Scholarship as Cultural Production in the Neoliberal University: Working Within and Against ‘Deliverables’

Mary Elizabeth Luka, Alison Harvey, Mél Hogan, Tamara Shepherd, Andrea Zeffiro


This article focuses on the idea of scholarly work as cultural production to help understand how the tensions of precarious, early-career academic employment are articulated on a day-to-day basis in the context of pressures to efficiently produce monetizable ‘deliverables.’ Using a political economy of communication framework and an iterative methodological approach, the authors mobilize examples drawn from a collaborative set of activities they undertook as part of a broader research group of emerging Canadian scholars working in different international contexts between 2012 and 2015. The research conversation began in academic roundtables in 2013, and was furthered through a content analysis of articles collected from scholarly and general interest blog posts, newsletters, and magazines published online from July 2012 to April 2014. In this article, the authors explore emerging themes and document pressures to conform to neoliberal practices within the corporatized university, as well as suggest pathways for dissent and reinvention of academic labour.


cultural production; neoliberal university; academic precarity; collaboration

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