Social Class, Gender and the Pace of Academic Life: What Kind of Solution is Slow?


  • Heather Mendick Brunel University



autoethnography, fast academia, Slow movement, neoliberalism, higher education, social class, gender


My starting point for this article is the increasing pace of academic life. As the other articles in this special section evidence, the Slow movement, which seeks to challenge our contemporary obsession with speed, is being taken up by many in order to intervene into "fast academia". However, in this article, I suggest we should pause and question what kind of a solution this offers to the current crisis of speed. Working auto/biographically and using examples drawn from popular culture, I argue that Slow is both classed and gendered, re/producing wider patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Specifically, I suggest that Slow naturalises a particular relationship to self which requires not just stability of employment but an individualist way of being, constituting selves that calculate and invest in them-selves for the future.



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Author Biography

Heather Mendick, Brunel University

Heather MENDICK works as a Reader in Education at Brunel University. She is interested in learning in the broadest sense and particularly in the impact of popular culture, gender and social class identities and the ways that people form relationships with mathematics and science. She is the author of many publications in these areas including the books "Masculinities in Mathematics" and "Urban Youth and Schooling". Her main current project is on the role of celebrity in young people's classed and gendered aspirations. This is joint with Kim ALLEN and Laura HARVEY and funded by the ESRC.




How to Cite

Mendick, H. (2014). Social Class, Gender and the Pace of Academic Life: What Kind of Solution is Slow?. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3).



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