Perpetuating academic capitalism and maintaining gender orders through career practices in STEM in universities

Clare O’ Hagan*, Pat O’Connor, Eva Sophia Myers, Liv Baisner, Georgi Apostolov, Irina Topuzova, Gulsun Saglamer, Mine G. Tan, Hülya Çağlayan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Academic capitalism is an outcome of the interplay between neoliberalism, globalisation, markets and universities. Universities have embraced the commercialisation of knowledge, technology transfer and research funding as well as introducing performance and audit practices. Academic capitalism has become internalised as a regulatory mechanism by academics who attempt to accumulate academic capital. Universities are traditionally gendered organisations, reflecting the societal gender order. Despite fears regarding the feminisation of the academy, the embrace of academic capitalism is contributing to its re-masculinisation and exercises an incidental gender effect. Practicing is the means by which the gender order is constituted at work. Three practices in which academics engage are examined as exemplars of the way academics increase their academic capital stock in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) faculties in four European universities, in Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland and Turkey. These practices tend to be more achievable and likely to be engaged in by men, thus, career practices are the mechanism through which the gender effect of academic capitalism is achieved, academic capitalism perpetuated and the gender order maintained in STEM in academia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)205-225
Publication statusPublished - 3. Apr 2019


  • Academic capitalism
  • career practices
  • gender effect
  • gender order
  • STEM
  • universities

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