A tale of two subjectivities: An academic life story

Adriana Gil-Juárez*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    In this article I present an autobiographical account as someone who has been an academic in both Mexico and Spain for the last thirty years. My life story shows the transition from a life centred on an academic project to a life centred on mere survival in the system. These are two subjectivities that do not neatly appear consecutively but that are intertwined. The first starts from the traditional but exciting idea that an academic career must progress linearly to the achievement of a solid and stable identity, with a permanent contract as a symbolic and material destination. The second subjectivity, which starts from neo-liberalism demanding permanent mobilization, constant change, and absolute flexibility, is accompanied by pain and resignation, as precarity has already occupied the greatest part of my academic life. The story has the modest mission of exemplifying, in the flesh, without hiding class and gender marks, the neo-liberal transformation of the academy and its inhabitants. Yet it is also an example of how difficult it can be to resist this dynamic, given that we, the teaching and research staff, are more or less forced accomplices of this transformation. I write this narrative in the hope that the story may help others to visualize and plan a different future for academia and for themselves: a future based on more engaged personal relationships and built on an ethics of care which can help resist injustice, as feminist literature suggests.

    Original languageAmerican English
    Article number267
    JournalSocial Sciences
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


    • Biographical methods
    • Life stories
    • New academic subjectivities
    • New managerialism
    • Technologies of power
    • Technologies of the self


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