Author:Marcela Linkova (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
This paper builds on an ethnographic study at a bioscience research institute in the Czech Republic during which time the institute underwent what I term ‘entrepreneurial alignment’. I will explore how machines, samples, clusters, papers, students and postdocs turned into assets in the process.
Paper long abstract:
The paper contributes to scholarship on the institutional change of academia and specifically of the academic biosciences (cf Vallas and Kleinman 2008). Drawing upon ethnographic research at a Czech bioscience research institute I explore changes that have emerged in the realm of academic knowledge making in the natural sciences over the past twenty years. To analytically conceptualize these ongoing changes I have developed the notion of the dynamic triangle to capture the triangular relationship between dynamic research organization, dynamic researcher subjectivities and dynamic research funding. These three dynamisms are inter-related and co-enact an increasingly entrepreneurial, self-sustaining governmentality regime, one revolving around competition through metrics-based research assessment.
Here I will focus specifically on the processes through which various actors—machines, clusters, samples, lab space, students and postdocs—turn into assets, assets that must be managed, that require schedules and maintenance rules, the monetary value of which must be established, and the use of which must be protected and guarded. With the sedimentation of metrics-based performance ranking at the institute, I will examine the ways in which the ensuing competition has gradually made claims in the entire institutional landscape and in the process turned the various human and non-human actors into human and non-human assets. In conclusion I will trace the epistemic effects of the entrepreneurial alignment.
Turning Things into Assets