From Bad Apples to Zombies? Walking Dead Leadership in the Contemporary University

Tara Brabazon

Abstract


Leadership remains an open sewer of assumptions, ego, platitudes and potential.  When contextualized within an international university sector struggling and grasping to find a purpose, leadership becomes toxic and dangerous.  This article reactivates, challenges and then transforms Ulrich Beck’s zombie concept and applies it to university leadership, management and administration. I probe the renegotiation of power and identity, with particular attention to recent scandals and appointments of university ‘leaders.’ This article also signals a movement from cosmopolitan sociology to claustropolitan cultural studies, repositioning leadership in universities at the end of the world.


Keywords


Higher education studies; zombie university; neoliberalism; zombie concept; zombie category; zombie studies; leadership; management; administration, cosmopolitanism, claustropolitanism

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References


These are currently formatted as Chicago footnotes. I will change the referencing style upon the completion of refereeing, if the piece is accepted :)

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The theoretical scaffolding work to reach this argument is found is S. Redhead, We have never been postmodern, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011) and S. Redhead, Theoretical Times, (Bingley: Emerald, 2017). In We have never been postmodern, Redhead stated, “cosmopolitanism, long the dominant characteristic in sociology, has it appears become claustropolitanism, or is certainly in the process of ’becoming claustropolitan,”

To review my earlier discussion of the zombie concept and its application in higher education, please refer to T. Brabazon, “Don’t fear the reaper? The Zombie University and eating braaaaains,” KOME, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2016, pp. 1-16, http://komejournal.com/files/KOME_TB%20ZombieU.pdf

This article is the first publication from a larger project currently being written as a scholarly monograph. This monograph is titled, The Claustropolitan University: Higher education at the end of the world.

Please refer to T. Brabazon and S. Redhead, “Theoretical Times: Claustropolitanism,” Libsyn, December 30, 2014, http://traffic.libsyn.com/tarabrabazon/Theoretical_times_-_claustropolitanism.mp3

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ibid.

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ibid., p. 262

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ibid., p. 8

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I particularly want to note what Virilio and Lotringer described as the movement from “cosmopolis to claustropolis,” from P. Virilio and S. Lotringer, Pure War, (Los Angeles: Semiotexte, 2008), p. 211

S. Redhead, “Towards a theory of claustropolitanism: jacking into the trajectories of the catastrophic,” Left Curve, Vol. 33, 2009, pp. 126-133




DOI: https://doi.org/10.32855/fcapital.202002.009

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