Academic identities and sense of place: A collaborative autoethnography in the neoliberal university

Emma Nordbäck, Marko Hakonen, Janne Tienari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Neoliberalism, precarious jobs, and control of work have multiple effects on academic identities as our allegiances to valued social groups and our connections to meaningful locations are challenged. While identities in neoliberal universities have received increasing research attention, sense of place has passed unnoticed in the literature. We engage with collaborative autoethnography and contribute to the literature in two ways. First, we show that while academic identities are put into motion by the neoliberal regime, they are constructed through mundane constellations of places and social entities. Second, we elucidate how academic identities today are characterized by restlessness and how academics use place and time to find meaning for themselves and their work. We propose a form of criticism to neoliberal universities that is sensitive to positionalities and places and offer ideas on how to build shared understandings that help us survive in the face of neoliberal standards of academic “excellence.”
Original languageEnglish
Article number53(2)
Peer-reviewed scientific journalManagement Learning
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • academic identity
  • collaborative autoethnography
  • identity
  • neoliberalism
  • place
  • university

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising
  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Academic identities and sense of place: A collaborative autoethnography in the neoliberal university'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this