Who cares for academics? We need to talk about emotional well-being including what we avoid and intellectualize through macro-discourses
journal contributionposted on 29.07.2019, 15:23 by Charlie Smith, Eda Ulus
This paper explores academics’ wellbeing through analysing published sensitive disclosures, bringing to journal space the pain, rawness, and emotional suffering of individuals’ experiences. We confront the taboos of speaking openly about mental health and emotional wellbeing in academic institutions, with masculine structures and encroaching neoliberal discourses that create hostile atmospheres unsupportive of vulnerability and uncertainty. We also challenge existing discourses about academics’ wellbeing, implicitly burdening individuals as responsible for their pain and creating walls of shame, rather than building new healthy structures. By spotlighting the voices of academics’ emotional disclosures, intensified by embodied social inequalities, we plead for openness in formal academic outlets for sharing pre-existing emotional struggles and new wounds created by cruelly competitive, winnertakes-all structures, fortified by neoliberal ideals. Led by individuals’ voices and experiences, we make recommendations for supporting academics as an attempt to extract academia from its current perverse state and commit to repair and transformation.