Identity Work in the Contemporary University

Exploring an Uneasy Profession

  • Jan Smith
  • Julie Rattray
  • Tai Peseta
  • Daphne Loads

Part of the Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice book series (EDUFUT, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. On Conceptualising Academic Identities Work

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Susan R Robinson
      Pages 17-32
    3. Paul Sutton
      Pages 33-44
    4. Neil Mclean, Linda Price
      Pages 45-57
  3. On Researching Academic Identities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-59
    2. Tai Peseta, Giedre Kligyte, Jan Mclean, Jan Smith
      Pages 77-90
    3. Dorothy Spiller, Pip Bruce Ferguson
      Pages 91-102
  4. On Writing Academic Identities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Simon Warren
      Pages 105-116
    3. James Burford
      Pages 117-127
    4. Barbara Grant, Catherine Mitchell, Edward Okai, James Burford, Linlin Xu, Toni Ingram et al.
      Pages 129-142
    5. Gina Wisker
      Pages 143-154
  5. On Supporting Academic Identity Development

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Virginia King, Jennie Billot
      Pages 157-167
    3. Daphne Loads, Brigid Collins
      Pages 169-179
    4. Karla Benske, Catriona Cunningham, Sam Ellis
      Pages 181-193
    5. Tai Peseta, Daphne Loads
      Pages 195-201
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 203-221

About this book


"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."


academic identity academic practice higher education performativity academic development philosophy psychology sociology politics identity-work

Editors and affiliations

  • Jan Smith
    • 1
  • Julie Rattray
    • 2
  • Tai Peseta
    • 3
  • Daphne Loads
    • 4
  1. 1.Durham UniversityUK
  2. 2.Durham UniversityUK
  3. 3.University of SydneyAustralia
  4. 4.University of EdinburghUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information SensePublishers-Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2016
  • Publisher Name SensePublishers, Rotterdam
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Online ISBN 978-94-6300-310-0
  • Series Print ISSN 2214-9864
  • Series Online ISSN 2214-9872
  • Buy this book on publisher's site