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Equality and Excellence in Sustainable Balance?

The aim of Equality and Excellence in Sustainable Balance? Gender, Love and Desire for Knowledge in the Competitive University is to examine how different formations of desire for knowledge, and attendant ways of being and relating, thrive and prosper or crumble and perish in response to the marketization of universities and commodification of knowledge production.

About the project

The international literature describes a re-masculinization of Academia. More self-assertive and instrumental ways of being and relating as well as positivistic epistemologies thrive, whereas investments in human needs, relationships and imagination are devalued, alongside reflexive and hermeneutic epistemologies. Despite this we are witnessing, not least in the Nordic context, that academics seek to combine the drive for caring with that of career making.

This project focuses on the connections between investments in human needs and relationships on the one hand, and desire for knowledge on the other. We ask: How is the tension between "business" and "the human sides" experienced and lived in everyday lives and epistemic cultures? Can we see productive relationships between academic careers and emotional investments in human needs and relationships, and, if so, are these different in different epistemic cultures? Can we see patterns of a "modernized masculinity" able to combine increased emotional involvement with more instrumental and competitive ways of being? Or will we rather see an intensification in the tensions between relational orientations and competitiveness and, ultimately, new polarizations between "business" and "the human sides" alongside gendered polarizations in everyday life within and beyond academia?


The project will provide new insights, not only into what helps and hinders gender parity in senior positions, but also into the ways in which building an academic career is made more or less compatible with equality in everyday life.


Norwegian Research Council, 2019-2023

Tags: Gender, Academia, Espistemology, Knowledge, Equality, Excellence
Published Sep. 21, 2020 3:30 PM - Last modified Aug. 11, 2022 2:28 PM