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'Changing the Culture’ – A feminist academic activist critique

Atkinson, KYM and Standing, KE (2019) 'Changing the Culture’ – A feminist academic activist critique. Violence Against Women, 25 (11). pp. 1331-1351. ISSN 1077-8012

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The Universities UK (UUK) Taskforce (2016) report, ‘Changing the Culture’, has been seen as a turning point in UK universities’ responses to gender based violence (GBV) (Richardson and Beer, 2017). Institutional changes have occurred as a response to grassroots feminist activism and resistance to GBV, focusing on sexual violence, harassment and ‘lad culture’ in universities (Cobb and Godden-Rasul, 2017; Lewis, Marine and Kenney, 2016). This article will argue that the neoliberal marketization of higher education, concurrent with the persistence of misogyny and patriarchy, creates an environment where GBV is normalised, and feminist voices are marginalised and silenced. Interviews with academics show support for victim/survivors on campus often falls to particular academic staff. When initiatives for change, led by institutional management, are limited to protecting the ‘reputation’ of the university, it furthermore falls on academics to challenge not only GBV, but also the reactive and uncritical responses offered by institutions. We contend that national, institutional and individual responses to GBV must consider the meaning of ‘cultural change’ beyond policy reform, zero tolerance campaigns and condemnation of GBV. Attempts to enact true cultural change must analyse the broader issue of sexism, its intersections with further structural issues, and the ways in which this plays out within the neoliberal institution to the detriment of students and staff.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 16 Studies In Human Society, 11 Medical And Health Sciences, 18 Law And Legal Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 11:35
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:54
DOI or ID number: 10.1177/1077801219844609
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9733
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