Call for contributions: Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life

There is little doubt that science and knowledge production are presently undergoing dramatic and multi-layered transformations accompanied by new imperatives reflecting broader socio-economic and technological developments. The unprecedented proliferation of audit cultures preoccupied with digitally mediated measurement and quantification of scholarship and the consolidation of business-driven managerialism and governance modes are commonplace in the contemporary academy. Concurrently, the ever-increasing rate of institutional change, (the need for) intensification of scientific and scholarly production/communication and diverse academic processes seem to characterize the overall acceleration of academic life (i.e., in many disciplines the new maxim ‘patent and prosper’ (Schachman) supplements the traditional ‘publish or perish’). Quantification and metrics have emerged not only as navigating instruments paradoxically exacerbating the general dynamization of academic life but also as barely questioned proxies for scientific quality, career progression and job prospects, and as parameters redrawing what it means to be/work as a scholar nowadays (i.e., the shifting parameters and patterns of academic subjectivity). Metrification now seems to be an important interface between labour and surveillance within academic life, with manifold affective implications.

This workshop will inquire into the techniques of auditing and their attendant practices and effects and will also probe into scholars’ complicity in reproduction of such practices. It will consider processes of social acceleration within the academy and their implications for the management of everyday activity by those working within it. This will include:

• empirical and theoretical engagements with the acceleration of higher education
• the origins of metrification of higher education
• metrification as a form of social control
• the challenges of self-management posed by metrification and/or acceleration
• common strategic responses to these challenges
• the relationship between metrification and acceleration
• how metrification and acceleration relate to a broader social crisis

The workshop will take place in December 2015 in Prague. At present, we’re seeking to clarify the level of interest before determining the length of the event, fixing a date and inviting keynote speakers. Please send expressions of interest – a biographical note and brief description of interest in the topic – to mark@markcarrigan.net and filip.vostal@gmail.com – deadline January 31st 2015.

Venue

Hosted by Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic the event will take place in Vila Lanna, V Sadech 1, 160 00, Prague 6, Czech Republic (http://www.vila-lanna.cz/index.html)

Travel

Air: From Vaclav Havel Airport Prague take the bus no 119 to Dejvicka (which is the terminal stop). Vila Lanna is 5-6min walk from there.

Train: From Main Railway Station (Praha hlavni nadrazi, often abbreviated Praha hl. n), take metro line C (red), change at Muzeum for line A (green) and get off at the terminal stop Dejvicka. Vila Lanna is 5-6min walk from there.

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