ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

This paper situates sexual harassment and violence in the neoliberal university. Using data from a ‘composite ethnography’ representing twelve years of research, I argue that institutional inaction on these issues reflects how they are ‘reckoned up’ in the context of gender and other structures. The impact of disclosure is projected in market terms: this produces institutional airbrushing which protects both the institution and those (usually privileged men) whose welfare is bound up with its success. Staff and students are differentiated by power/value relations, which interact with gender and intersecting categories. Survivors are often left with few alternatives to speaking out in the ‘outrage economy’ of the corporate media: however, this can support institutional airbrushing and bolster punitive technologies. I propose the method of Grounded Action Inquiry, implemented with attention to Lorde’s work on anger, as a parrhesiastic practice of ‘speaking in’ to the neoliberal institution.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... Hence, sexual harassment goes undebated not solely because individuals fail to recognise it but because, as Hanson and Richards (2017) note, these absences are situated and reproduced within the structures of the academy, which is itself driven by a neoliberal machoistic culture. This is most acutely illustrated by the normalisation of patriarchal power relations within higher education and the 'institutional airbrushing' which glosses over and conceals sexual harassment and assault (Phipps 2020). Indeed, despite important and bold interventions by feminist methodologists, a white androcentric perspective nevertheless continues to shape the epistemological foundations of research (Berry et al., 2017;Hanson and Richards 2017) and this in turn leads to the construction of ideological norms about what research, and especially good quality social research, looks like. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines how sexual harassment is often mediated through the making of imagined complicities that are constructed to imply that an alliance/compliance underpins the relationship and 'justifies' the harassment. It is concerned with how the making and doing of intimacies engages with broader hierarchical structures of power, including structures of inequality. Fieldwork is viewed as a site in which the politics of intimacy exposes normative expectations and structures of inequality. Specifically, the discussion exposes how processes of Othering are mobilised by participants as a means to cultivate imagined complicities but expose discrimination. The paper calls for a reappraisal of the focus placed on building rapport and/or a sense of familiarity in qualitative research to take account of multiple forms of intimacies and risks they can entail. This is increasingly prescient in light of the renewed emphasis on participatory methods and co-production which entail closer working relationships.
Article
Sexual harassment in the workplace, including the university, is not a behaviour perceived to be perpetrated only by males. In this article contrapower sexual harassment was investigated to find out whether female students harassed male lecturers at universities, and how harassment manifests with a view to devising measures to mitigate such harassment incidences. A qualitative case study research design was employed to explore the thoughts and experiences of participants at two public universities in Zimbabwe. Purposive sampling was employed in the identification and selection of participants with knowledge and experience of subjecting male lecturers to contrapower sexual harassment. Data were gathered through audio-taped face to face in-depth interviews with female undergraduates using a digital voice recorder. As data were collected through interviews, an iterative process was done. The study verified the existence of contrapower sexual harassment of male lecturers by female students. The study found that the measures that can be taken to mitigate contrapower harassment should include the explicit identification of all behaviours that constitute harassment and their consequences in university codes of conduct and policies. Universities should build a culture of respect in which students and lecturers interact without fear of harassment from either party. Universities need to ensure that lecturers are informed of the available resources should they have disturbing experiences pertaining to harassment from a student.
Article
High rates of gender violence in South Africa, including those in higher education institutions, have prompted considerable research into understanding its causes. Studies focusing on gender and sexual risk at universities have found alcohol to be a significant contributor to gender violence. In this study, I analyse alcohol-related gender violence against female drinkers from the perspectives of male students. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with ten undergraduate male students at a university residence. Findings reveal that alcohol is seen as a masculine privilege. Male students explain that men use alcohol to give them the courage to enact hegemonic heterosexual masculinities. While they see alcohol as a tool to enhance men's capacity to control women, they simultaneously attribute blame to alcohol for men's loss of control over their behaviour. Alcohol is also exploited as currency to coerce women into submission to sexual favours. When male students blame alcohol for any deviant behaviour, men's culpability in the violation of female students remains hidden. Violence prevention efforts in educational contexts must address the ways in which alcohol shapes students' experience of gender, sexuality and violence.
