The emergence and maintenance of 'academic identity' as an object of inquiry: on politics, pedagogy and practice

inquiry: on politics, pedagogy and practice
This symposium is an opportunity to come to grips with the different ways 'academic identity' has emerged and is maintained as an object of scholarly, political and pedagogical inquiry. It draws together nascent insights from three related projects: first, Developing a conceptual framework for understanding the changing academic profession: exploring the concept of an academic identity; second, The formation of academic identity: Place, space and time; and third, A decade of dialogue: a cultural history of the International Academic Conferences 2008-2018 funded under the auspices of the Research Institute for Higher Education (RIHE) at Hiroshima University. Taken together, these projects interrogate how ideas about, and practices of, academic identity figure in relation to existing sociological discourses of professionalism; to the ways time, history and politics circle doctoral students' representations of their academic selves in text; and the politics involved in cultivating an academic conference about academic identity which in many ways, works to encourage and secure its legitimacy. For us, these projects offer sites, contexts and arrangements for inspection that are additions to the more typical modes of exploring academic identity, especially those focused on aspects of teaching (McNaughton & Billot, 2016; Peseta et al., 2016 ), research (Burrows, 2012; Chubb et al., 2017) and the litany of narratives that outline what it now feels like to carry out this work under the routine conditions of massification, intensification and audit (Barcan, 2013; Vostal, 2016; Peseta et al, 2017).

Across these three projects, what becomes clear is that as a marker of possibility/becoming, academic identity is deeply entwined with political arrangements at the macro (refigured relations between globalisation, the state and the purpose of higher education), meso (institutional, departmental and disciplinary community responses to contested purposes) and micro levels (our relation to self and to the others who inhabit the academy). In paper one, Machi Sato draws attention to the encounter between sociological perspectives about the academic profession and the logic of academic identity scholarship, which is theoretically diverse and methodologically eclectic. Through a literature review, Sato takes up the challenge of exploring how individual studies of academic identity might accumulate to offer meaning for researchers focused on the academic professions. In the second paper, Catherine Manathunga traces how the acknowledgements section of doctoral theses in NZ, Australia and Japan mark historical moments of academic becoming, and in the final paper, Tai Peseta looks at the emergence of the International Academic Identities Conference on the higher research education scene, and probes the work it does to animate 'academic identity' as both a research preoccupation and a particular subjectivity in need of cultivation.