Issues of (in)visibility and compromise in academic work in UK universities.

Shona McIntosh, Jim McKinley, Lizzi O. Milligan, Agata Mikolajewska

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12 Citations (SciVal)
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As higher education increasingly aligns with the ideology of the marketplace, we argue that conditions of corporate competition have contributed to the invisibilization of collective work in UK higher education. Drawing on the work of Wa Thiong’o, N. (1986. Decolonising the mind: The politics of language in African literature. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Publishers) and Giroux, H. A. (2011. On Critical Pedagogy. London: Bloomsbury), we theorise the conditions under which tensions between collective and individual work play out and examine the impact on academic work through 207 surveyed UK academics’ perceptions of priorities and motivations. These were collected as part of a funded study to critically examine the teaching-research nexus in the humanities and social science. Findings show how systemic tensions reflect individual perceptions of competing demands, resulting in daily compromises to meet priorities that are strongly influenced by individual motivation. We conclude that highly-visible individuals are supported by invisible collective endeavours that contribute to the mystification of knowledge production, inequalities of representation, and research into matters of collective concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number0
Early online date11 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019


  • Higher education
  • academic work
  • compromise
  • invisibility
  • neoliberalism
  • teaching research nexus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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