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Propuesta educativa

versão On-line ISSN 1995-7785


POLSTER, Claire. Vicious Circle: Academic Insecurity and Privatization in Western Universities. Propuesta educativa (Online) [online]. 2021, n.55, pp.87-102. ISSN 1995-7785.

The article explores how social relations among academics are reorganized as a consequence of their experiences of and responses to insecurity, and analyzes the implications. The main argument is that academics' actions, as opposed to their intentions and interests, reinforce and intensify the interpersonal and structural conditions that perpetuate their insecurity as a vicious cycle. I first develop the characteristics of academics' insecurity and the institutional conditions that give rise to it. I then analyze how academics, in response to that insecurity, change the focus of their work, their colleagues, the discipline(s), the institution, or the profession to protect and achieve their interests. I then explain how academics' actions entrench and reinforce the very conditions that sustain their insecurity. The analysis also demonstrates that academic insecurity is an integral part of privatization, a concept that is employed in two ways. On the one hand, privatization refers to a process of structural transformation whereby universities are aligned with and subjugated to market methods and values. On the other hand, privatization implies a process of interpersonal transformation whereby academics gradually begin to prioritize private interests over collective interests. Academic insecurity not only stems from and feeds both types of privatization, but the two are linked and perpetuate each other.

Palavras-chave : Academic work; Academic Insecurity; Privatization; University Transformation.

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