Alicja Rybkowska

Solidarity in the neo-liberal academia

In my presentation, I will address two questions crucial for thinking of universities as spaces where people and ideas can flourish: Firstly, how to strengthen academic solidarity in face of systematic precarity and continuous competition of scholars? And secondly, how to preserve a sense of community in an institution committed primarily to meritocracy?

The existing answers typically concentrate on twofold sources of academic solidarity: on resistance against common threats in the first case and on a realization of a common goal (i.e., the pursuit or passing of knowledge) in the second case. I argue that both answers are unsatisfactory, the first one being too particularised and the second one too broad to be able to foster a positive, consistent and autonomous course of action and induce sustainable changes. Instead of adopting the perspective of threats and efforts, I will discuss the philosophical framework for such action and change in contemporary academia.

Discussant: Jan Sowa