22 SES 03 D, Academic Work and Professional Development
This papers aims to analyse the experiences of time in academia. Time can be conceived as constituting ‘timescapes’ Adam (1998), that is temporal dimensions that might be experienced in multiple ways and are co-present. From here, diverse narratives of time arise. People’s multiple experiences of time are marked by simultaneity and they might be complementary or even contradictory at the same time.
During recent decades, time has become a precious good. On the one hand, we live in an ‘instant’ world mediated by technologies that promote quick and fast interactions (Castells, 2005). On the other hand, we live in a marketized world that imposes more indicators and outcomes as a measure of quality. Productivity matters and more has to be accomplished if not with fewer resources, then at least within a static resource envelope.
Academic life is not immune to this world. Contemporary universities require academics to engage in numerous tasks and take on several identities simultaneously. Hence, academics live in a supercomplex situation (Barnett, 2000) a complexity that plays out in specific institutional, national and regional contexts which have impact on academic life. Universities are embedded in a marketized context that put pressure on them and their academics. These pressures intensify, as academics are expected to increase their productivity. In this context time becomes a crucial aspect of academic life.
The research presented here is being conducted inChile, a country characterized by having one of the most marketized higher education systems in the world (OECD, 2020). The policies implemented during Pinochet’s government during the 80s – which have remained until now - have promoted a neo-liberal approach towards higher education with several consequences: withdrawal of the State with less public education and more private education institutions, competition between universities in order to gain more income, an increase in tuition fees and incentives for academics directly to enhance their academic income with multiple sources of earnings. As a result, this commercialization of higher education and with it, the supremacy of the private interest above the public interest, have generated a national political crisis (for a moment threatening even to topple the government).
In this competitive context, we want to analyse the way in which academics experience time in a public university. Some questions that guide this research are: within a restricted timeframe, how do academics engage with and make compatible their different roles and activities? What kinds of factors influence their decisions as to which activity could be more important? Which kinds of activities require more/less, fast/slow time and why?
Adam, B. (1998). Timescapes of Modernity: The Environment and Invisible Hazards. London: Routledge. Barnett, R. (2000) Realizing the University in an age of supercomplexity. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. Castells, M. (2005).La Era de la Información: Economía, Sociedad y Cultura: La sociedad Red(3ª Edición). México: Siglo XXI. Glaser, B. G. y Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. Heidegger, M. (1962/1928). Being and Time. Oxford: Blackwell. OECD (2010) Education at a glance 2010. OECD. Retrieved on August 20th 2012 from: http://www.oecd.org/edu/highereducationandadultlearning/48631582.pdf
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