Chapter
Full-text available
A violência contra as mulheres é fenômeno comum às universidades ao redor do mundo. Reflete as discriminações contra as mulheres presentes em toda a sociedade, resultantes da estrutura histórica de poder desigual entre os gêneros. O maior desafio ao enfrentamento à violência de gênero em universidades é a continuidade de práticas e comportamentos que perpetuam estigmas e a tolerância frente às violências contra mulheres. O artigo examina o tema da violência de gênero nas universidades, mediante uma abordagem internacional, com base em pesquisas bibliográfica e documental. O propósito é demonstrar que a violência de gênero nas universidades é questão fundamental da globalização contemporânea e que, independentemente das disparidades socioeconômicas, os diferentes países analisados apresentam muito mais similaridades do que diferenças no que tange às características desse tipo de violência.
Book
Full-text available
Informationen und Handlungsperspektiven zur Prävention und zum Umgang mit sexualisierter Diskriminierung und Gewalt an Hochschulen stehen im Mittelpunkt der Handreichung. In den Beiträgen der Studie Nr. 37 des Netzwerks Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung NRW werden theoretische Perspektiven, empirische Bestandsaufnahmen, rechtliche Kontexte und praxisorientierte Handlungsansätze vorgestellt.
Chapter
Full-text available
Este capítulo traz uma revisão sistemática de artigos científicos nacionais e internacionais das bases Scielo e Web of Science relacionados à temática da violência de gênero na universidade. Posteriormente, com base na Metodologia Comunicativa, as informações foram submetidas à análise quanto a sua dimensão excludente e sua dimensão transformadora na busca de apontar caminhos e conhecimentos já produzidos para a transformação das universidades brasileiras. Para além dos resultados, também há indicação de uma proposta para a prevenção e superação desta temática com base em atuações consideradas exitosas em outras universidades. This chapter brings a systematic review of national and international scientific articles from Scielo and Web of Science bases related to the theme of gender violence at university. Subsequently, based on the Communicative Methodology, the information was subjected to analysis as to its exclusionary dimension and its transformative dimension, in search of paths and knowledge pointed already produced for the transformation of Brazilian universities. In addition to the results, there is also an indication of a prevention and overcoming of this theme based on successful actions in universities.
Chapter
Full-text available
O presente trabalho tem como objetivo, por meio de método reconstrutivo interdisciplinar, apresentar e dar visibilidade às experiências do Coletivo Marielle Franco – Mulheres UFJF, de combate à violência de gênero no ambiente universitário. Trata-se de tema que vem mobilizando esforços de discentes, docentes, demais trabalhadoras da Universidade e movimentos feministas, trazendo à tona a necessidade de amplificar as discussões. Nesse sentido, propomos contextualizar como, por que e por quem esse debate tem se realizado na Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, com foco em algumas das ações do Coletivo, que atua em várias frentes. Entre as iniciativas, destacaremos: a atuação no acolhimento e atenção às vítimas de assédio moral e sexual, o acompanhamento de procedimentos e respostas institucionais, o projeto de extensão do Coletivo e os resultados da pesquisa de percepção realizada com estudantes de graduação da UFJF. A partir da construção de um campo teórico sobre os estudos de gênero e sexualidade, problematiza-se o ambiente universitário como espaço de relações de poder, propício às mais diversas violências de gênero.
Article
This paper describes challenges to changing the culture around yellow zone sexual harassment in the higher education workplace. The yellow zone comprises harassment that is often undetected or misunderstood but nonetheless is harmful. Based on a random sample, we surveyed 4554 staff and faculty at a large Midwestern university after they completed a mandatory online training module, assessing perceptions of sexual harassment, reactions to the training, and workplace personal experiences. Findings are that a majority of respondents know where to report incidents and that the training improved knowledge about sexual and gender-based harassment. However, almost half reported problematic workplace experiences.
