THE COVENANTS OF A ‘SLOW’ RESISTANCE THROUGH FEMINIST SCHOLARSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Authors: Ashencaen Crabtree, S.
Journal: International Journal of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies
In this paper a critical, syncretic discussion is offered of two connected, qualitative feminist studies focusing on the experiences of women academics in the UK Higher Education system. The studies were ABSTRACT In this paper a critical, syncretic discussion is offered of two connected, qualitative feminist studies focusing on the experiences of women academics in the UK Higher Education system. The studies were respectively entitled ‘“Loaded dice?” Barriers to women’s progression’ and ‘Donning the “Slow Professor’” and consecutively explore women scholar’s perceptions of their academic careers in terms of levels of satisfaction and progress, but where findings point to a greater level of concern relating to perceived barriers, stressors and dissatisfaction. In both studies the context of the working environment and how this influences individual careers foregrounds the discussion and is critically discussed. In terms of methodology Focus Group Discussions were employed for the completed first study with the subsequent use of a Participatory Action Research co-researcher methodology for the second, which is currently on-going.
New insights are offered as finding in this paper regarding how women academics are situated and ‘managed’ in the gendered commodification of the academy, where careers are experienced as channelled, where this appears to be owing to social constructions governing gender. Such gendered normativity within this academy may be enacted within the institution at a variety of levels and can be unconsciously assumed by students in relation to expectations of enhanced levels of emotional labour from women academics directed towards student needs. Additionally, participant/co-researchers consider how the corporatization of the modern global university, with its regimes of managerialism, reinvention of scholarly time and productivity, as a form of isomorphic convergence, is giving rise to a feminist resistance in the form of embracing the so-called ‘slow’ academy, which is the topic of the second paper.
Both studies were initiated under the auspices of the ‘Women’s Academic Network’, a non-corporate support network and forum created by women scholars and dedicated to promoting academic women’s careers and lobbying on a range of issues affecting the workplace.