NEW BOOK – Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time by Filip Vostal

We are pleased to announce that Dr Flip Vostal – a former member of the Centre for Globalisation, Education & Social Futures – has recently published an excellent book on the temporal colonisation of the academic lifeworld:

The era of a ‘slow-paced’ academia characterized by leisurely tempos of research and pedagogy has gone. Academia is now an intensely social site, and the boundaries between capitalist dynamics and academic life have become blurred. Academic workloads are increasing as academics have to deal with an ever-growing number of tasks, information, obligations, texts, procedures and connections. Yet the time available for carrying out these activities remains relatively constant, and even seems to be decreasing. Simultaneously, the ‘will to accelerate’ has emerged as a significant cultural and structural force in knowledge production, propelled by competitiveness and the drive for excellence. Filip Vostal examines the changing character of academic time, and questions the nature of this acceleration. Without challenging its negative implications, Vostal argues that we cannot fully understand this phenomenon unless we scrutinize its positive dimensions, and ask why people opt for acceleration, and how and why the compulsion to accelerate features in higher education policy discourse.NE

Critical Acclaim:

“This is an impressive debut, achieving both depth and breadth in the sociological understanding of today’s fast academia. Theoretically, Vostal engages productively with the leading commentators on social acceleration, whilst also offering a strong empirical dimension. Throughout, the author provides astute assessments of what is new and what is not, what is bad and what might not be so bad after all, in the speeding-up of university life. The closing analysis of the nature and future of sociology itself in this context is insightful and thought-provoking.” – Gregor McLennan, University of Bristol, UK

For further information about this publication, please visit the publisher’s website at

About the author:

Filip Vostal’s work combines two areas of research: first, the examination and evaluation of claims by some contemporary social and political theorists (such as Hartmut Rosa, John Tomlinson, William Scheuerman, Robert Hassan) declaring that technological acceleration, the speed of social change, accelerated ‘pace of living’ and cultural speed-up are central to the temporal dynamic of modernity. Specific attention is paid to the semantics of acceleration and to how, and with what effects the discursive constructions of acceleration (as a promise, as a threat, as a motive) manifest themselves and interact. Without denying its oppressive and negative features, Filip also explores positive attributes of acceleration experience. At the same time, he seeks to critique the increasingly popular counter-weight to modern speed-up: ideology of slowness.

Second, Filip is interested in sociology of science, broadly conceived. In particular, concentrating on the concerns outlined above, he looks at the shifting socio-economic role of the university and scientific institutions and analyzes associated changes in academic life. Specifically then, he investigates how academic time transforms – and to what extent it is possible to say that it ‘accelerates’ – as a result of marketization, managerialism and audit culture: trends that increasingly characterize the contemporary university.

Filip defended his PhD dissertation in March 2013 at the University of Bristol. He was supervised by Gregor McLennan and Susan Robertson and examined by John Holmwood and John Downer. His work has been published in the European Journal of Social Theory and Time & Society.