Academic Dignity: Countering the Emotional Experience of Academia



A significant emerging body of research has articulated and critiqued the conditions and impacts of neoliberalism on academic institutions, particularly how the rise of the 'marketized' university has shifted the way in which academics are expected to engage in research and teaching. We highlight some of the key concepts evident in the research as they pertain to the emotional responses of academics to the ideological shift that has taken place within the academy. We focus on their perspectives in order to validate the emotional and lived experiences of academics and repudiate the neoliberal conceptualization of the academic as homo economicus. Referencing our ongoing research in Canadian universities as well as extant literature, we overview work on workplace dignity, a countervailing notion that mobilizes positive emotional concepts. Using this as a springboard, we finally begin to articulate an academic dignity-centered approach. By ‘academics’, we mean all those engaged in academic work within the academy, from tenured faculty to research specialists and contracted instructors.


Author Biographies

Sandra G. Kouritzin, University of Manitoba

Dr. Sandra Kouritzin is Professor of Education at the University of Manitoba. She is principal investigator on the SSHRC Insight Grant on which this manuscript is based.

Erica Kolomic, University of Manitoba

Erica Kolomic is studying Japanese at the language institute at Kyoto University. Recently graduated with her M.Ed in curriculum, teaching and learning, she is living and working in Japan.

Taylor Ellis, University of Manitoba

Taylor Ellis is a Ph.D candidate in Education at the University of Manitoba, and is an RA on the SSHRC Insight Grant that funded this research.

Satoru Nakagawa, University of Manitoba

Dr. Satoru Nakagawa is an instructor at the University of Manitoba in Asian Studies and in Education at the University of Winnipeg.