Doing Academic Careers Differently : Portraits of Academic Life book cover
1st Edition

Doing Academic Careers Differently
Portraits of Academic Life

  • Available for pre-order on June 1, 2023. Item will ship after June 22, 2023
ISBN 9781032212616
June 22, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
464 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

Should academic careers always unfold in exactly the same way? Is there one best way of being an academic? This book says no. Assumptions about who academics are and what they should do are becoming increasingly narrow and focused on achieving so-called ‘excellence’ in teaching and research above anything else. This book problematises this and explores the scope for doing academic careers differently.

Authors paint individual or group portraits of their academic careers, working with metaphors which challenge the dominant discourses of how academic careers should be led. From rejecting the pressure to focus on ‘one big thing’, to prioritising nurture and care, transcending disciplinary boundaries, reshaping own daily practice, connecting with communities, and being academics outside academia, the chapters in this book offer those considering, starting or developing an academic career a treasure trove of many alternative possibilities.

Presented as a portrait gallery through which readers are encouraged to meander at will, this compilation of insights into alternative academic lives will help to inspire and encourage current academics to re-think and take ownership of their careers in their own terms, according to their own strengths, weaknesses and circumstances.

Table of Contents

Introduction: entrance hall and cloakroom

Alexandra Bristow, Olivier Ratle, Sarah Robinson

The Meandering Gallery

Curated by Alexandra Bristow

I hope your journey is a long one: a guide to meandering careers

Alexandra Bristow

Meandering academics

Linda M. Sama, Mark Egan, Victor Friedman, David Jones, Nicholas Rhew, and Sarah Robinson

The all-over-the-place academic: how to fit in an academic niche but also be free to pursue new and exciting research ideas

Lucas Lauriano

A pebble skipper’s tale

Mark Saunders

The general academic

Rweyemamu Alphonce Ndibalema, Essa Bah, and Sophia Ndibalema

Against Careerism

Curated by Sarah Robinson

On ducks and vocations: notes against careerism 

Sarah Robinson

Careering through my career: how I failed to become a business school Dean

Mark Learmonth

Ducks at the university? Two connected biographies in seven images

Jesús Rodríguez Pomeda

Excellence and disruption: a mid-career dialogue

Eugenie Hunsicker and Clare Hutton

Collectively creating conditions that nurture: the bushland as metaphor for the academic ecosystem

Sumati Ahuja, Mihajla Gavin, Simone Grabowski, Najmeh Hassanli, Anja Hergesell, Walter Jarvis, Pavlina Jasovska, Ece Kaya, Alice Klettner, Helena Liu, Jennie Small, Christopher N. Walker, and Ruth Weatherall

Navigating Belonging

Curated by Sarah Robinson

Across hostile waters to brave new lands? Notes on navigating academic belonging

Sarah Robinson

The collective academic: a conversation across worlds

Jurdene Coleman, Mac Benavides, Aliah Mestrovich Seay, and Tess Hobson

Before you decolonize, let me into the game: virtue, a key to unbridling the shackles of oppression

Armand Bam

How to become an academic, and alienate people: the working-class academic

Suzanne Albury

The back-door academic

Sarah Stookey

The ingenious communitarian

Emma Newport

The journey of a surprised academic

Laurie DiPadova-Stocks

The self-made academic: From business to a business school

Adrian Zicari

Nurturing Careers

Curated by Olivier Ratle

Nurturing careers: on the importance of care and relationships

Olivier Ratle

The permaculture academic

Maribel Blasco

A room for three: living academic, feminist lives (or the unfinished reading of A room of one’s own)

Jenny Helin, Nina Kivinen, and Alison Pullen

The non-conformist Academic: professor, parent, provider

Mary Godwyn

The mom academic (fragmentation)

Elizabeth Siler

The Hall of Mirrors

Curated by Sarah Robinson

Mirroring academia: reflections from a hall of mirrors

Sarah Robinson

Reflections, distortions - the mirrored academic

Victoria Pagan

Academic misfits

Magnus Hoppe, Anton Hasselgren, Fatemeh Seifan, Steffi Siegert, and Serdar Temiz

Becoming a (never) good enough critical scholar? On precarious academic subjectification processes

Mie Plotnikof

The art of being a reflective academic: painting a never-complete self-portrait

Russ Vince

The poetic academic - [un]grounding the writing self

Friederike Landau-Donnelly

I am you, as you are me: academic lives as a mirror of ourselves

Oscar Javier Montiel Méndez, Duncan Pelly, and Araceli Almaraz

The Transgressive Gallery

Curated by Alexandra Bristow

In the garden of dreams: a guide to transgressive careers

Alexandra Bristow

Seek & destroy - from transgression to contestation. And back

Sophie Del Fa

Meeting the threads that pull: a feminist declaration of consequence towards academia

Camila Fredes Ortiz

The absurd academic

Jaime Andrés Bayona

Crafting a career in ‘academic journalism’

Todd Bridgman

Blinds and bananas: metaphor in the margins

Stephen Linstead

A clown's tale

Ralf Wetzel

The late entrance

Curated by Olivier Ratle

The late entrance: muddy water and dry grass?

