From Sadness to Joy: The Potentials of Transforming the Impact Agenda

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2023 Number 110 & 111

From Sadness to Joy: The Potentials of Transforming the Impact Agenda
Jonathan Paylor pages 113-130
DOI: 10.3898/NewF:110-111.07.2024


This article seeks to envision a mode of university governance that takes us beyond a neoliberal audit culture and its affective organisation of academic life. It takes up this task by probing the potentials of transforming the ‘impact agenda’ (i.e., the trend towards audit systems and funding mechanisms that assess academics on the basis of their non-academic research impact). Grounded in an ethnography of a UK university, and informed by a Spinozist ethics of joy, the article draws attention to an alternative conception of subjectivity to that which the impact agenda propagates, one that is conceived in terms of collective creativity and which breaks with the neoliberal notion of the competitive individual. I argue this understanding of subjectivity points to a threshold where the impact agenda can become something else. More specifically, drawing inspiration from the idea of ‘collective joy’, I map an alternative that is centred on the goal of enhancing academics’ and non-academics’ capacity for collective creativity. What is at stake in making this conversion is moving from a mode of governance that is debilitating to one that is empowering.

SORRY - you are not registered as being permitted online access to the full text of this article

You have the following options:

  1. If you are viewing this via an institution or academic library you can ask that your institution takes out a Subscription to this journal.
  2. If you already have a Personal Subscription please login below

    Forgotten your username / password? Click here to locate

  3. Purchase an annual Personal Subscription
    PRINT + DIGITAL personal subscription (£45 / year)
    DIGITAL personal subscription (£30 / year)
    A Personal Subscription provides immediate access not only to the single article you are seeking, but also to all past and future articles in this journal up to the expiry of your annual (calendar year) subscription.
  4. Purchase immediate access to this single article (UK£7.00) - Buy article Coming Soon

To cite this article
Jonathan Paylor (2023) From Sadness to Joy: The Potentials of Transforming the Impact Agenda, New Formations, 2023(110 & 111 ), 113-130.

Share this