Distortions of Practice: Neoliberalism and Individual Responsibility in Higher Education and Social Work

Maureen Matarese at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Mar 31 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

We’ll discuss the extent to which neoliberal practices and policies create caste systems, often divided on racial lines, and contribute to the burn out of expendable faculty and staff.

You can’t open your newsfeed of choice without bumping into the term “neoliberalism.” You hear that it’s a problem, but why? Culminating scholarship from the past 40 years on the topic, as well as my own academic research in both social work and higher education, this lecture discusses the relationship between public services (e.g., education and social work) and neoliberalism (sometimes called “the financialization of everything”).

We will examine the ubiquity of neoliberalism in everything from breakfast cereal boxes to flyers on the backs of bathroom stalls, as well as how it distorts practice in education and social work. Ultimately, we’ll discuss the extent to which neoliberal practices and policies create caste systems, often divided on racial lines, and contribute to the burn out of expendable faculty and staff.

Teacher: Maureen Matarese

Maureen T. Matarese is a professor at BMCC. She has a doctorate from Columbia University and is a linguist with a specialization in discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics. She is the U.S. expert on social work interaction (particularly in homeless settings) and the discourse of street-level bureaucrats.


Venue: Strand Bookstore
Add to Calendar March 31, 20177 p.m. March 31, 2017 America/New_York Think Olio | Distortions of Practice: Neoliberalism and Individual Responsibility in Higher Education and Social Work We’ll discuss the extent to which neoliberal practices and policies create caste systems, often divided on racial lines, and contribute to the burn out of expendable faculty and staff. None

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


"I Don't Think Any of Us Are Normal": Behind the Music of Wes Anderson Films

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

Oct. 30, 2020, 8 p.m.

A New Contract with Black America

Location: at Online

Teacher: Ifeoma Ike

Nov. 1, 2020, 3 p.m.

Your Hands in My Doorway like Rainbows: Audre Lorde's Love Poems

Location: at Online

Teacher: Christina Katopodis

Nov. 5, 2020, 8 p.m.

Communities Under Capitalism: Meeting our Needs During Crisis

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lauren Hudson

Jan. 6, 2021, 7:30 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.