Fools, facilitators and flexians: academic identities in marketised environments

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Employing the interdisciplinary field of health inequalities as a case study, this paper draws on interviews to explore subjective accounts of academic identities. It finds widespread acceptance that academia is a market place in which research-active careers require academics to function as entrepreneurs marketing ideas to funders. Beyond this, two contrasting aspirational identities emerged: academics seeking to work collaboratively with policy makers (‘policy facilitators’) and academics seeking to challenge dominant discourses (‘Shakespearean fools’). Most interviewees identified strongly with one or the other of these identities and few believed academia sufficiently supported their preference, although there was some consensus that recent changes were aiding ‘policy facilitator’ roles. In interviewees’ accounts of trying to pursue ‘Shakespearean fool’ type roles in marketised environments, a further, chameleon-like identity emerged (‘flexians’): academics producing malleable ideas that can be adapted for different audiences. In exploring these identities, the paper challenges the popular distinction between mode-1 and mode-2 research.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages155-173
    Number of pages19
    JournalHigher Education Quarterly
    Volume66
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2012

    Fingerprint

    academic career
    entrepreneur
    marketing
    acceptance
    discourse
    market
    interview
    health

    Keywords

    • academic identities
    • health inequalities
    • marketised environments

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Employing the interdisciplinary field of health inequalities as a case study, this paper draws on interviews to explore subjective accounts of academic identities. It finds widespread acceptance that academia is a market place in which research-active careers require academics to function as entrepreneurs marketing ideas to funders. Beyond this, two contrasting aspirational identities emerged: academics seeking to work collaboratively with policy makers (‘policy facilitators’) and academics seeking to challenge dominant discourses (‘Shakespearean fools’). Most interviewees identified strongly with one or the other of these identities and few believed academia sufficiently supported their preference, although there was some consensus that recent changes were aiding ‘policy facilitator’ roles. In interviewees’ accounts of trying to pursue ‘Shakespearean fool’ type roles in marketised environments, a further, chameleon-like identity emerged (‘flexians’): academics producing malleable ideas that can be adapted for different audiences. In exploring these identities, the paper challenges the popular distinction between mode-1 and mode-2 research.",
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    Fools, facilitators and flexians : academic identities in marketised environments. / Smith, Katherine.

    In: Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2, 12.04.2012, p. 155-173.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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