Gender and New Public Management: Reconstituting Academic Subjectivities



This article is located within the context of British Higher Education. It examines the ‘radical reforms’ of New Public Management (NPM) (marketization and managerialism) in the management of university organizations. The article has two main aims. First, to explore the extent to which NPM initiatives have influenced individual women academics’s day–to–day experiences of the gendered academy and their professional identities. Second, to understand individuals’ active responses to NPM to develop theorizing of individual resistance in public service organizations. Adopting a Foucauldian feminist framework, it is suggested that the introduction of NPM presents a site for political struggle for women academics. The article explores the gendered nature of NPM, to determine how, in three individual universities, different women academics have responded to the ‘managerialist challenge’. Finally, the article focuses on the ways in which different women academics might accommodate, resist, or transform the discourses of NPM, the factors facilitating this, and the material outcomes.