Slow Movement/Slow University: Critical Engagements. Introduction to the Thematic Section


  • Maggie O'Neill Durham University
  • Luke Martell University of Sussex
  • Heather Mendick Brunel University
  • Ruth Müller Lund University



slow university, slow movement, critical engagement, fast academia


This thematic section emerged from two seminars that took place at Durham University in England in November 2013 and March 2014 on the possibilities for thinking through what a change movement towards slow might mean for the University. Slow movements have emerged in relation to a number of topics: Slow food, Citta slow and more recently, slow science. What motivated us in the seminars was to explore how far these movements could help us address the acceleration and intensification of work within our own and other universities, and indeed, what new learning, research, philosophies, practices, structures and governance might emerge. This editorial introduction presents the concept of the "slow university" and introduces our critical engagements with slow. The articles presented here interrogate the potentialities, challenges, problems and pitfalls of the slow university in an era of corporate culture and management rationality.




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Author Biographies

Maggie O'Neill, Durham University

Maggie O'NEILL is a sociologist and professor in criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University. She co-directs the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University. Her most recent book is "Transgressive Imaginations: Crime, Deviance and Culture".

Luke Martell, University of Sussex

Luke MARTELL is professor of political sociology at the University of Sussex, UK. He is author of "The Sociology of Globalization" (Polity Press, 2010) and is writing about alternative societies.

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.

Ruth Müller, Lund University

Ruth MÜLLER is a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Policy Group, Lund University, Sweden. She has earned her PhD in 2012 from the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. Her work has been exploring how academic career rationales shape the epistemic and social practices of junior researchers in the life sciences, and more recently the climate sciences. She has been engaging with concepts such as slow science since 2010, when she co-organised an international workshop on the topic at the Science & Justice Research Centre, University of California Santa Cruz, USA, where she was a visiting scholar at the time.




How to Cite

O’Neill, M., Martell, L., Mendick, H., & Müller, R. (2014). Slow Movement/Slow University: Critical Engagements. Introduction to the Thematic Section. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3).



The Slow University