, and Annette Davies. “Theorising the Micro-Politics of Resistance: New Public Management and Managerial Identities in the UK Public Services.” Organization Studies 26 (2008): 683–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1 (2012): 1–40.Google Scholar
  44. University of Sydney. Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. (Sydney: University of Sydney, 2018).Google Scholar
  45. Whatahoro, Hoani Te. The Lore of the Whare-Wānanga or Teachings of the Māori College of Religion, Cosmogony and History. Translated by S. Percy Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  46. Yancy, George. “Tarrying Together.” Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (2015): 26–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydoreAustralia
  2. 2.School of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations