Qualitative Qualities, Meaningful Measurements? A Collaborative Exploration of the Performativity of “Quality” in the Audit Culture

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Many academics appear to have lost interest in the critique of practices and subjectivities in the neoliberal university. In this article, we insist on the value of keeping the critical debate on the neoliberal university alive, in spite of competition, individualization and silence. We aim to contribute to the debate with thoughts about the ways in which “quality” is construed and measured in the evaluation practices which take up an increasingly large amount of academics’ time. In a process which began with preparations for a panel at the first European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in 2017, we use collaborative writing as a method of inquiry to explore how the use of “quality” criteria is performative in dynamics of inclusion and exclusion that inscribe us as subjects within neoliberal discourse. Finally, we argue that such reflexive exploration is important in order to cultivate meaningful pockets of critical, collaborative research and teaching practices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Qualitative Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)433–452
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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