Publication details [#19627141]

Mackinlay, Elizabeth and Briony Lipton. 2020. The doorway effect: Stories of feminist activism and survival in the neoliberal university. Emotion, space and society 35.
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Article in journal
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A doorway is an entrance into a space. A gateway that denotes passage and movement. In the contemporary university, doors separate, connect, and demarcate belonging and exclusion. In our experiences as academics and in our qualitative interviews with academic women at universities across Australia, there are many accounts of the liminality of doorways and of doors being closed literally and metaphorically. Closed doors speak to a lack of transparency and a blind eye to inequality and discrimination in academia, as well as an absence of connectedness and solidarity in a highly competitive and critical neoliberal work environment. What happens in these academic entrance ways in neoliberal times? Drawing on critical autoethnography and the writings of Virginia Woolf and Helene Cixous, this paper uses the spatial metaphor of doorways as symbolic structures to describe the dissonance between academics and institutions as well as between individuals. In this paper the neurological and cultural phenomenon of “the doorway effect” is employed as an allegory of forgetting to highlight the way the individualisation of thoughts and feelings diverts attention away from institutional accountability on issues of gender inequalities in Australian higher education.