22 SES 01 E, Assessment of and Excellence in Higher Education
This paper focuses on how discourses of performativity are negotiated within educational science in different institutional settings in Sweden. The so called ‘knowledge economy’ and its transformation of academia towards marketization, managerialism and an audit culture of performativity is a topic of investigation in many educational research studies (e.g. Dale, 2005; Ball, 2008; Ozga, 2008). There is also a rich body of research on how the new educational landscape affect academic careers and career making, not in the least when it comes to uneven class, gender and ethnicity patterns (e.g. Angervall, Beach & Gustafsson, 2015; Archer, 2008; Carvalho & Santiago, 2010). Carvalho and Santiago (2010), for instance, suggest that neoliberal reforms deepen ethnicity and class related traps for women in academia. In a Swedish study, the “female-dominated ‘two-legged’ teaching- and administration-only contracts” (Angervall et al., 2015, p. 817) within education science is pointed out as one trap where, specifically, middle-aged women are caught – women with many years of teaching experience outside academia. Angervall et al. (2015) stress that this is a problem, not only for these particular women; it is also a problem for education science, which risks “developing serious research blind-spots and missing hidden or silenced researcher talents” (p. 825). The gendered nature of organizational life (Ducklin & Ozga, 2007) within education science is further studied by Angervall and Gustafsson (2014). They argue that career field seems to be formed by ‘split’ career movements. That is, the field consists of a horizontal career path with a close relation to teaching, education and praxis-related research, and a vertical career path more or less separated from the departmental setting building ‘career capital’ (Inkson & Arthur, 2001) through networks with international reputation and a focus on science rather than praxis. The focus on competitiveness, therefore, structures career capital. Furthermore, the accumulation of career capital is a question of gender and generation, however, more research is needed on that matter (Angervall & Gustafsson, 2014).
The aim of this paper is to explore how pressures from discourses of performativity are negotiated among junior researchers in different departmental and research settings at a three Swedish universities. Research questions concern relations between settings and available subject positions, how these are gendered, classed, and aged, and about the potential for resistance. The paper draws on Foucault’s (1991) theories about governmentality, i.e. how discourses operate to subjectify individuals into modes of self-governance according to neoliberal principles (Davidson-Harden, 2009). The paper is further positioned within feminist post-structural theories (Butler, 1990/1999) where gender and other social categories are seen as processes of ‘doing’, or as performed, and where different subject positions are taken, or given. Analytically, this theoretical stance is operationalised through an approach inspired by rhetorical and discourse psychological analysis (Billig, 1987; Edley, 2001; Edley & Wetherell, 1999; Wetherell & Potter, 1988). Important concepts in this kind of analysis are the idea of interpretative repertoires and subject positions. Interpretative repertoires are culturally available resources or ‘storylines’ from which members from a specific society “can both draw on and resist in order to produce their own accounts” (Jones 2002, 2).
Angervall, P. & Gustafsson, J. (2014). The Making of Careers in Academia: split career movements in education science. European Educational Research Journal, 13(6), 601–615. http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/eerj.2014.13.6.601 Angervall, P., Beach, D., & Gustafsson, J. (2015). The unacknowledged value of female academic labour power for male research careers. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(5), 815–827. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2015.1011092 Archer, L. (2008). Younger academics’ constructions of authenticity, success and professional identity. Studies in Higher Education, 33(4), 385–403. Ball S. (2008) New Philanthropy, New Networks and New Governance in Education. Political Studies, 56, 747-765. Butler, J. (1990/1999) Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York and London: Routledge. Billig, M. 1987. Arguing and thinking: A rhetorical approach to social psychology. Cambridge: University Press. Carvalho, T. & Santiago, R. (2010). New challenges for women seeking an academic career: the hiring process in Portuguese higher education institutions. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(3), 239–249.DOI:10.1080/13600801003743331 Dale, R. (2005) Globalisation, knowledge economy and comparative education. Comparative Education 41(2), 117–149. Davidson-Harden, A. (2009). ‘Neoliberalism, Knowledge Capitalism and the Steered University: The Role of OECD and Canadian Federal Government Discourse.’ In: Peters M.A., Besley, A.C., Olssen, M., Maurer, S., & Weber, S. (Eds.) Governmentality Studies in Education. Rotterdam, Boston, Tapei: Sense Publishers (pp. 271–302). Ducklin A. & Ozga, J. (2007) Gender and management in further education in Scotland: an agenda for research. Gender and Education 19(5), 627–859. Edley, N. 2001. ‘Analysing Masculinity: Interpretative Repertoires, Ideological Dilemmas and Subject Positions.’ In: Margeret Wetherell, Taylor, S., & Yates, S. J. (Eds.) Discourse as data: a guide for analysis. London: Sage. (pp. 189–228). Edley, N. & Wetherell, M. (1999). Imagined futures: Young men’s talk about fatherhood and domestic life. British Journal of Social Psychology 38 (2), 181–194. Foucault, M. (1991) ‘On governmentality.’ In: Graham Burchell, Gordon, C. & Miller, P. (Eds.) The Foucault Effect. Brighton: Harvetser. (pp. 87–104). Inkson, K. & Arthur, M.B. (2001). How to be a Successful Career Capitalist, Organizational Dynamics, 30(1), 48–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0090-2616(01)00040-7 Jones, R. 2002. ’That’s very rude, I shouldn’t be telling you that’: older women talking about sex. Narrative Inquiry, 12(1), 121–142. Ozga J. (2008) Governing Knowledge: research steering and research quality. European Educational Research Journal 7(3), 261-272. Wetherell, M. & Potter, J. (1988). ‘Discourse analysis and the identification of interpretative repertoires.’ In: C. Antaki (Ed.) Analysing everyday explanation. A casebook of methods. London: Sage. (168–183).
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