Olivier Ratle

Late portrait arrival

Catherine Heggerud

Disturbing bodies? Prospective and retrospective second-careering within the doctoral candidature

Margaret Ying Wei Lee, Olivia Davies, and Kathleen Riach

Better late than never: the ‘up the hill backwards’ academic

Mark Stringer 

Living Precariously Gallery

Curated by Olivier Ratle

Living precariously and overcoming the odds

Olivier Ratle

The happy and smiling, but inwardly crumbling gig academic: reflections on early career precarity and anxiety

Emily Yarrow

The ‘sack-race’ academic: a post-socialist portrait of a single mother facing social expectations and the trade-offs of an academic career path

Gabriella Kiss

Re-imagining the dialectic of work and motherhood in academia

Chrysavgi Sklaveniti 

Waiting for Godot: the impaired academic

Garance Marechal

Some counsel to doctoral students from a naïve and shell-shocked academic

Ann Armstrong

‘Why even bother?’ The defiant practice of the independent scholar

Molly Hand

The Haunted Gallery

Curated by Alexandra Bristow

A guide to haunting careers: the realm of academic ghosts

Alexandra Bristow

Higher Education in India: the academic outsider and the lived experiences of a reclusive rebel

Subir Rana

Morals of the demoralised: The non-collaborative academic

Alexia Cameron

Doing philosophy differently: learning to fight gender-bias by giving up on stereotypical academic norms

Tone Grosen Dandanell

Being an academic ghostwriter: be(com)ing me(thodology)

Martha Emilie Ehrich

Unwaged and repurposed: transitions from accidental to non-institutionalised academic

Ruth Slater

The redundant academic: am I academic, or am I still an academic?

Mark Hughes

Exit via the gift shop

Olivier Ratle, Sarah Robinson, Alexandra Bristow

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Sarah Robinson is Professor of Management and Organisation Studies at Rennes School of Business, France.

Alexandra Bristow is Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at the Open University, UK.

Olivier Ratle is Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies at the University of the West of England, UK.


"This book is wonderfully refreshing and very inspiring. It is vital reading for any of us who have felt we are invisible, on the margins or do not comfortably belong in the academy. Reading this book assures me I am not alone in how I have experienced my academic life and it inspires me to authentically own my professional path." Hannah Rumble, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath, UK

"Academic careers have a long-lasting history with very deep roots. Over the last fifteen years, academic careers have changed immensely, and few of us have discussed these changes. That is why this is a welcomed book analyzing different sides, dimensions and contexts of academic careers. It brings a collection of very thought-provoking and inspiring chapters written by some outstanding academics. This is a must-read book for new and experienced academics. More importantly, it inspires new futures." Rafael Alcadipani, FGV-EAESP, Brazil

"Doing Academic Careers Differently challenges linear accounts of the academic career and it rebukes the hegemonic moves that push academics into impossible, unsustainable, unhealthy conduct, values, and practices. By collaborating, theorizing, and writing differently 79 academics from 21 countries tell stories with images, poetry, prose, interviews, and essays on contemporary academic lives. The stories thrive on complexity, difference, dialogue, creativity, divergence, and ambiguity. Robinson, Bristow, and Ratle beautifully curate the emerging richness in this book that becomes an enthralling and contemplative new archive of academics' lives where finally alternative voices, knowledges, and experiences can be heard over the conformism and pain of career as individual/ individualizing competition and instrumentality. The book offers a refreshing, powerful, and life-affirming read." Alessia Contu, UMass Boston, USA

"Many academics lose their sense of direction in a university environment that prioritises journal rankings and other forms of ‘excellence’. It is easy to end up believing that there is only one kind of academic career – the type that is laid out by performance management systems. The enthralling stories of struggle, hope, and leap of faiths shared in this timely book demonstrate the narrowness of this perspective and offer a powerful reminder of the many different ways in which one can be an academic. Doing Academic Careers Differently is essential reading for anyone pursuing or considering an academic career today." Sverre Spoelstra, Associate Professor in Leadership and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

"A courageous book that inspires, surprises, awes, and eventually heals. Creatively and thoughtfully written and curated, this book restores hope in academics despite the brute corporatization contemporary academia has subjected them to. I felt such longing to walk through such a place as I read through this beautiful manuscript." Ghazal M. Zulfiqar, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan

"The most creative inspiring enjoyable exhilarating academic work of art on academia I have ever come across. These playful, sardonic, ironic and heartful stories are in a garden of delights that will provide a wonderful learning experience as well as a rigorous piece of research" Damian Ruth, Massey Business School, New Zealand.