Becoming-academic: experience and identity of Vietnamese female academics in developing research capacity

Year: 2017

Author: Pham, Xuan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Much attention has been given to debates in research capacity development at institutional, national and global level. This paper contributes to those debates by focusing on microscale of experience and identity of some Vietnamese female academics who are enrolled as PhD students or employed as academic staff in universities in Australia. Drawing on Deleuzoguattarian concept of becoming, I investigate conditions forming experience and identity of these Vietnamese female academics in developing their research capacity, and their navigation towards these conditions on becoming-academic. The data in this research is an assemblage of transcripts from individual interviews with six participants, of my understandings related to theories and literature, of my encounters with supervisors, conference audience, peers, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and of my constant life thinking, and, and, and...They are all becoming-data.
On the one hand, their experience and identity in developing research capacity are governed by territorial assemblages of research culture, practices and politics in the teaching led university context in Vietnam, in neoliberal regime in Australia, and in relation to difference in terms of representation and gender in Australian academia. They are considered as teachers, not researchers in Vietnam, as neoliberal subjects in Australia, and as difference deriving from static images of Western and Asian cultures and from normative practices of gender in Australia. On the other hand, their becoming-academic opens up the possibilities of forming new assemblages of research culture and practices. Within these assemblages, they claim their identity transition from teachers to academics in Vietnam, develop healthy collaboration and collective academic identity in neoliberal regime in Australia, and establish themselves as recognised researchers to disrupt structured understandings in terms of representation and gender in Australia. I argue that there is always slippery involvement of politics in developing research capacity at individual level but there are multitude possibilities to transgress such involvement on becoming-academic. The paper suggests significant institutional and national policies in fostering and developing research capacity at individual level