Collaborative writing as rhizomatic practice: Critical moments of (un)doing doctoral supervision

Simone Fullagar, Adele Pavlidis, Raphaela Stadler

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Despite the proliferation of doctoral training courses within universities, little attention is paid to the complexity of supervision as a process of becoming for both students and super-visors. As post-qualitative researchers we explore how collaborative writing can be mobilised as a rhizomatic practice to open up engagements with supervision that counter hierarchical master/apprentice models of knowledge transmission. Researching-writing through our own knowledge practices and affective investments we engage with supervision as an assemblage that produces multiplicity. We created a democratic learning alliance through an electronic writing forum. These collaborative e-writing practices generated insights into, and movements through, critical moments that disrupted the doctoral experience of progress (writers block, self-doubt, misunderstanding). We theorise collaborative writing as a rhizomatic practice that refuses ontological assumptions of linearity, causality and rationality, instead following the embodied lines of thought, affective intensities and problematics that haunt the supervision relationship. We recast supervision as an improvisation through which academic dilemmas/possibilities are negotiated and performed anew
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages22
JournalKnowledge Cultures
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


  • doctoral supervision
  • Higher Education
  • Sociology
  • Affect
  • posthumanism
  • collaborative writing
  • Qualitative Research


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