Signs of Dystopia and Demoralization in global academia: Reflections on the precarious and destructive effects of the colonization of the Lebenswelt
Purpose Our paper has been written in the style of a provocative essay. It starts with the observation that neo-liberalism has become the leading “policy doctrine” in Higher Education (HE) systems across the globe. This has put increasing systemic political and economic pressure on many universities which not only undermine but also “colonize” the Lebenswelt or “lifeworld” (Habermas, 1987) of academics. Design/methodology/approach Our essay draws on concrete empirical examples based on our subjective experiences within the higher educational sector and secondary sources. Findings We are going to highlight and illustrate how the increasing dominance of “neo-liberal science” principles (Lave et al., 2010) severely damage the quality of knowledge production and working conditions of ordinary academics in both national and international academic communities. Practical implications Our essay provides insights into the practical implications of the spread of “neo-liberal science” principles on the work and employment of academics. Originality/value We aim to trigger critical discussion concerning how emancipatory principles of teaching and research can be brought back into the Lebenswelt of academics in order to reverse some of the destructive effects to which our essay refers to.