Governmentality and Academic Work: Shaping the Hearts and Minds of Academic Workers


  • Bronwyn Davies
  • Peter Bansel


Over the last twenty years the liberal university has increasingly been transformed into the neoliberal or audit university. Academics are re-constituted within the audit university as an enterprising collective of individuals working within an enterprise model of the academy. This
paper is about the ways in which academic subjects are re-shaped and re-shape themselves, singly and collectively, through the technologies of management and self management, including the technology of audit. We attempt here to generate a perspective that dismantles the belief in the inevitability of the enterprise model of the university and its power to shape the academics within it.

Author Biographies

Bronwyn Davies

Bronwyn Davies is a professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne and works as an independent scholar. She is well known for her work on gender, literacy, children’s play, classroom research and her writing on poststructuralist theory. More recently she has been working on a critique of neoliberalism as it impacts on subjectivities at work and at school,
the relations between pedagogy and place, and a Deleuzian approach to collaborative writing. Details of her books and other publications can be found at


Peter Bansel

Peter Bansel is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Educational Research at the University of Western Sydney. His research interests include: globalisation and governmentality; labour markets, work and worker subjectivities; universities, academic work and academic subjectivities; and biography, experience, memory and practices of narration.