Collegiality as attunement to academic worlds – engagement and impact beyond managerial metrics

Year: 2018

Author: Kligyte, Giedre

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Much of higher education (HE) research tends to centre on the antagonism between the traditional academic and new managerial cultures. In neoliberal universities where individualism and competition are promoted as indisputable virtues, collegiality emerges as a surprisingly persistent feature of contemporary imaginaries about academic work (Spiller 2010). In this paper I examine collegiality practices through interviews with individuals situated in various sites of academic practice and offer a reading of academic relations, transcending the typical portrayal of a clash between managerial and academic values. I analyse academics’ accounts of their practices drawing on aspects of Deleuze and Guattari’s (1988) theorizing and non-representational theory (Thrift, 2008) to conceptualise collegiality as pre-subjective relatedness and interconnectedness that is conducive to academic work within the academy and beyond. In doing this, I depart from viewing universities fixed singular systems with rigid structures, rules and boundaries, and examine them as overlapping multiplicity of ‘worlds for’ (Umwelt) that entwine various subjects in academic endeavor. I explore how collegiality enables attunements within and between the multiplicity of academic worlds, including instances where these worlds remain opaque and inattentive. In particular, I explore accounts of collegiality practices that highlight a feeling of direction and flow, but also loyalty and commitment arising from engagement, a sense of togetherness and responsibility, well beyond the boundaries of the academy. I explore the role collegiality plays in achieving such ‘moments of sudden rightness in an ultimately bewildering world’ (Thrift, 2008:52) and propose a new reading of collegiality understood as attunement or resonance with academic contexts, subjectivities and worlds. This new reading of the role of collegiality plays in academic work allows us to imagine engagement and impact of academic relations well-beyond managerial metrics.