Autoethnographies from the Neoliberal Academy : Rewilding, Writing and Resistance in Higher Education book cover
1st Edition

Autoethnographies from the Neoliberal Academy
Rewilding, Writing and Resistance in Higher Education

Edited By

Jess Moriarty

ISBN 9780815371120
Published November 25, 2019 by Routledge
246 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The shift to a neoliberal agenda has, for many academics, intensified the pressure and undermined the pleasure that their work can and does bring. This book contains stories from a range of autoethnographers seeking to challenge traditional academic discourse by providing personal and evocative writings that detail moments of profound transformation and change.

The book focuses on the experiences of one academic and the stories that her dialogues with other autoethnographers generated in response to the neoliberal shift in higher education. Chapters use a variety of genres to provide an innovative text that identifies strategies to challenge neoliberal governance. Autoethnography is as a methodology that can be used as form of resistance to this cultural shift by exploring effects on individual academic and personal lives. The stories are necessarily emotional, personal, important. It is hoped that they will promote other ways of navigating higher education that do not align with neoliberalism and instead, offer more holistic and human ways of being an academic.

This book highlights the impact of neoliberalism on academics’ freedom to teach and think freely. With 40% of academics in the UK considering other forms of employment, this book will be of interest to existing and future academics who want to survive the new environment and maintain their motivation and passion for academic life.

Table of Contents


List of Figures

Author Biographies


Introduction. All the Voices in My Head Jess Moriarty

Scene 1 Jess Moriarty

Chapter 1. The Mourning Stone and What Am I Grieving For? Jess Moriarty And Jane Fox

Chapter 2. I Found My Mum in a Box: Permission to Be Vulnerable in Higher Education Mike Hayler and Jess Moriarty

Chapter 3. Walking and Mapping Our Creative Recovery: An Interdisciplinary Method Christina Reading and Jess Moriarty

Chapter 4. Supporting Our Inner Compass: An Autoethnographic Cartography Christina Reading and Jess Moriarty

Scene 2. Jess Moriarty

Chapter 5. Reclaiming the Book of Spells: Storying the Self as a Form of Resistance Jess Moriarty And Vanessa Marr

Chapter 6. Rise Up: Women Sharing Personal and Shared Stories to Resist and Heal Jess Moriarty And Nicola Ashmore

Scene 3. Jess Moriarty

Chapter 7. Writing to Resist; Writing to Survive: Conversational Autoethnography, Mentoring, And the New Public Management Academy Trude Klevan, Bengt Karlsson And Alec Grant

Chapter 8. I Found My Mentor in A Toilet Jackie Goode And Jess Moriarty

Chapter 9. Insecurity Pre, Post and During the Ph.D.: An Autoethnography Of Mutual Support Jess Moriarty And Bryn Tales

Chapter 10. The Art of Hula: An Autoethnography Of Academic Life Jess Moriarty And Susan Diab

Scene 4. Jess Moriarty

Chapter 11. Reaching Forward and Back: Learning from Our Past as Pedagogy in Undergraduate Creative Writing Teaching Jess Moriarty And Ross Adamson

Conclusion: Redondo Jess Moriarty

Scene 5. Jess Moriarty

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Jess Moriarty is a principal lecturer at the University of Brighton, where she is course leader on the Creative Writing MA. Jess works on engaging students in community projects and using innovative and personal writing to challenge traditional academic discourse. She is focused on developing her students’ confidence with their creativity and writing.


Autoethnographies from the Neoliberal Academy is a supremely timely book on how to work in and against neoliberal universities from within the academy. Utilising radical dazzling story-telling techniques across a variety of media to problematise conventional academic discourses, this book points the way for future academic writing and knowledge as modally and spatially liberatory - more impactful and more relevant than conventional academic discourse - story-telling should be the twenty-first century’s version of the ‘Idea of the University’.

Dr Kate Aughterson, Principal Lecturer in Literature, University of Brighton