Perverse Pleasures – Identity Work and the Paradoxes of Greedy Institutions
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AbstractWomen’s studies struggle for a location in the academy has always involved feelings of deep ambiguity. The outsider/insider relation is a peculiarly vexed one in times when the demands on professional identity appear to erase the more political claims on our identity such as being a feminist. This paper considers aspects of these complex navigations across the personal, private, public and professional aspects of identity through the concept of pleasure. It explores the discrepancy as well as the interrelations between the moral climate of higher education and the more elusive, secret or at least unspoken nature of our persistent (over?) commitment to intellectual labour. I draw on key concepts such as ‘seduction’ and ‘repression’ (Bauman, 2001), in order to tease out the complicities secured by the rewards and the displacements won by our repression. What positions and identities do we stake out in the hyper-competitive world of higher education and is the feminist project sustainable in these crisis times?