City Research Online

Beyond individualism: the psychosocial life of the neoliberal university

Gill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2715-1867 (2018). Beyond individualism: the psychosocial life of the neoliberal university. In: Spooner, M. & McNinch, J. (Eds.), A Critical Guide to Higher Education & the Politics of Evidence: Resisting Colonialism, Neoliberalism, & Audit Culture. (pp. 193-216). Regina, Canada: University of Regina Press.


In this chapter I will draw together some of the themes of current research and writing on the university highlighting contemporary concerns about precarious employment, working hours, and surveillance and audit cultures. I want to raise some critical questions, returning to my original interests in the psychic life of neoliberalism – in particular its individualism. I will make three brief arguments: first arguing against individualization and calling for a collective struggle and resistance; secondly, calling for an expanded notion of precariousness that can speak to the multiplicity of ways in which precarity operates in the neoliberal University; and thirdly and relatedly discussing what I will call ‘difficult solidarities’ – particularly the need to work collectively across differences and to resist the pressures towards competition and division.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: The text may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that credit is given to the original author. To obtain permission for uses beyond those outlined in the Creative Commons license, please contact University of Regina Press at
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
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