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'We do not have to be vicious, competitive, or managerial'

Emejulu, A. & Littler, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-8496-6192 (2019). 'We do not have to be vicious, competitive, or managerial'. Soundings, 73(73), pp. 73-86. doi: 10.3898/soun.73.06.2019


Akwugo Emejulu discusses changes to 'collective public politics' – including the third sector, activism, community development and political and union campaigning – alongside Black feminist activism, her own intellectual development, and institutional racism at British universities. In these right-wing times, she argues 'we need people in lot of different kinds of spaces and places to take back power'. She outlines the consequences of the defeat of the left since the 1980s and the rise of neoliberal technocratic managerialism in the third sector: how it put already-vulnerable people further at risk and destabilised the political power of NGOS. More recently there has been a surge of interest in political education and in campaigning on 'the bigger political picture' amongst community activists. We need a far more expansive conception of 'activism': for more attention to be given to its role in everyday life, its intersectionality and its sustainability. To do this, and to foreground the diverse contributions of women of colour activists, is to address and redress the 'raceless discussions of the white left'. The interview concludes by considering academia in a neoliberal climate. 'We do not have to be vicious, competitive, or managerial', she says: all academics need to behave well at every level to change institutional racism.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: ©Soundings, 2019.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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