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Imposter syndrome as a public feeling

Breeze, Maddie (2018) Imposter syndrome as a public feeling. In: Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University. Palgrave McMillan, [London]. ISBN 978-3-319-64224-6

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Abstract

This chapter is about re-thinking ‘imposter syndrome’ as a public feeling. When I think about doing (early career) feminist work in neoliberal universities there are things that I’ve run away from, things that I’ve fought, and definitely things that I’ve failed at. Another noticeable affect is less of a flight, less of fight, and not exactly a failure, but a kind of paralysis, getting stuck, more like the ‘freeze’ of some small mammals’ response to perceived threat, playing dead instead of fighting or fleeing. I think that feeling like an imposter, and an attendant ‘freeze’ or stuck-ness, is another important aspect of the affective landscape of feminist academic work, especially when this work takes place in neoliberal universities.