In the past decade, higher education institutions in South Africa have witnessed a firm and decisive move towards corporatisation. It may well be argued that this is an inevitable trend, driven largely by globalisation and the need to remain or become competitive in a highly market-oriented local and international higher education sector. This need to attain a competitive edge demands that the status quo cannot remain. Higher education institutions have to respond to indicators of quality contained in the international rankings machinery. In an era of fiscal austerity, this necessitates a greater extraction of output from existing higher education production factors. Labour in particular requires a more sophisticated disciplinary regime: one that defines the work of academics in explicit quantifiable terms, and sets and measures performance standards for the different facets of an academic’s work. In this commentary, I present a Foucauldian analysis of the effect of accountability and performance regimes on academics at a South African university. I argue that particular constructions of performance expectations produce particular effects. This paper draws attention to the subjugating effect of stringent control technologies on the lived experience of the higher education pedagogue with a view to exploring possibilities and spaces of resistance.


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pp. 25-35
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