Academic craftwork: on authenticity and value in academia

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The work of scholars has been described as a kind of craftwork, driven by the value that scholars place on the conduct of scholarship itself. In this chapter, I explore the consequences of thinking of scholarship as craftwork for who are recognised as authentic scholars and what ideals are promoted in talk about scholarship. Often expressed in terms of a passion for academic work, the experience of moments of authenticity and inauthenticity in academia is closely connected to the temporal autonomy of scholars, privileging those who are able to represent experiences of craft time. The ideal of an academic worker as a craftworker is both gendered and classed, differentially shaping the expectations of different demographic groups. The self-management and ‘hope labour’ that is required of aspiring academics interpolates a middle-class masculine subjectivity, disadvantaging those who have or expect to have caring duties or who depend on their wage labour and less prestigious forms of academic labour. Collegiality in this context is bifurcated along classed and gendered lines, as the interests of academics are divided by a value system that favours temporally and financially independent, ‘passionate’ scholars. This chapter argues that the ideal of craftwork both privileges those with autonomy over the rhythms and pace of their work and can become an assumption of academic career planning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Social Structures of Global Academia
EditorsFabian Cannizzo, Nick Osbaldiston
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429879883, 9780429465857
ISBN (Print)9781138610125
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Sociology

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