4. flexploitation amplified through crises: academic work made
precarious, entrepreneurial and proletarianised.
crises of capital shape the symbolism of the University (human
capital/commodity, debt, debt covenants and surpluses).
this is an institution seemingly shaped only in relation to crisis,
but unable to address the great unravelling.
a narrative that catayses academic and student ill-health or
quitting, and in particular of a rise in anxiety.
6. The anxiety machine normalises ill-being/weltschmerz/hopelessness
• normalised: anxiety-driven overwork as a culturally-acceptable self-
harming activity in the academic peloton
• pathological: the design of a system driven by improving productivity
and the potential for the accumulation of capital
• methodological: forms of anxiety that generate automated, hyperactive
and repetitive institutional responses, which are of such competitive
advantage that they are not a systemic bug
8. Pathologies of value amplified by Covid
Cultures revealed as pathologies of overwork, self-harm and self-
A miasma of hopelessness that another world might be possible.
Inside highly competitive environments, vulnerability also tends to
shape a deeper relationship between defeat, entrapment and
9. In the pandemic, The hopeless University is a flag bearer for a collective life
that is becoming more efficiently unsustainable.
• When the abstracted power of capital has revealed its annihilation of
systems of life and living, how do University workers widen the horizon of
possibility beyond algorithmic solutions to insoluble, structural and
• Can we can ask ‘the only scientific question that remains to us…: how the
fuck do we get out of this mess?’ (Holloway 2010: 919).
• Can we compost how we feel about our work and lives?
10. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International License.