Accepted paper:

Crisis, audit cultures and academia


Dimitra Gefou-Madianou (Panteion University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines ethnographically the recent reforms and audit processes introduced in the Greek higher education system and analyses theoretically their impact and uncertainty brought to the universities, academics and students.

Paper long abstract:

The recent reforms in higher education and the audit culture introduced have had a strong impact on the public universities in Greece. The quantitative character of educational process and the production of academic knowledge in economic and market terms have raised a number of ethical, social and political issues, thus producing uncertainty. Having suffered multiple exclusions from academia as 'ethnically unhelpful' for the nation-building process, social sciences including anthropology entered a flourishing period of two decades after Greece's 1981accession to the EE and the concomitant opening up of society under successive socialist administrations. Unfortunately, that was the same time when audit culture also made its entrance into the country through the Operational Programmes for Education and Initial Professional Training. The new ideology proclaimed that knowledge had to be 'economically useful' in order to tally with market values and jobs ethics. Moreover, with the recent external evaluation introduced by the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency in all university departments, academic knowledge became a contested terrain; a vehicle for the orientalising strategies deployed in order to promote the neoliberal restructuring in Greek universities thus promoting uncertainty. In this framework, old hierarchical categories and dichotomies are instrumentalised in order to promote public management on the universities. This, together with the economic crisis still raging in the country, reflects not only a neoliberalisation but also a neo-colonialism ideology. The paper examines ethnographically the uncertainty produced by the crisis and audit processes on the Greek universities and on the subjectivities of academics.

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