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    Academic identities in flux: ambivalent articulations in a post-1992 university

    Garratt, Dean and Hammersley-Fletcher, Linda (2009) Academic identities in flux: ambivalent articulations in a post-1992 university. Power and Education, 1 (3). 307 -318. ISSN 1757-7438

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    The discourse of power and agency in higher education (HE) is strongly linked to political notions of autonomy and ‘academic freedom’. Recently, however, such notions have been impacted by sustained and ongoing sector-wide reform. With various checks and balances of accountability, surveillance and new forms of regulation, this has led to a reformulation of the academic habitus, creating turbulent sites of struggle and contestation. The intrusion of new targets and technologies has in turn challenged the intellectual freedoms of academics, promoting new vistas of empowerment and constraint. Changing academic identities and social and pedagogical relations have produced somewhat ‘ambivalent articulations’, in Morley’s words, around the future relationship of teaching, research and administration in HE. In this article, we draw attention to some of these pressures in a case study of a post-1992 university where, in spite of more recent calls for it to succeed, research has traditionally emerged a poor second to the delivery of taught programmes. The article discusses the attitudes of academics towards the context of changing values and conditions and further considers the contested freedoms that are part of the evolving landscape of contemporary HE.

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