Sanity, “madness,” and the academy

Kate Maclean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


In this article I look at the pressures exerted on academics in England, particularly early career researchers, by the collision of what in many cases is an elitist work culture with the neoliberalization, metricization, and managerialization of the academy. I draw on the work of the radical psychoanalyst R. D. Laing, who argued that to understand madness, we have to first critique our ideas of normality and “sanity,” which he argues are inherently constructed of “double binds.” I utilize my own experience working on gender equality in universities, and as an early career lecturer in a geography department, to explore how academics find themselves positioned in a web of neoliberal and traditional, elitist power dynamics and the implications for their mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Geographer / Geographie Canadien
Issue number2
Early online date14 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


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