Re-embodying academia: Gender, embodiment and higher education


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This special issue seeks to explore the multifaceted experiences of gendered bodies in academia, against the backdrop of the growing trends of neoliberalization and marketization of Higher Education. It is well-documented that the forces of neoliberalism and marketization have reshaped the ethos and operational frameworks of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) globally, creating a culture that prioritizes competitiveness, efficiency, and follows market values and paradigms (Ball, 2012; Halligan, 2010; Parker, 2012; Parker et al., 2021; Politt, 2009). While these transformations are far-reaching, impacting all members of the academic community, their effects are distinctly gendered. Women and other minorities in academia find themselves navigating a complex terrain where neoliberal paradigms intersect with embedded gender inequities, presenting a unique set of barriers, biases, stereotypes, and expectations towards women (Burkinshaw, 2015; Fox et al., 2017; Lipton, 2020; O'Keefe & Courtois, 2019). This special issue aims to provide a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of how these neoliberal and marketized environments specifically affect gendered embodiment in academia, influencing the roles, career trajectories, well-being, and overall (academic) life of academics outside of the masculine hegemonic order (Acker & Armenti, 2004; Burkinshaw, 2015; Górska, 2023; Fotaki, 2013; Fox et al., 2017; Hengel, 2017; Lund & Tienari, 2018; Spoon et al., 2023; Trevino et al., 2017). By exploring this interplay, the issue aims to contribute to broader discussions within the fields of gender studies, higher education, and management research, offering insights that are both timely and essential for understanding contemporary academic challenges. 

Scope and Aims: 

Our goal is to provide a platform for critical examination of the nuanced experiences of gendered bodies within academic settings, emphasizing the impact of neoliberal and market-driven strategies on their presence and roles in higher education. This special issue is to highlight the interplay between gender, embodiment, gendered implications of increased pressures around productivity, the commodification of education, and the intensification of work, which are emblematic of neoliberal transformations in HEIs. By unravelling the dynamics of these conflicting aspects, we aim to provide a richer, more detailed picture of the gendered landscape of contemporary academia, contributing valuable knowledge to the ongoing discourse in gender studies and higher education. 

Impact and Contribution: 

This special issue is to make significant contributions to knowledge concerning academia and its wider context, offering original perspectives on the interplay between gender, embodiment, and neoliberalism in Higher Education. It aims to serve as an inspiration for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners striving to navigate the gendered challenges within this context, ultimately guiding efforts to create more inclusive and equitable academic environments and to challenge the prevailing norms of gendered landscape of higher education. 

Topics for the Special Issue: 

We invite scholars to contribute empirical research, theoretical analyses, and insightful commentaries that address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • The impact of neoliberal policies on gender equity in academia. 
  • The interplay between marketization and gender dynamics in higher education. 
  • Career development and progression of women and other minorities in neoliberal academic contexts.
  • Gendered experiences of academic performance metrics and evaluation practices. 
  • Different genders, different bodies in the neoliberal academic workplace. 
  • Strategies and interventions to support gender equity and genuine diversity in marketized higher education environments. 
  • Ecofeminism: Perspectives in neoliberal academia 
  • Technofeminism: Gender and technology in academia 
  • Embodied Experiences and Space in academia 
  • Beyond the binary norm: Gender diversity in neoliberal academia 
  • Intersectionality of gender, race and class in neoliberal academia 
  • Feminist solidarity and collective resistance 
  • Postcolonial Feminist Perspectives on Neoliberal Education 

Contributors may suggest a specific subject of their interest, and we will assess how it aligns with the aims of the planned Special Issue.

Paper Development Workshop

Our Guest Editors will be hosting a paper development workshop for this special issue on 17th June 2024. Participants will receive hands-on advice and insights to enhance their submissions, engage in discussions that refine their ideas, and understand how to frame their research in the context of the special issue’s themes. We encourage any authors interested in submitting a paper to the special issue to get involved with the PDW if possible. For more information and to sign up, please visit the PDW webpage here.

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 15/09/2024


Acker, Sandra, & Armenti, Carmen. (2004). Sleepless in academia. Gender & Education, 16(1), 3-24. 
Ball, Stephen J. (2012). Performativity, commodification and commitment: An I-spy guide to the neoliberal university. British Journal of Educational Studies, 60(1), 17-28. 
Burkinshaw, Paula. (2015). Higher education, leadership and women vice chancellors. Fitting into communities of practice of masculinities. London: Palgrave.
Fotaki, Marianna. (2013). No woman is like a man (in academia): The masculine symbolic order and the unwanted female body. Organization Studies, 34(9), 1251-1275.
Fotaki, Marianna. (2013). No woman is like a man (in academia): The masculine symbolic order and the unwanted female body. Organization Studies, 34(9), 1251-1275.
Górska, Anna. (2023). Gender and Academic Career Development in Central and Eastern Europe New York: Routledge.
Halligan, John. (2010). The Australian public service: New agendas and reform. Canberra: ANU EPress.
Hengel, Erin. (2017). Publishing while female. Are women held to higher standards? Evidence from peer review. Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1753. Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.  
Lipton, Briony. (2020). Academic Women in Neoliberal Times. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lund, Rebecca, & Tienari, Janne. (2018). Passion, care, and eros in the gendered neoliberal university. Organization, 26(2), 135050841880528.
Parker, Lee D. (2012). Qualitative management accounting research: Assessing deliverables and relevance. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 23(1), 54-70. 
Parker, Lee D., Martin-Serdesai, Ann, & Guthrie, James. (2021). The commercialized Australia public university: an accountingized transition. Financial Accounting and Management, 39(1), 125-150. 
Spoon, Katie, LaBerge, Nicholas, Wapman, Hunter, Zhang, Sam, Morgan, Allison G., Galesic, Mirta, Fosdick, Bailey K., Larremore, Daniel B., & Clauset, Aaron. (2023). Gender and retention patterns among U.S. faculty. Science Advances, 9(42), 1-12, 
Trevino, Len K., Balkin, David B., & Gomez-Mejia, Luis R. (2017). How “doing gender” leads to gender imbalances in the higher ranks in colleges of business [and how to “undo gender”]. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 16(3), 439-453.