I wrote yesterday about how obsessive auditing produces a profession which is incompatible with a normal life. Two interesting comments offered really important insights into this issue:
What both point to is the importance of vested interests. My reluctance to understanding this process as governmentality is that it easily slides into a mystification of elites. The conceptual vocabulary utilised here tends to construct these outcomes as the operations of diffuse power rather than specific projects undertaken by those with vested interests in their outcomes: management departments, communications departments or consultancies etc. I’ve often wondered about what performance management regimes those working in university communications departments are subject to given how much of their output seems to be of questionable quality.
Incidentally, this is why I have such a problem with the emerging industry of ex-academics coaching graduate students. On the one hand, it could be seen as no different to private tuition, something which reproduces inequality through a market transaction. On the other hand, it could be seen as a direct interest in the processes of heating up the floor to see which graduate student can keep hopping the longest through contributing to the ratcheting up of the expectations inherent in the role of ‘graduate student’ and a tendency to talk up the problems confronting graduate students as a whole.