‘Not in our Name’

Vexing Care in the Neoliberal University





In this paper, we draw on our collaborative work running a salon for thinking about care in STS research, which quickly became more about fostering an ethico-politics for thinking with care as a mode of academic intervention. Not dissimilar to the origins of the salon in nineteenth-century France, the salon provided a provocative and disruptive space for early career researchers (ECRs) to think together.

As attention and critique increasingly point towards the unequal distribution of harms arising from marketization and the vulnerability of ECRs in the ‘neoliberal university,’ we have witnessed a surge in activities that promise a supportive space, such as pre-conference conferences, seminar series, discussion forums and self-care workshops. In this paper, we ask not only what these modes of care might make possible, but also what exclusionary practices and patterns they mask or render more palatable (Ahmed, 2004; Duclos & Criado, 2020; Martin et al., 2015; Murphy, 2015).

Reflecting on our experiences of organizing and participating in the salon, with the stated purpose to explore ‘ecologies of care’ as an embodied socio-material practice (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017), we move from care ‘out there’ in STS research to care ‘in here’. We follow threads spun by and out from the group to rethink our own academic care practices and how to do the academy otherwise.


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Author Biographies

Emily Jay Nicholls, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Research Fellow

Public Health, Environments and Society

Jade Vu Henry, Goldsmiths, University of London

Visiting Research Fellow


Fay Dennis, Goldsmiths, University of London

Research Fellow







Special Issue Peer Reviewed Articles