SUCCESS AS ANTITHETICAL TO SAFETY: RESEARCHING THE FAR RIGHT IN AN ACADEMIC CONTEXT
Keywords:Ethics, academia, neoliberal economy, safety, risk
AbstractAcademics are increasingly understood as a ‘vulnerable population’, with researchers being exposed to networked harassment, threats, attacks to credibility, and vicarious trauma. However, protection measures from these risks are often antithetical to the neoliberal emphasis on individual responsibility, production, and success metrics. Prioritising public scholarship, publications, and digital presence, academics increasingly understand the need to build a profile to have an edge in an incredibly competitive job market. However, the more visible a researcher, the more at risk they are from networked harassment and attention from the broader far right. Whilst attention is increasingly being paid to the issue of researcher welfare and safety, it tends to be either focused solely on individual practices or institutional structures. This paper critiques the broader environment researchers of the far right operate in, particularly focusing on the impact of digital presence and the job market on researcher safety and wellbeing. Drawing from 21 interviews with researchers of the far right, this paper situates their experiences within the broader environment that renders emotional and physical protection inaccessible to most. Situating lived experience within literature on the neoliberalism of academia and the libertarian internet, the results indicate that risk and harm are embedded in the practice of researching the far right with available mitigations experienced as incompatible with success. Those working at the intersections of marginalisation and precarity report making choices that may harm their career in order to safeguard themselves; broader issues in both academia and the online environment are magnified at this intersection.
How to Cite
Vaughan, A. C. (2023). SUCCESS AS ANTITHETICAL TO SAFETY: RESEARCHING THE FAR RIGHT IN AN ACADEMIC CONTEXT. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13099