New book: Gender And Neoliberalism In Czech Academia

“Transforming knowledge into an engine of economy” is a motto that has driven the transformation of research in the last few decades. Competition stands at the centre of the current neoliberal-inspired reforms and has underpinned changes in research organization, career paths and working conditions in academia, and research funding practices.

This book analyses the consequences of the neoliberal-informed reforms for gender equality in Czech academia. It examines gender aspects in the construction of research excellence, gender blind research policy adopted in the Czech Republic, academic career paths before 1989 and today, mobility, wellbeing and job satisfaction among academics and the reasons and motivations for leaving academic careers.

The lack of local mobilization among women researchers combined with a conservative gender order and hostility to gender equality measures in research give us the opportunity to explore the gendered effects of neoliberal reforms in the particular settings of a country that has revamped its research funding and evaluation systems in a relatively very short time. One of the goals of the book is to show the merits of studying local practices against the backdrop of large-scale geopolitical influences. While the book adds another piece to the global puzzle of changes in the organization of academic research and their impact on the lives of academics as well as on the quality and focus of the research conducted, its value lies in serious and critical attention to geopolitics.

The local developments can thus be understood not only as particular cases of the impact of neoliberal-inspired reforms, but also as cases that can shed some light on possible developments in other, including “central”, geopolitical locations. The book is an outcome of ongoing research of the Centre for Gender and Science, Czech Academy of Sciences, with contributions from other colleagues with similar research interests, including transformation of the higher education system in the Czech Republic and wellbeing of academics.