Neoliberalisation and ‘Lad Cultures’ in Higher Education

From Sociology

This article links HE neoliberalisation and ‘lad cultures’, drawing on interviews and focus groups with women students. It is argued that retro-sexist ‘laddish’ forms of masculine competitiveness and misogyny have been reshaped by neoliberal rationalities to become modes of consumerist sexualised audit. This analysis is based on qualitative research conducted in 2013, which amassed evidence from 40 women students in England and Scotland. Authors content that neoliberal values are reshaping the retro-sexist behaviours which have been identified in student social and sexual life.

 

Abstract

This article links HE neoliberalisation and ‘lad cultures’, drawing on interviews and focus groups with women students. We argue that retro-sexist ‘laddish’ forms of masculine competitiveness and misogyny have been reshaped by neoliberal rationalities to become modes of consumerist sexualised audit. We also suggest that neoliberal frameworks scaffold an individualistic and adversarial culture amongst young people that interacts with perceived threats to men’s privilege and intensifies attempts to put women in their place through misogyny and sexual harassment. Furthermore, ‘lad cultures’, sexism and sexual harassment in higher education may be rendered invisible by institutions to preserve marketability in a neoliberal context. In response, we ask if we might foster dialogue and partnership between feminist and anti-marketisation politics.

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Article details
Alison Phipps and Isabel Young
Neoliberalisation and ‘Lad Cultures’ in Higher Education Sociology April 2015 49: 305-322, first published on August 19, 2014 doi:10.1177/0038038514542120

 

 

 

 

     
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