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Resisting neoliberalism: The challenge of activist
librarianship in the UK HE Context
Katherine Quinn – Sociology departme...
Resisting neoliberalism: The gist
1.Rationale and aim
2.Definitional work
3.Gramsci
4.Ethnography
5.Findings
Rationale and aim
• Aim: to assess the possibility of developing a radical democratic
alternative to neoliberalism in LIS ...
Resisting neoliberalism: Definitional work
Neoliberalism:
- Big ‘N’ Neoliberalism (Hayek, von Mises etc), ‘processes of
ne...
Analysis: Antonio Gramsci – 1891-1937
• To illuminate instances, disruptions,
nuances of neoliberalism and its
contestatio...
Methodology
• Ethnography, reflexive, poststructural feminist
• Experiences as MA student, participant in Radical Libraria...
1) Do we need activist librarianship?
Critique of the Academic LIS in UK HE
- Competition, ‘the business analogy’ (Collini...
Part 2: Radical Librarian Collective: Alternative
practices of library work
-‘The root’ of RLC
-The gathering: prefigurati...
Part 3. The future development of activist
Librarianship
• Agonism, critical self-reflection
• Challenge of organisation, ...
Conclusions…
• Need for ‘activist librarianship’ but also uncovering
and extending of pre-existing solidarities
• Networks...
Thanks! Questions?
@katherinebquinn
k.quinn.1@warwick.ac.uk
Concise(ish) bibliography
• Brown (2015). Undoing the demos: Neoliberal’s stealth revolution.
Cambridge MA: MIT Press
• Co...
Cont.
• Forgacs, D. (Ed.). (2000). The Antonio Gramsci Reader. Selected writings 1916-1935. New York:
New York University ...
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Resisting Neoliberalism: the challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE context - Katherine Quinn

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Presented at LISDIS 2016, Saturday 5 November 2016 at UCL

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Resisting Neoliberalism: the challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE context - Katherine Quinn

  1. 1. Resisting neoliberalism: The challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE Context Katherine Quinn – Sociology department, University of Warwick MA Librarianship undertaken University of Sheffield, 2014 Supervised by Dr Jo Bates
  2. 2. Resisting neoliberalism: The gist 1.Rationale and aim 2.Definitional work 3.Gramsci 4.Ethnography 5.Findings
  3. 3. Rationale and aim • Aim: to assess the possibility of developing a radical democratic alternative to neoliberalism in LIS research and practice. Within this broad aim my objectives include: 1. to examine processes of neoliberalisation in HE and LIS 2. to analyse methods of resistance through Radical Librarians Collective 3. to examine the possibilities for developing radical democratic LIS
  4. 4. Resisting neoliberalism: Definitional work Neoliberalism: - Big ‘N’ Neoliberalism (Hayek, von Mises etc), ‘processes of neoliberalisation’ (Peck, 2013), and/or neoliberal subjectivities (Gill, 2010)? - Wendy Brown (2015) “governing rationality” - Human capital, competition, markets
  5. 5. Analysis: Antonio Gramsci – 1891-1937 • To illuminate instances, disruptions, nuances of neoliberalism and its contestations within my empirical fieldwork • Hegemony, politics, ‘Common Sense’, praxis, organic intellectuals Sebastian Barlyi, Flickr CC 2.0
  6. 6. Methodology • Ethnography, reflexive, poststructural feminist • Experiences as MA student, participant in Radical Librarians Collective • Observation of RLC gathering, London, 2014 • Interviews with: - Library managers – (current or former) - LIS academics - Library workers/researchers who identify as ‘radical’/critical • Thematic analysis with Gramscian framework
  7. 7. 1) Do we need activist librarianship? Critique of the Academic LIS in UK HE - Competition, ‘the business analogy’ (Collini, 2012) - Neoliberal common sense ‘words make worlds’ - Spaces for solidarity, existence of counter-hegemonic – CritLis, academic/public
  8. 8. Part 2: Radical Librarian Collective: Alternative practices of library work -‘The root’ of RLC -The gathering: prefigurative action/Praxis -Practices of radical library work • Library workers groups as ‘CPD’ • ‘guerrilla collection development’ • Every-day interactions • Info on software, privacy etc • Meeting as local and national group
  9. 9. Part 3. The future development of activist Librarianship • Agonism, critical self-reflection • Challenge of organisation, facilitation, and horozontilism in practice (see Freeman, 1971) • Learning from others – building connections with other groups, getting training, enhancing network. • Outward facing work • Update since 2014
  10. 10. Conclusions… • Need for ‘activist librarianship’ but also uncovering and extending of pre-existing solidarities • Networks like RLC can extend this • Counter-hegemonic claims and action need to be self critical and open
  11. 11. Thanks! Questions? @katherinebquinn k.quinn.1@warwick.ac.uk
  12. 12. Concise(ish) bibliography • Brown (2015). Undoing the demos: Neoliberal’s stealth revolution. Cambridge MA: MIT Press • Collini, S (2012). What are Universities for? London: Penguin Books • Freeman, Jo. (1972). “The tyranny of structurelessness”. The Second Wave (2). retrieved from:http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm 01/04/2014 • Gill, R. (2010). Breaking the silence: the hidden injuries of the neoliberal university. In R. Gill & R. Ryan-Flood (Eds.), Secrecy and silence in the research process: feminist reflections (pp. 228–244). London: Routledge. • Peck, J (2013). Constructions of neoliberal reason. Oxford: OUP
  13. 13. Cont. • Forgacs, D. (Ed.). (2000). The Antonio Gramsci Reader. Selected writings 1916-1935. New York: New York University Press. • Freeman, Jo. (1972). “The tyranny of structurelessness”. The Second Wave (2). retrieved from:http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm 01/04/2014 • Gill, R. (2010). Breaking the silence: the hidden injuries of the neoliberal university. In R. Gill & R. Ryan-Flood (Eds.), Secrecy and silence in the research process: feminist reflections (pp. 228–244). London: Routledge. • Hall, S. (2011). The Neo-Liberal Revolution. Cultural Studies, 25(6), 705–728. doi:10.1080/09502386.2011.619886 • Honig, B & Pearce, N. (2013) The optimistic agonist: An interview with Bonnie Honig. Open Democracy. Retrieved from: https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/nick-pearce-bonnie- honig/optimistic-agonistinterview-with-bonnie-honig • Johnson, I. M. (2011). Bibliometrics and the brain dead. Information Development, 27(2), 92–93. doi:10.1177/0266666911404012 • Massey, D. (2013). Vocabularies of the economy. Soundings, 54(54), 9–22. doi:10.3898/136266213807299023 • Morrone, M (ed). (2014) Informed Agitation: Library and Instruction Skills in Social Justice Movements and beyond. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press

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