Self-pathologisation and e-mail

it is notable how much self-contempt runs through such accounts, and the way they draw on the language of pathology. In the extract that begins this section, the male professor characterises himself as variously ‘addicted’, ‘obsessive’ and ‘compulsive’ when he might more accurately be seen as enacting quite reasonable strategies in order to cope with an entirely unreasonable workload. ‘Addiction’ metaphors suffuse academics’ talk of their relationship to e-mail, even as they report such high levels of anxiety that they feel they have to check e-mail first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and in which time away (on sick leave, on holiday) generates fears of what might be lurking in the inbox when they return. Again, inventive ‘strategies’ abound for keeping such anxiety at bay eg putting on your ‘out of office’ reply when you are actually in the office.

Gill, R (2009) Breaking the silence: The hidden injuries of neo-liberal academia in Flood,R. & Gill,R. (Eds.) Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections. London: Routledge

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