Article
Full-text available
Comment piece in Feminist Theory, about the contemporary backlash against progressive politics and universities, and what this means for those of us working on issues of harassment and violence.
Book
Undoing democracy : neoliberalism's remaking of state and subject -- Foucault's birth of biopolitics lectures : the distinctiveness of neoliberal rationality -- Revising Foucault : homo politicus and homo oeconomicus -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality I : governance, benchmarks and best practices -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality II : law and legal reason -- Disseminating neoliberal rationality III : higher education and the abandonment of citizenship -- Losing bare democracy and the inversion of freedom into sacrifice.
Article
This article considers Foucault's analysis of ordoliberal and neoliberal governmental reason and its reorganization of social relations around a notion of enterprise. I focus on the particular idea that the generalization of the enterprise form to social relations was conceptualized in such exhaustive terms that it encompassed subjectivity itself. Self as enterprise highlights, 'inter alia', dynamics of control in neoliberal regimes which operate through the organized proliferation of individual difference in an economized matrix. It also throws into question conceptions of individual autonomy that underpin much political thought and upon which ideas about political resistance are based. Self as enterprise also problematizes the viability of Foucault's later work on ethics of the self as a practice of resistance. I go on to argue that Foucault's discussion of an unresolved clash in civil society between monarchical and governmental power, between law and norm, offers an elliptical but more promising account of opposition to normalizing biopower.
Book
Neoliberalism--the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action--has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. Through critical engagement with this history, he constructs a framework, not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.
Book
"Following the financial crises in 2007, we have seen the intensification of neoliberal policies in education, with radical and potentially irrevocable shifts in the educational landscape, promoted under the auspices of ‘austerity’. This book highlights the central features of neoliberal education policies, their origins, recent developments and also their inherent weaknesses and flaws. It provides insights into the day to day realities and negative impacts of recent policies on the professional practice and work of educators, demonstrating how the changing conditions have led to de-professionalisation, alienation and a loss of professional autonomy and identity. The book also provides a set of accounts that detail the new realities emerging as a result of ‘austerity’ policies and questions the degree to which austerity has actually been developed as an ideological ‘cover story’ for the further monetisation and privatisation of public services. The various chapters challenge the common assumption that the neoliberal project is a monolithic orthodoxy by highlighting its complexities, variations and contradictions in the ways policies are refracted through action and practice in different contexts. The book also challenges the common assumption that there are no viable alternatives to neoliberal education policies, and does so by presenting a range of different examples, theoretical perspectives, discourses and alternative practices. It is argued that such alternatives not only highlight the range of different approaches, choices and possibilities but also provide the seedbed for a reimagined educational future. The authors offer a range of conceptual and theoretical insights and analyses that highlight the weaknesses and limitations inherent within the neoliberal education project and also illustrate the dangers in following the prevailing hegemonic discourse and trajectories. It is postulated that alternative educational approaches warrant greater and urgent attention because history suggests that rather than having weathered the recent economic crisis, we may well be witnessing the long tail of decline for the neoliberal project. This book will be useful for educators, researchers, students and policy makers interested in the detrimental effects of neoliberal education, the range of viable alternatives, and the routes to resistance and ways of reimagining alternative educational futures."
Chapter
The term "lad culture," referring to dominant attitudes and behaviours in UK University contexts, will be examined with a view to rejecting the term. While the links between excessive alcohol consumption, sexual violence and bullying/intimidation can be understood with relation to gender norms, the term will be troubled. It is argued that the term "lad culture" implies similarity between disparate identities/ experiences/behaviours, which ignores the continuum of behaviours and attitudes subsumed under the definition. As a result, extremely harmful behaviours are trivialised both by actors and those facing such behaviours. Qualitative findings from 8 semi-structured interviews with University campaign stakeholders are presented, recommending that support for anti-"lad culture" campaigns should be improved, insinuating that the ambiguous nature of the term "lad culture" has repercussions not only for self-defined "lads" but for those attempting to tackle associated behaviours.