The quiet professional: on being alone/together in higher education

Anne Pirrie, Nini Fang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This chapter explores how loneliness, alienation and solitude set their stamp on ‘quiet professionalism’ in a climate of neoliberalism. This theme is considered in the context of a higher education system that is increasingly associated with efficiency, effectiveness and ‘time-management’ rather than passion or vocation. Departing from the example of Greta Garbo, who famously declared that she wanted to be let alone, the authors explore how the notion of correspondence – with its echoes of response, responsibility and responsiveness – sheds new light on the state of being ‘alone together’ as conducive to the freedom to think. They explore attacks on subjectivity through a novel reading of the psychoanalytical notion of impingement. This is considered against the background of a form of alone/togetherness that arises in and through a quest for ethical forms of collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness
EditorsJulian Stern, Christopher A. Sink, Malgorzata Wałejko, Wong Ping Ho
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781350162150, 9781350162174
ISBN (Print)9781350162136
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


  • solitude
  • ethical relations
  • impingement


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