The present study examines how changes in higher education systems ― caused mostly by neoliberal ideologies and the knowledge revolution ― affect non-faculty professionals such as academic librarians, and how they cope with these changes. Specifically, relying on Bourdieu’s theory of distinction, we show how Israeli academic librarians adopt three types of distinctions ― cultural, aesthetic, and professional ― and construct occupational capital that bestows on them power and renewed legitimacy in the face of threats to their professional identity and to their role in academic studies. The study in based on interviews with librarians working in the leading universities in Israel, and it examines the librarians’ experiences and attempts to adjust their professional identities to the emergence of neoliberal “new public management” (NPM) culture within academia.


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