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Accepted Presentation:

When Work Makes You Sick – Dealing with Emotional Distress in Highly Hierarchical and Precarious University Structures  
Julia Nina Baumann (Inst. für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, Freie Universität Berlin)

Presentation short abstract:

I will analyse how an academic culture of subordinated feelings lead to emotional distress and the institutional practice of marginalizing this distress within a neoliberal idea of profit optimization. I will finally present a peer-supported, supervised approach as a possibility of change.

Presentation long abstract:

In my talk, I like to present my analysis of an academic culture of subordinated feelings, that lead to an institutional practice of first marginalizing and then treating the emotional distress of researchers within a neoliberal idea of profit optimization. Already in recent years, various studies show an extreme mental stress load and high amount of emotional work in academic cultures and therefore an increased risk of mental illness for academics. Using autoethnographic vignettes as well as data from my ethnographic fieldwork, I would like to present the often-distressing conditions (before and after the pandemic) in which researchers work currently in German-speaking environments. The focus of my input is on how academics personally and academic institutions in general deal with these work-related emotional burdens and mental health issues. In doing so, the underlying notions of a mentally healthy work in academia will be deconstructed and different attributions, connotations, negotiations, and power imbalances will be revealed. Finally, I would like to present a peer-supported, supervised approach (in the sense of the triangulation: help for self-help/education - peer responsibility - institutional care and support) as a promising option for a future university culture.

Lightning panel LP1b
What do we hope for a university of tomorrow? Transforming academia along with feminist, decolonial, anti-racist and engaged approaches II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -