From Governance to Identity

Volume 24 of the series Higher Education Dynamics pp 19-30

Student Identities In Mass Higher Education

  • John BrennanAffiliated withDirector of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information
  • , Kavita PatelAffiliated withResearch Assistant in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, UK Open University

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The notion of disciplinary cultures and the interests and attitudes that arise from them have been central to much writing about academe. Loyalty to the disciplinary community nearly always outweighs loyalty to the employing university. Whether reference is made to the ‘basic unit’ or the ‘academic tribe’ or the ‘intellectual field’, it is a subject or disciplinary community — locally, nationally and globally — that provides individual academics with their prime source of identity. Burton Clark, in his classic text on higher education (Clark 1983), remarks that membership of a disciplinary culture generates ,self identities that may be more powerful than those of mate, lover, and family protector, or those that come from community, political party, church, and fraternal order- (Clark 1983: 80).