Expanding gendered sites of resistance in the neoliberal academy

Thomas Brorsen Smidt, Fredrik Bondestam, Gyða Margrét Pétursdóttir, Þorgerður Einarsdóttir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neoliberalism has long found its way into higher education and made life hard for academics in a number of different ways. The literature that maps out resistance to this development focuses on the gendered aspects of labour-economic issues. However, this study argues that the zeitgeist of neoliberalism has gendered consequences far beyond market-based categories. Thirty-two in-depth interviews with current and former academics at the University of Iceland are analysed. They demonstrate that the conceptualization of gendered sites of resistance is in need of expansion. Academics still resist traditional neoliberal derivatives by (1) exiting the institution (2) complaining through official channels (3) refusing to take part in certain activities or (4) by directly confronting their superiors. However, these resistance strategies harbour new gendered sites of resistance related to tokenism, bullying and gendered harassment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the GARCIA Project (Seventh Framework Programme) [grant number 611737]; the Eimskip University Fund / the Doctoral Grants of the University of Iceland Research Fund [grant number 80218].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • academia
  • Gender
  • neoliberalism
  • resistance


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