In an article largely focused on the difficulties of couples involved in academic work, and the need to live miles (sometimes continents) apart … which indicates that to truly be an ‘exceptional academic’ there may be a need to be without dependents:
In 2010, Kathleen Lynch, professor of equality studies at University College Dublin, wrote a powerful article in the Arts and Humanities in Higher Education journal, titled “Carelessness: a hidden doxa of higher education”. Although there are now global opportunities for some academics, she argued, performance expectations are likely to be so demanding that “only a care-less worker can fully satisfy [them]”.
“Given the gendered order of caring, senior managerial appointments and senior academic posts are most available to those who are ‘care-less’, those who have no primary care responsibilities, and these are likely to be very particular types of men (disproportionately) and women,” she wrote.
Lynch believes that “the carelessness of education” (and a consequent distortion of research agendas) has its origins in a “classical Cartesian” determination to keep emotion out of scholarly work, and in “positivist norms” based on “the separation between fact and value”, but thinks the trend is being greatly intensified by the “new managerialism”. Today’s “idealized worker”, as a result, is “one that is available 24/7 without ties or responsibilities that will hinder her or his productive capacities. She or he is unencumbered and on-call, even if not ‘at work’.”