Management fundamentalists

This blog recently commented on the reinstatement of Professor Thomas Docherty at Warwick. Now Professor Docherty has attacked the “managerial fundamentalism” speading through universities of which his suspension was a symptom. In an erudite article he points out how academic freedom is undermined by the fundamentalist manager’s insistence on a corporate line, which everyone should accept, be happy and certainly not rock any boats. Behind the bland covers of buzzwords and jargon, managers gradually suppress dissent using the implicit threat of job loss and disciplinary procedures, emphasised in every newsletter and email they send. The danger is not merely to people’s livelihoods, careers and sense of self-worth; before long the whole notion of academic freedom and the development of new ideas, finally democracy itself, is subjugated to the monolithic institution, to the love of Big Brother.
The presence of this management fervour at Kingston is clear to everyone. From the VC we get monthly sermons laden with threats and warnings, interspersed with disingenuous references to “great staff” whom he treats as anything but. Deans circulate emails with the same niggling menace. Ultimately this reactionary Government floored the accelerator pedal on the fundamentalisation of the universities, but it is disturbing to see how many willing participants there are to join the priesthood, dressed in their impervious and amoral hooded habits. There are some very dark warnings from history on where that can lead.

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