Danish university reform and its transformable academic subjectivities
‘The modernizing machine’ codes individual bodies, things and symbols with images from New Public Management, neoliberal and Knowledge Economy discourses. Drawing on Deleuze & Guattari’s concept of machines, this article explores how ‘the modernizing machine’ produces neo-liberal modernization of the public sector. Taking its point of departure in Danish university reform, the article explores how the university is transformed by this desiring-producing machine. ‘The modernizing machine’ wrestles with the so-called ‘democratic-Humboldtian machine’. The University Act of 2003 and the host of reforms before and after this law are productions of those struggles that change what it means to work as an academic subject at a university. This is staged through a host of new social technologies such as development contracts, appraisal interviews, individual performance reviews and so forth. Individual bodies and minds simultaneously produce academic subjectivities by plugging into these transformative machinic forces and are produced as they are traversed by them. What is experienced as stressful closures vis-à-vis new opportunities depends to a great extent upon how these producing/produced individual nodes respond to particular configurations of machinic forces in particular university, faculty and department contexts. Empirically, the article is based ethnographic field work (interviews, observations and written documents) concerning a humanities department and a health and sciences department.
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 2013, Vol 26, Issue 9, p. 1153-1168