In a collaborative effort between AMIN and the Professional and Academic Discourse research group at the Centre for Applied Linguistics, Johannes Angermuller presented a seminar titled “Academic mobility. Preliminary results from the DISCONEX project” on 16 February 2017. As Principal Investigator of the DISCONEX project, Johannes shared the background information about this ERC-funded project about academic researchers in mainly three countries (UK, France, Germany) and a small pool in USA. The project studies researchers in these countries from both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Two particular strands stand out in his presentation. Firstly, academic researchers have to establish their subject positions through evoking certain academic and non-academic categories in the quotidian activities they engage in as researchers working in institutions (i.e., interactions with other academics, collaborations, writing, networking, recruitment and seeking employment…etc.). When these subject positions are ratified, researchers are recognised as occupying certain institutional positions, which in turn translates into ‘capital’. As he puts it, academia is ‘discursive capitalism’ where academia does not only reproduce inequalities but also constitutes inequalities. A key question is: Who gets recognised as ‘somebody’ or becomes ‘visible’ in an academic space? He points out that this question cannot be easily answered by reducing it to a recognizable set of categories or attributes. This leads to the second salient strand in this presentation, namely that, the value of gender and mobility as categories in establishing such subject positions remains ambivalent. It depends largely on the situations in which these categories are evoked. Sometimes, evoking a certain gender category works, other times it does not. Whilst it may seem from preliminary findings from the project that there are more male full professors than female ones in UK, France and Germany in both linguistics and sociology, this does not naturally mean that being a male translates to academic capital in establishing one’s subject position. Thus, the other key questions raised are: How are these categories recognised? Why are some researchers more successful in establishing subject positions which are recognised by others
See Johannes’ presentation slides here.
See the video recording here: https://www.youtube.co/watch?v=va5rR1QdOpA
Written by Sixian Hah
Image: Poster featuring Marie Curie Skłodowska, picture taken at Warsaw University Library
Post originally published at: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ces/research/amin/blogs/?newsItem=8a17841b5a8a177d015a8a38d1f40e81