Responsibilisation and leadership in the neoliberal university: a New Zealand perspective (2017)

Amsler, M., Shore, C.
Responsibilisation and leadership in the neoliberal university: a New Zealand perspective
(2017) Discourse, 38 (1), pp. 123-137.

DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1104857

We examine how discourses of leadership and responsibilisation are used in contemporary universities to deepen neoliberal administration and further the corporate university’s business plan by restructuring and redescribing academic work. Strategically, responsibilisation discourse, promoted as ‘distributed leadership’, is a technology of indirect management. Responsibilisation language stipulates ‘expectations’ for workers and integrates academic work (teaching, learning, research, service) into an administered regime recognising and rewarding successful conduct (‘leadership’) in the university. We intervene in this responsibilisation discourse by critically analysing texts about distributed leadership in one New Zealand university context. Linking Foucault’s analysis of earlier forms of liberal governmentality with critical discourse analysis, we explore how administrative structures, power relations, and regulating management discourse seek to reshape employee behaviour in the neoliberalised, post-democratic university. We present a case study of one university’s ‘Leadership Framework’, which exemplifies a new form of ‘post-neoliberal governmentality’ in higher education, embedding self-governance within increasingly instrumentalising centralisation. © 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Author Keywords
academic leadership; Critical discourse analysis; entrepreneurship in higher education; governmentality; higher education; New Zealand universities; responsibilisation

Education Journal articles

The Church, Authority, and Foucault. Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom (2017)

ogdenSteven G. Ogden, The Church, Authority, and Foucault. Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom, Routledge, 2017

The Church, Authority, and Foucault addresses the problem of the Church’s enmeshment with sovereign power, which can lead to marginalization. Breaking new ground, Ogden uses Foucault’s approach to power and knowledge to interpret the church leader’s significance as the guardian of knowledge. This can become privileged knowledge, under the spell of sovereign power, and with the complicity of clergy and laity in search of sovereigns. Inevitably, such a culture leads to a sense of entitlement for leaders and conformity for followers. All in the name of obedience.

The Church needs to change in order to fulfil its vocation. Instead of a monarchy, what about Church as an open space of freedom? This book, then, is a theological enterprise which cultivates practices of freedom for the sake of the other. This involves thinking differently by exploring catalysts for change, which include critique, space, imagination, and wisdom. In the process, Ogden uses a range of sources, analysing discourse, gossip, ritual, territory, masculinity, and pastoral power. In all, the work of Michel Foucault sets the tone for a fresh ecclesiological critique that will appeal to theologians and clergy alike.

Table of Contents

1 The Church and the problem of sovereign power

2 Under Foucault’s gaze: the subject, freedom, and the power-knowledge concept

3 The concept of authority: guardians, gossip, and the sovereign exception

4 The spell of monarchy and the sacralization of obedience

5 The Church as an open space of freedom

6 New spaces and the imagination

7 Bearing the lightning of possible storms: critique, space, imagination, wisdom

Steven Ogden is an adjunct lecturer in theology, and a member of the Center for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT), with Charles Sturt University Australia. He is also the Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Fortitude Valley. Previously, Steven has been the Principal of St Francis Theological College Brisbane, and the Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral Adelaide.