‘Working on a rocky shore’: micro-moments of positive affect in academic work

Susanne Gannon, Carol Taylor, Gill Adams, Helen Donaghue, Stephanie Hannam-Swain, Jean Harris-Evans, Joan Healey, Patricia Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Neoliberal ideologies, marketization and performative regimes associated with recent reforms in universities have exerted considerable pressure on academic working conditions and subjects in recent years. While analysing these pressures is important, it is also productive to consider the ways in which academics engage in moments of resistance by mobilising resources beyond those of critique. This paper therefore focuses on joy and positive affect in the everyday moments of academic life. It utilises the feminist methodology of collective biography to explore ways of making the restricted spaces of our working day more expansive and finding within them unexpected openings for joy. Our analysis of the stories included in this paper traces the mercurial and ambiguous affective atmospheres of academic work. We suggest that joy is founded upon connections with others, that it arises in different academic spaces and that it can lead to revised knowing of ourselves. We argue that the glimpses of joy evident in this paper provoke affective attunement within the everyday, sensitizing us to other fragments of joy and providing strategies to strengthen that resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalEmotion Space and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Affective atmospheres
  • Collective biography
  • Joy
  • University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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