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Identity Work in the Contemporary University

Exploring an Uneasy Profession

2016 - 236 pages

Jan Smith (Durham University, UK), Julie Rattray (Durham University, UK), Tai Peseta (University of Sydney, Australia) and Daphne Loads (University of Edinburgh, UK) (Eds.)

ISBN Paperback: 9789463003087 ($ 54.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789463003094 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789463003100

Subject: Educational Theory

Number 67 of the series: Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice

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Identity Work in the Contemporary University


Academic identities research is a growing area of scholarly enquiry especially as academics themselves question the evolving nature of their roles in rapidly-changing university environments. Performative frameworks in many countries around the world reflect these changes and this volume brings a number of disciplinary perspectives to bear on how we understand the lived experiences of academic life in a global context. Contributors explore the power of conceptual tools drawn from Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and Politics to challenge increasingly instrumental neoliberal political approaches to higher education, supported by empirical evidence. Worthwhile teaching, learning and research require significant personal investment, and the book pays particular attention to the deeply affective dimensions of current academic practices.

In Part One, tools to conceptualise academic identity-work drawn from foundational academic disciplines are applied to contemporary higher education practices. Part Two foregrounds how working in universities today proceeds, with a particular focus on how academics respond to the multiplicity of institutional demands. The most pressing perceived demand, supported by contributions in Part Three, is publication: the need to be ‘visible’ to ‘count’ is now a global imperative, with the affective dimensions not yet well-understood at policy level. In Part Four, those who support colleagues negotiating a reconfigured academic terrain explore productive approaches towards this task to ensure that academic practice remains rooted in the values previously outlined.

This book will be of interest to those working in universities globally who seek a deeper appreciation of the contextual drivers that shape academic work.

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Identity Work in the Contemporary University
ISBN: 9789463003087
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