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Friday Ephemera

Slacking For Social Justice, Part Two

Laziness, apparently, is “a political stance.” Specifically

As political action, laziness… provides postqualitative inquiry with an additional tool for contributing to social justice via social research. Laziness combats the neoliberal condition in which academic research is situated and might serve as a virtue of postqualitative inquiry.

Ah, yes. The neoliberal condition of modern academia.

To meet social justice commitments, postqualitative inquiry must affirmatively disavow neoliberalism and confront it with new sets of materialist-empiricist toolkits for configuring assemblages in retaliation of the reductionist economic becomings and becoming-economies. We must refute our work. We must become lazy.

The author of this unhappy word-pile, Professor Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, is the department chair of higher education at the University of Denver. To spare you needless exposure to the professor’s prose, Greg Piper of The College Fix offers a handy summary

Unsurprisingly, the professor says the concept of laziness is used to harm poor people, nonwhites, “overweight individuals” and women. But they can also use laziness as a weapon against “the dominant power structure” by, for example, housekeepers “completing the minimum required to keep their jobs” to protest “the subjugation of their profession and personhood.”

Not hoovering under the sofa is, it turns out, a radical act, a feat of protest and empowerment.

The full paper can be perused here. Though I feel I should point out that it’s a wearying thing and may inspire thoughts of self-harm.

When not championing the doing of things in a tardy, half-arsed way, and driving his car back and forth over the English language, Professor Gildersleeve mingles with “historically marginalised communities” and “non-dominant youth,” where his prose and searing insights will no doubt prompt much nodding and the rubbing of many chins.  

The professor’s other contributions to human advancement include The Neoliberal Academy of the Anthropocene and the Retaliation of the Lazy Academic, in which we learn that,

All of our things, whether natural or plastic, share agency with us humans.

Yes, dear readers. Bubble-wrap lives.


Neoliberalism… can be understood as a particularized governmentality of things focused on rendering reality using technologies of hyper-individualism, hyper-surveillance, economic determinations of productivity, and competitive entrepreneurialism.

Something tells me it’s those “economic determinations of productivity” that really chafe the professor’s cheeks, given the customary expectations of competence and usefulness.

Previously in the Clown Quarter, and very much related