When students protest and when they don’t: challenging the apathy narrative in Australia

Alexander, Nita, Ashley, Aaron, Lisciandro, Rebekah, Oleszek, Rachael, and Petray, Theresa (2021) When students protest and when they don’t: challenging the apathy narrative in Australia. In: Bessant, Judith, Mejia Mesina, Analicia, and Pickard, Sarah, (eds.) When Students Protest: Universities in the Global North. Rowman & Littlefield, London, UK, pp. 159-178.

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As universities become neoliberal institutions, many students worry that participating in activism will earn them a ‘trouble-maker’ label and jeopardise their future employment prospects. Rather than assuming these students are apathetic, research which highlights the barriers to student protest is important. In this paper, we look at why students at James Cook University, a regional Australian university, generally don’t protest – and then we turn our focus to a student protest that did happen. We take a reflective case study approach, considering our experiences as academics and students at JCU, to critically examine the barriers to student protest and how they can be overcome. While the neoliberalisation of higher education is a broad structural issue, some factors that enable protest are strong networks, clear articulation of dissent over time, and political socialisation of protest leaders. We challenge the assumption that students who don’t protest are apathetic and instead suggest that successful protest relies on students’ feeling safe to voice their dissent.

Item ID: 68633
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-78661-179-6
Copyright Information: © 2021 by The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group Inc.
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2021 05:30
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441004 Social change @ 100%
SEO Codes: 23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2302 Government and politics > 230201 Civics and citizenship @ 100%
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