22 SES 07 D, Responding to Theoretical, Analytical and Methodological Challenges in Higher Education Research- Alternative Approaches
This contribution focuses on the theoretical and methodological conceptualization of academics as actors in the higher education arena, especially in view of the recent transformations of discourses, narratives and practices of “social” or “public” engagement or the social role – increasingly dubbed the “Third Mission” – of universities. Reflecting on the conceptualization of academic identities from a variety of disciplines – from the sociology of intellectuals, through the sociology of academic work, to contemporary research on neoliberal subjectivities – the contribution assesses the relative weight contributed to, respectively, structure and agency, in understanding academic engagement. Finally, it discusses some implications of the newest discussions of the “Third Mission” for the understanding of academic agency and positioning.
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