Accepted Paper:

has pdf download The Neo-liberal Economisation of Austrian Universities: Conditions for Teaching Anthropology and Anthropological Research  


Christian Rogler

Paper short abstract:

IIn 2002 a new law was passed that was meant to render Austrian universities more efficient, effective, business-like and more responsive to economic interests. This paper explores some consequences of the neo-liberal reconceptualisation of universities for the teaching and research of anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

From the 1990ies onwards Austrian universities were submitted to global neo-liberal processes of transformation, due to legal preconditions made by the state as well as to decisions of their own administration/management. The university law of 2002 granted universities an ambivalent kind of "autonomy" tied with a new mode of state regulation through strategic target-setting ("Globalziele") and the introduction of new means of audit. New Public Management has become the new credo of the university reform with its economic understanding of quality and the move from centralised bureaucratic structures to decentralised, management oriented systems.

These developments are analysed based on the theoretical concepts of neo-liberal governmentality, managerialism and audit cultures. After presenting an outline of the current Austrian university reform the paper proceeds to explore consequences of this neo-liberal/managerial reconceptualisation of universities for the learning and teaching of anthropology at the University of Vienna. How do economic values enter anthropology as a university discipline? Where do tendencies towards a standardization of the "commodity" university studies and the "service" of teaching and research emerge? How are students, teachers and researchers being transformed into neo-liberal subjects? With the focus of my inquiries resting on the teaching of anthropology, the reorganisation of the institute's structure, a new curriculum based on the Bologna-architecture and more oriented towards the job market, precarious working contracts (for teachers as well as for researchers) and new forms of (teaching) audit can all be regarded as aspects of the neo-liberal economisation of our discipline.

Panel W034
Anthropologies of university reform: restructuring of higher education - anthropological perspectives