Categorical career stages offer an institutional framework through which mobilities can be claimed and contested by feminists in academia. Inhabiting career stages uncritically can serve to reproduce neoliberal academic structures that feminists may seek to resist. Collaboration across career stages is a significant empirical case for understanding how feminists occupy academic space. We use auto-ethnographic methods to read career stages and feminist collaboration through each other, analysing the authors’ cross-career collaborations and mentoring relationship in a Scottish University. We ask how feminist collaboration can claim and disrupt the neoliberal temporal logics of competitively achieving individuals on upward career trajectories, where academic arrival can feel permanently deferred. As such we argue for more pluralised and fragmented understandings of ‘career stages’, which as fixed categories work to position academics as either precarious or privileged, and for a messier imaginary of academic work and careers.
- career development
- higher education