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Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Publication details for Professor Maggie O'Neill

O'Neill, M. (2014). The Slow University: Work, Time and Well-Being. Forum: Qualitative Social Research 15(3): 14.

Author(s) from Durham


Applying the concept of slow to the university, in the context of increasing marketisation, managerialism and performance management, enables us to focus upon our experiences of work, time and well-being, the increasing pace and tempo of academic life and the very meaning of the university in current times. In this article, the possibilities for being slowly radical are examined through a critical theoretical and psycho-social lens. Drawing upon Isabel MENZIES LYTH (1988 [1959]) I argue that the success and indeed well-being of the modern university is intimately connected to techniques used to contain anxiety. Confronting anxiety materially, discursively and symbolically involves addressing issues of governance and well-being through providing opportunities for more dialogue and spaciousness. The final section of this article makes recommendations for taking forward sociological research in this area utilising critical, participatory, biographical and performative methodologies.