A recent resurgence of decolonisation movements and tensions between the university and wider civic spheres, alongside growing marketisation and internationalisation indicate critical tensions in higher education in the UK. Drawing on the concept of representation, defined as the process through which meaning is produced and exchanged (Hall, Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. Sage, 1997), we focus on the central role of the university in knowledge production. We explore the experiences of doctoral students in the social sciences and humanities in the UK, who we position as new ‘knowledge-makers’. Using narrative inquiry and fictionalised vignettes, we found that doctoral training continues to perpetuate existing Eurocentric and masculinised forms of logic, or ‘regimes of representation’. Participants expressed concern over hegemonic knowledge cultures that often marginalised their epistemic vantage points. However, reflection on representation can be driven and fostered by collective action to create powerful subcultures of critical reflexivity. We argue that these must be incorporated within the design of doctoral training programmes.
All names used are pseudonyms which were agreed with the research participants.
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We extend our tremendous gratitude the participants who generously gave their time and expertise to this project, as well as our ‘critical friends’, mentors and colleagues who provided invaluable suggestions and guidance. We also thank one anonymous reviewer for their insightful and helpful feedback.
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Gordon, R., Bose, L.S. (2020). Reflecting on Representation: Exploring Critical Tensions Within Doctoral Training Programmes in the UK. In: Crimmins, G. (eds) Strategies for Supporting Inclusion and Diversity in the Academy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43593-6_3
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