Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Barker, D.
Ninjas, zombies and nervous wrecks? Academics in the neoliberal world of physical education and sport pedagogy
(2017) Sport, Education and Society, 22 (1), pp. 87-104.

DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2016.1195360

Scholars have drawn some damning conclusions on the current state of the academy. They argue that neoliberal developments such as corporatization and privatization are undermining research and teaching quality, disrupting social relations and impacting negatively on the health and well-being of academic staff. Academia is, according to these scholars, coming to be peopled by hypercompetitive and combative ‘ninjas’, cynical and unmotivated ‘zombies’ and jaded and anxious ‘nervous wrecks’. Against this negative depiction of academics, the aim of this paper is to provide an illustration of an alternative identity that is formed and performed within the field of physical education and sport pedagogy (PESP). This illustration is achieved through the presentation and analysis of an account that shows some of the individuals inhabiting the world of PESP. The account is based on autoethnographic research and relies largely on reported speech and reflective notes to build a description of the author, in the early stages of mid-career, working with his colleagues to write a section of this paper. A Foucauldian framework that includes the concepts of governmentality and care of the self is employed to consider how the author becomes a neoliberal subject with some possibilities for resisting technologies of power. The paper is concluded with reflections on the process of resisting and the significance of local socio-political contexts as issues for further discussion. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Author Keywords
Academia; Autoethnography; Foucault; Neoliberal; Physical education; Sport pedagogy

Index Keywords
career, human, human experiment, identity, male, pedagogics, speech, sport

2 thoughts on “Ninjas, zombies and nervous wrecks? Academics in the neoliberal world of physical education and sport pedagogy (2017)

  1. Janet Abbey says:

    BIFO has clarified this. Capitalism injects into our bodies, minds, our very neural networks that inscription of competitiveness that has become an aspect of our cultural personality. For those who have escaped it they are the ones who can get left behind.

  2. Janet Abbey says:

    I think of all those years Foucault never thought he would get a good academic appointment and so he soldiered on alone obsessively doing what he felt driven to do.

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