Foucault News

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

Fejes, A.
The confessing academic and living the present otherwise: Appraisal interviews and logbooks in academia
(2016) European Educational Research Journal, 15 (4), pp. 395-409.

DOI: 10.1177/1474904116636637

In this paper, drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, I argue that academics are enmeshed in power relations in which confession operates, both on and through academics. Drawing on Foucault’s genealogy of confession, I illustrate how academics are not only invited to reflect on performance, faults, temptations and desires in their work and private life, but as teachers they mobilise the same kind of technology in relation to students. These power relations are connected to wider changes in society, where discourses on New Public Management have become all pervasive in organising and governing public institutions. The examples of the use of appraisal interviews and logbooks as governing techniques illustrate how government currently operates through the freedom of the individual. The paper ends with a discussion on how books of life could introduce a different relation of the self to the self in academia, and thus provide opportunities to live the present otherwise. © The Author(s) 2016.

Author Keywords
academia; appraisal interviews; Confession; Foucault; higher education; logbooks

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