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Academic Life in the Measured University: Pleasures, Paradoxes and Politics

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Peseta, Tai (Editor)
Barrie, Simon (Editor)
McLean, Jan (Editor)
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While a life in academia is still one bestowed with enormous privilege and opportunity, on the inside, its cracks and fragility have been on display for some time. We see evidence of this in researchers bemoaning time spent applying for grants rather than doing research; teachers frustrated at the ways student feedback data are deployed to feed judgements about them; and doctoral students realising that they have little chance of securing full-time academic work. Yet in the public policy domain, the opposite appears true: academics left to their own devices in their elite ivory towers, rarely ever do enough.

This collection addresses the fact that academic life deserves to be rigorously researched. Its emphasis on the measured university traces how academic life had ceded itself to the logics of perverse measures, and raises questions about whether the contemporary university may well have become too measured to adequately counter the political times now upon us. The contributors explore the ways in which measurement inhabits paradoxical positions in these spaces. It sketches the contours and consequences of mismeasurement, including the personal costs to academic staff. It examines our desires and fumbled efforts at institutional transformation, and it puts on display our own ethical conduct. The collection concludes with a call to chart a course for a revitalized moral economy of academic labour.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Higher Education Research & Development.

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