Performativity: Competitiveness and Excellence

  • Filip Vostal
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy book series


A number of authors have recently criticized the transformation of academic institutions under neoliberal hegemony (e.g. Martins 2004; Lock and Lorenz 2007; De Angelis and Harvie 2009; Molesworth et al. [eds] 2010; Bailey and Freedman [eds] 2011; Vincent 2011; Docherty 2011; Holmwood [ed.] 2011c; Collini 2012; Lorenz 2012; McGettigan 2013). However, it should be noted that this type of critique can barely be restricted to the era of the knowledge economy and the post-Fordist regime of flexible accumulation. Classical social theorists, such as Max Weber (1946a) and Thorstein Veblen (2009), took into account the social dynamics of modernity and articulated a similar type of critique at the beginning of the 20th century in Germany and America. Drawing on this critical tradition, both in its classical and contemporary variants, this chapter focuses on the transformation of organizing rules and its effects on the realities of academic life. Specifically, it explores what Kenneth Burke (1969) called the ‘rhetoric of motives’ and argues that not only is rhetoric a crucial aspect of the way in which academia is understood in public discourse, but it can also carry the intention of accelerating desirable developments.


Knowledge Economy Total Quality Management Academic Life Ivory Tower Senior Academic 
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Copyright information

© Filip Vostal 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Filip Vostal
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of SciencesCzech Republic

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